Arnav Singh Raizada cursed loudly under his breath. Just How much he hates interruption in his work. He starts anything with the sole purpose of reaching its end. No two ways about it. So, here he was in his cabin, indulged in an extremely major project and just realised one of the important file was what he left at home, which he now needed urgently to have a look at, and in ASR’s world, urgently means like the very next second.
Muttering profanities at himself for his carelessness, he took out his blackberry and punched the nowadays frequently used number set on his speed dial.
His restlessness grew a notch, ofcourse, when the person on other end picked up the phone on fourth ring.That proves world does not exactly revolve around him only.
“Khushi, that blue file on the bedside table, please send it urgently with the driver”
Khushi had just uttered 2 words, hello’, while picking the phone and huh’, after he had recited his request cum demand, when she realized he had hanged up on her. Great..Raizada Express, always on fire.
Seconds later, Arnav picked up his ringing phone with eyes still glued to his MacBook and punched the green button to take her call.
“Arnav Ji, you want that blue file you left on the night stand table?”
“Wasn’t that exactly I said seconds ago khushi?”
Arnav replied scratching his stubble, frowning at the stupidness of her question when it was exactly he said earlier..or was he talking in some cryptic language.
“haan baba, I was just saying ki aap ghar pe call kar lijiye, Anjali di bhijwa dengi..”
Khushi replied calmly.
“mmm…okay..wait,arnt you home?.”
He asked now shifting his attention from the presentation he was reading till now.
“Vo hum market aaye the..kuch ghar ka samaan or sabjiyan lene”
Khushi replied chirpily as if that was one hell of an adventurous task she did today.
“Khushi, we have 3 househelps for doing that..and wait, why is driver at home then. Dint you go with Mohan..?..”
He asked grimly, displeasure clearly hidden in his voice now.
Khushi mumbled giving a short nervous laugh..feeling same like a child being summoned by the principal at school.
“vo..hum bahut dino se auto rikshaw me nahi baithe the…toh isliye..mohan ji toh aa rhe the hamare saath ,humne hi unhe mana kr diya”
Arnav Singh Raizada looked at the phone as if it grew some horns,
Who in their sane state of mind would prefer an auto rickshaw over an air conditioned SUV that too in this humid Delhi climate blazing full on scorching heat.Then he realized its Khushi kumari Gupta we are talking about.
Rolling his eyes at the phone like it would somehow convey those expression to this crazy woman at the other end, and then the caring husband reared its head inside Raizada, ofcourse, without taking his permission.
“okay..ask them for home delivery”
Raizada commanded in as usual demanding tone. Imagining her traveling with loads of poly bags in an auto rickshaw was an image that didn’t pleased him a bit.
Khushi laughed out loud as if he had just cracked a supremely humorous joke before replying,
“Arnav ji..its not a pizza I am ordering that they’ll provide me home delivery ..hum sabji khareed rahe hain, thelewale bhaiya se..yahan koi home delievery nahi hoti”
She replied eying the old hawker who was now arranging those shiny baingan in a line,after flashing his yellowy red teeths with supari poking out to make its appearance at the mention of his name by this beautiful behenji on the phone.
“YOU ARE IMPOSSIBLE!!!”
Arnav muttered on the phone in an edgy voice elevating a perfect ebony eyebrow and shaking his head.
“Aap honge impossible..err, rukiye ek second, bhaiya ye tamatar kitne rupye kilo hain?..”
“Khushi, you there?…”
“hawww…sattar rupye kilo, lootna hai kya, bhaiya saath lgaao”
Arnav Raizada closed his eyes momentarily and drew a slow and deep breath of restraint This girl surely knows how to push his buttons and that too all in a wrong way. It was indeed a first that a sabjiwala had taken preference over the Business tycoon..that too for tamatars. Like really?
After calming his senses when in reality he wanted way more than to yell at her, he waited patiently for her to realize that he was still on hold waiting for her business’ negotiations to be over with.
“Kahan ho tum?..”
“WHERE ARE YOU DAMMIT?..”
She quickly mumbled the address of the sabji mandi she was at without uttering another rubbish word. Experience had taught her, it wasn’t always safe to poke a raging lion just for your fun.. especially when the lion happens to be visibly similar to one Raizada..phew!
