It was a bright sunny morning in Singapore. People were up and about and hurrying with their early morning chores before proceeding towards their workplaces. At the Suntec City Mall, Pam was having her favourite coffee in the coffee shop at the Fountain Terrace, when she heard her phone ringing.
“Hello, this is Pam. Who’s speaking?”
“Pam, finally I’ve found you. I’ve been searching for your number since a month”, replied the voice at the other end.
“Who’s this?”, inquired Pam.
“Pam, it’s me, Sim. Remember me? I’m calling from New York. ”
“Oh Sim. It’s you! How are you? And how did you get my number?”
“Oh, that’s a long story. I will tell you later. But listen, I wanted to tell you something more important. Do you know who ASR got married to? It’s Chamkili. Can you believe that?”
“What!? You are joking, right? Who told you?” asked a confused Pam.
“I saw them at a mall in Dubai a month back. I’ve been wanting to tell you about this. I returned home in New York and have been searching for your number ever since”, Sim replied.
“Sim, surely you must have seen La. You don’t know, but she’s changed. She dresses like Chamkili, talks like Chamkili. In fact, she’s become a carbon copy of Chamkili. Listen, I am getting late for my work. I will save your number and call you later”
“But, but … Ok, we will talk later. Hey, do you work in the night?” wondered Sim aloud.
“It’s morning here Sim. There is a 12 hour difference between Singapore and New York. Okay? Now, bye.” Pam disconnected before Sim’s stories baffled her mind further. ‘ASR and Chamkili? Is it even possible? Pam gave it a thought and immediately shook her head. ‘No way, Sim must have definitely seen La’. Pam still remembered the Diwali when she met a changed La, she was completely bewildered. She quit her job after that due to personal reasons and moved to Singapore.
Sim was about to take a sip of her coffee when she saw a woman whiz past her towards the coffee counter. ‘Did I just see Chamkili? I must be hallucinating. Must be the coffee,’ thinking so, she looked into her cup. Just then, she heard the voice from the counter ordering for a cup of sugar free coffee.
‘That does sound like her!‘ thought Pam. Before she could think about turning back, she heard the voice again, but now close by. “Pamji, aap yahaan, you here?”
A startled Pam looked up and found the woman standing now in front of her. “Chamkili, tum ho? Is it really you?” she asked and observed her. She was looking as beautiful as ever, dressed in salwar kameez, adorned with Mangalsutra and sindoor with a shining glow on her face.
“Yes, Pamji. We have come on a short trip to Singapore. Oh, one minute Pamji, I have to hand over this coffee”, saying so Chamkili left the coffee shop. Pam’s eyes followed her as she left. Chamkili had coffee in one hand and a few bags in the other. The coffee shop had glass walls and doors, so Pam could see her even after she went outside the shop. Soon enough, she saw a man approach Chamkili. Pam immediately got up from her seat and went towards the door to get a clear view. The man meanwhile, said something to Chamkili, pointed downstairs, took her bags and left. He was there for a short time, but it was enough for Pam to recognize him.
‘That’s Aman! So, Chamkili married Aman! Whew! Sim and her silly stories’. Pam heaved a sigh of relief. ‘But where is Chamkili going now? The coffee is still with her’, thought Pam and decided to follow her, but stopped again. Chamkili was standing near the escalator, not very far away from the coffee shop.
“Hey Devi Maiyya! Why do I always feel scared when I have to take the escalator to go down? I am not scared when I have to go up? Oh, I should overcome this fear. You can do it Khushi, you can do it.” Khushi always had a dizzy feeling when she had to use the down escalator. She decided to overcome her fears and was about to step on it when she lost balance and slipped losing grip on the disposable coffee cup. But, before she could fall, a pair of strong hands caught her. Khushi held on to the collar of the man with strong hands and was lost in his chocolate brown eyes.
Pam was watching this standing near the coffee shop door. She couldn’t see who that man was. She was about to go closer, when she heard someone stop her. Pam turned back to see a lady in her fifties with a charming smile. “Don’t go there now, can’t you see. It’s rabba ve time” said the lady grinning.