Some 15 minutes later, still in the mid of buying groceries, Khushi passed a cheery smile and a wave after seeing a visibly frowning Raizada, all dressed in a pinstripe suit, coming towards her in urgent strides and indeed, her cheery smile faltered a bit on seeing that it was very well reciprocated by his equally stoney and no nonsense expressions.
Reaching beside her and Passing her a death glare, Raizada glanced at all the polybags the hawker had packed stuffed with leafy green fresh veggies.
Raizada asked removing his wallet from his pocket.
“Teen sau pachpan hue saab”
The man replied with a smile, obviously feeling happy at this high profile customer dressed in a visibly expensive suit while glancing once again at the huge SUV that this saab had just parked in the corner.
“haw..bhaiya aapne tamatar saath rupye kilo lgaaye ya nahi…”
Khushi raised her voice realizing all her efforts in negotiating price of tamatarsthat went on for almost 5 minutes going down the drain but decided to zip up her mouth when Raizada choose to blessed her with another one of his pointed glare.
But she coulndnt quite zipped up her lips for long n her mouth opened wide when she realized arnav ji handed the sabjiwala a 1000 Rs note and then told him to keep the change when he said he dint have enough.
“Par arnav jee…”
A 1000 rs note for groceries worth Rs 355 and a tip of worth Rs 645..woohoo, what a deal. Here she was sweating her blood for those over pricey tamatars and Arnavji just threw the note on him as if it was KBC they were playing at that man just won a jackpot.
She was about to protest when he gripped her wrist and literally dragged her out to the SUV.
Minutes later , after some arguments, and glares passing from both the side,Mr and Mrs Raizada made way to their house with those priceless tamatars sitting smugly in the back seat of an air conditioned SUV
Leaving behind few unanswered questions lingering in the air,
Did Raizada really left his work and that important’ Project behind just to see his wife home safely?
Khushi was applying moisturizer on her skin, her daily ritual before sleeping and Raizada was catching up’ on his pending work, all thanks to those bloodytamatars, when a shrill ringtone of a peppy Bollywood item number..some baby doll bullshit caught their attention.
Khushi flushed in embarrassment when he lifted his brow definitely poking fun at her choice of ring tone, before she quickly grabbed the phone to answer whoever was the source of her embarrassment in the first place.
She happily replied getting a call from her friend.. embarrassment long gone now.
“Is Raizada around you..?”
Lavanya asked as her opening line, clearly emitting greetings.
Khushi replied slowly in a state of confusion baring a glance at her husband who was glued to his laptop.
“Get away from his earshot then…”
Scrunching her nose but rather than asking lavanya, she did as been told and quickly slipped slowly out the French windows towards the pool area.
Lavanya replied now with smile lacing her voice before adding
“Dinner kar liya?..kya banaya?..”
..and then they talked like that for minutes, like two housewives catching each other after so long.
At one point, Khushi asked the question lingering in the back of her mind,
“lavanya ji, ye gappe toh hum arnav ji ke aage bhi maar sakte the..aapne bahar aane ko kyu kaha..”
“GAAWWDDD Khushi..i just forgot why I called you in the first place..”
Khushi did rolled her eyes at lavanya who was indeed behaving exactly like her clone.
“ You know what I just fired my showstopper for this bridal event”
“Yup..that girl and her tantrums..i am not even sure why she calls herself professional at all”
“Toh ab?..event toh is Saturday hai na? arent you worried? Arnav ji ko bataya ?itne kam samay me kya hoga lavanya ji??”
Khushi threw all her concern in one sentence sensing how tricky a situation it will be without the main model with just 3 days into the event.
“wait..wait..wait..Pull your brakes madam. One by one.”
“aapne arnav ji ko bataya?”
Khushi asked nervously biting her nails.
“Nah..vaise bhi its my department to deal with the models n all. He won’t give two hoots about them as long as they walk the ramps wearing our designs with those barely there expressions…so, I guess, once I finalize, I’ll inform him the change in our plans”
This does relaxed Khushi a bit..there wont be another temper tantrum show coming from his side in the near future atleast.
“Aren’t you worried lavanya ji?”
“You should have seen me in the morning..i was a mess, plus Raizada wasn’t there also. But by evening, I figured out things..so right now, NO, m not worried”
Lavanya replied in a calm tone for a designer without a showstopper 3 days before the event..khushi wondered appreciating her courage for the same.
“Have you figure out everything?..”
“umm.yeah..i had shortlisted 3-4 models that I believe fit the theme of our show and after mugging my head all evening I finalised one..finally..”
“shukkar hai devi maiyaaa kaaa…”
Khushi finally released the breath she was holding for so long.
“and the best part is, am talking to her right now..”
Lavanya added this line with a child like enthusiasm.
Khushi replied instantly,glad that her friend is sounding so jovial after her mess. And when lavanya chose to stay mum in response to her question, her brain did connect the dots.
Lavanya felt Khushi shrieking at the other end of the phone and she hold the device at a distance to save her ears from any possible harm.
“If that was a joke..let me tell you it’s a really BAD one, lavanyaji”
Khushi replied in horror finally registering what lavanya said earlier, and what it meant, exactly.
“DEVI MAIYYA..its such a crazzzy idea”
Lavanya replied giggling with that same enthusiasm, patting herself proudly for coming up with an idea like that..like Khushi said, it was a crazy one indeed, but having weighed it from all angle throughout the day, she now felt utterly positive about that one.
“Tell me you are not serious?..i havnt seen a ramp in my life, forget about walking in one and that too infront of a crowd”
Khushi asked in that same worried, panicked tone, her nails eventually getting punished in this whole showstopper fiasco, her eyes widened as she imagined herself tripping on the ramp and media flashing their cameras to catch that moment, or what if there’s some wardrobe malfunction ..no..no..no!
“First of all relax Khushi and Listen to me carefully, the thing is..”, lavanya paused before continuing,
“In the morning after that fiasco, I was like desperately searching for a replacement and let me tell you,I did shortlisted few models who were eager and willing to join AR for this event. Come on, it’s the top event with its own class. But then during this search, I stumbled upon your wedding pics that’s been released by our PR team in the media months ago, and girl, did I tell you, you nailed those pics completely. Your vivaciousness and the way you carried your wedding attire was what we were missing for this event and this bridal theme suits perfectly. A well trained model wont do anymore and let me tell you, m not going to settle for the less either.
The silence from the other end assured her that her perfect explanation was doing its work and it indeed put khushi’s brains’ horses to work.
“plus there’s another reason I chose you. We are gonna tell the world, who exactly Mrs Raizada’ is. This particular topic has kept our PR team on their toes from a long time. Raizada personally dint give a damn on what media says as long as its not business related and sure, he’s not gonna change, so someone has to step up or not. I believe its time they know Arnav’s Better half..and in true sense, not these self created stories by some stupid tabloid writers”
“Lavanya ji..i think…”
Khushi was saying something in a tone laced with uncertainty, a tad bit confusion, a bit indecisive, when lavanya interrupted,
“wait, don’t say yes or no yet..i am sure you are yet to grasp what exactly m asking from you. So dear, you’re gonna do what a wise lady does in this kind of scenario”
“and what is that?”
“You’re gonna sleep it over”
Lavanya said in a firm tone with a note of finality.
“Ofcourse, it always works.. think about it, sleep over it and your brain will automatically decide for you. M sure, tomorrow morning, this situation wont sound so horrible as its doing this particular moment. So, promise me you will do that”
“hmph..fine lavanya ji, I’ll think about it”
Khushi replied finally pushing the matter at the back of her head, releasing a long breath.
“Thats my girl. I want you to mull over it a calm head and not with your usual panicked mode. Tomorrow morning, if you still feel you cant do it, then that’s fine, m not gonna pressure you but I don’t wanna regret not asking you when I could have been. Who knows, this could probably turn good for us in the end”
This does eased Khushi’s tension to a greater extent and she felt a weight shifting over her body and this time she replied with a confident tone.
“thankyou..i’ll tell you tomorrow..”
“Thankgod Khushi..you definitely are my saviour..chalo now sleep calmly”
“As if I could after you dropped your bomb on me..”
Bidding their byes, Khushi finally cut the call, standing there, looking at the crystal clear water of pool, eliminating the shiny moonlight. Indeed her brain’s wheel churning at full speed, going over this entire conversation all over again.
What the hell did she signed up for??? WHAT THEEE!!!!