“Huh? Rabba who?” asked Pam.
“Err, never mind, you won’t understand. Just look”, the lady asked Pam to turn back and look at them.
Pam was surprised at what she saw. Khushi and the man, both were still in the same position and looking into each other’s eyes. Pam was still unable to see the face of the man. She could only see his dark suit. But soon, the couple released from their position and were facing each other. Pam now recognized the man. It was ASR. Pam was dumbfounded. With a half opened mouth, she listened to their chat.
“Khushi, how many times should I tell you to use the elevator while going down. When you feel dizzy, then why do you want to take the escalator?” asked a worried ASR.
“Arnavji, I know. But, I want to overcome this fear. So many people are able to do it then why can’t I? See one day, I will definitely be able to use it without any fear.”
“Ok, ok. But not today. I have lot of things to show you today. You can try your adventures some other day. Now, come.”
Khushi made an ‘O’ with her mouth while ASR held her hand.
Meanwhile, at the coffee shop, “Err, not a good thing to keep your mouth open for so long”, said the lady behind Pam.
“Huh, what? Who are you?”, Pam finally asked her.
“Oh, I am a copyrighter. My name is …”
“Hey, where did they go?” exclaimed Pam as she turned around and found the couple missing.
“I think you should look for them”, the lady suggested.
“Ya.. ya… yes, thanks” and Pam sprinted from there in search of answers. Meanwhile, the lady went back to have her black coffee and work on her laptop.
Pam searched for them for some time, got tired and decided to take the elevator. The elevator had glass walls at the back, from where the whole mall could be seen. Pam got in to the elevator and went right at the back to continue her search. The elevator stopped at the next floor where a couple got in, but Pam was too busy looking outside to see who entered. Only when she heard familiar voices, she turned around. Sure enough, there were ASR and Khushi.
Khushi seemed to be a bit annoyed. “Ok Khushi, I won’t scold you like that again. Sorry. Now come on smile. We have so many places to see in Singapore. How will you enjoy them with this cross face?” asked Arnav softly.
Khushi showed no signs of calming down. So Arnav continued, “Ok, then there’s only one thing to do to change your mood. Don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you.” Saying so, Arnav caught hold of Khushi by her waist and gave her a quick peck on her cheek.”
“Arnavji, what are you doing? Leave me. There’s a liftman in the front, some woman at the back, what will they think?” whispered Khushi.
“I don’t care. I just want a smile from my wife. And anyway, they are not looking at us”, replied Arnav.
“Arnavji, aap bhi na. Ok, you win, I lose. Happy?” and Khushi went shy and smiled at the same time.
“Now that’s how my wife should be all the time”, said Arnav and smiled.
The elevator reached ground floor and Arnav and Khushi left holding hands. Khushi wanted to turn back and see who the woman in the elevator was but Arnav led her away.
Pam, who had been watching all this, was in a state of shock. Was that really ASR? He said sorry to her, held her hand, smiled at her and … and … he … he … KISSED her! She’s really his WIFE?! Oooaaah … And Pam fell down losing her senses.
“Someone, someone … bring first aid, water. A lady has fainted here …” the liftman called out.
Khushi and Arnav reached their car where Aman was waiting for them. He held out the car door for Arnav and Khushi when Khushi wondered, “I think I saw that woman in the elevator before. That dress she wore looked familiar.”
“Really? Maybe”, replied Arnav and couldn’t help stop his smirk. They boarded the car and zoomed off to their next destination. Wonder whom they will be meeting there?
* * *
This is the second instalment of the OS series I had written earlier, about people who knew Arnav and Khushi prior to their marriage, but had no knowledge that they had married and neither did they ever imagine that these two would end up getting married to each other and the quirky Khushi Kumari Gupta would become Mrs. Raizada, the beloved wife of the business tycoon. Their shocking discoveries upon meeting the couple and their reactions, often involving in them fainting, produce some hilarious moments, much to the amusement of the much in love couple. Hoping the readers enjoy these funny episodes and have a good time.
Next instalment – next Friday …