Arnav dialed Khushi’s number for the umpteenth time and yet again Khushi disconnected after a few rings. “What the … ” exclaimed Arnav and threw the phone on his bed. He was getting more angry and restless every time Khushi cut his call.

“What’s the matter, Nannav?”, the voice of NK accompanied by sound of crunching potato chips fuelled Arnav’s irritation further. NK walked into Arnav’s room munching chips, just as Arnav was throwing the phone on the bed.

“Tum itne ghoosa kyun ho?” asked NK.

“Not ghoosa, it’s gussa”, corrected Arnav, filling in for Khushi’s role of correcting NK’s Hindi whenever he made a blunder.  ‘But I so want to give you a ghoosa, a punch to you right now,’ thought Arnav.

“Oh, sorry”, said NK doing his customary action of holding his ear every time he was corrected. “So tell me, why are you angry? Oh, you were trying to call Khushiji! No use Nannav. She’s not going to take your call. You should try some other method to reach her,” NK suggested.

“What other method? I don’t want to barge into Buaji’s house and make a scene in front of everyone. I don’t want them to know that we had a fight. Khushi knows I won’t do that and she’s taking advantage of it” said a frustrated Arnav.

“Nannav mere bhai, you’ve  been married for a while now. But, still you haven’t learnt how to calm down your wife” said NK trying to calm his cousin.

“Oh really, and you are very experienced in this, is it?” said Arnav sarcastically.

“Nannav mere bhai, some things are inborn. You know it naturally. Of course, this inborn talent isn’t in you. So here I am, to help you, give you tips and help you patch up with your wife.”

“Ya right! So what does this so called inborn talent of yours suggest?” asked Arnav crossing his hands.

“Poetry” suggested NK crossing his hands too.

“What!” exclaimed Arnav.

“Yes Nannav. You should write poetry for Khushiji. ” said NK

“You and your filmy ideas! You know NK, sometimes Di keeps telling, that you and Khushi must have been twins in your last birth. Don’t know about the last birth thing, but twins, that seems to be very very likely” retorted Arnav.

“Don’t try to change the topic Nannav. Come on, it should be easy for you. You’ve known her for so long. Surely, you must have written poetry sometime for her” said NK.

“Er … no. I have never done anything of that sort and I am not going to do it now too. So, stop giving me silly suggestions. Now  go from here and let me think,” said Arnav and sent away NK from the room.

‘As if Khushi wasn’t enough, now this NK is also making me mad. I better go to office and do some work. Atleast that should calm me down,’ thinking so Arnav picked up his coat and laptop bag and left for office.

It had been more than an hour since Arnav came to office but he still wasn’t able to concentrate on his work. His thoughts kept going to the previous night.

~  ~ ~

Arnav was sitting on the recliner, teleconferencing through the laptop. Just then, Khushi came from the pool side, accidently hit the little table on which the laptop was placed. The table jerked a bit causing the laptop to slip from its position. Arnav managed to caught hold of the laptop just in time before it fell on the floor.

“What the… Khushi. Can’t you see where you are going? I was having a teleconference with a client. I had finally got the network connection  after trying for a long time and now you’ve come and upset it again,” ranted Arnav.

“First you tell me, why are you sitting in the way? The recliner and the table, they are not supposed to be here near the poolside door?” asked Khushi.

“Yes, I moved them a bit towards the door trying to get the signals for the connection. But, can’t you see and walk?”

“Haww! First you move furniture here and there and then you blame me. I don’t want to talk to you” said Khushi and went away.

“Me neither. I am going to the terrace to try the connection again. You can dance, sing, jump around, do whatever you want in the room”, shouted Arnav in anger and climbed up the stairs, taking the laptop along with him.

At the terrace, Arnav was trying connect to the client when he got a call from Aman saying that he had received a fax about a continuous network problem at the client’s place and that the client would inform as soon as the problem was sorted out.

Arnav soon realized his folly and went downstairs to his room at once. When he entered, he saw Khushi was sleeping on the bed covered from head to toe in blanket. He wanted to wake her up, but then decided to get up very early in the morning and give her some surprise.

As planned, Arnav got up early next morning and looked on the other side of his bed. But, Khushi wasn’t there. He immediately got up and checked the bathroom, the poolside and other places. When he couldn’t find her anywhere he went downstairs to the hall where he found his Di who told him that Khushi had some work at Buaji’s place, so she left early in the morning.

Arnav immediately called her up and since then Khushi hadn’t been taking his calls. NK had seen Khushi when she left for Buaji’s place and understood that Arnav and Khushi had had a fight.

~ ~ ~

At the office, Arnav couldn’t help pondering over NK’s suggestion. “Poetry? … Na, no way”, thought Arnav.

Akash walked into his cabin to get some signatures from his Bhai for a meeting. After signing the papers, Arnav asked him, “Akash, did you ever write poetry?”

“Poetry, Bhai? Well, I did try once. When I proposed to Payal for the first time. I called her a flower and ended up calling myself a bhanwra, a bee which keeps hopping between flowers. It was an utter flop attempt”, laughed Akash and continued, “After marriage, Payal took a promise from me, never to write poetry again and I didn’t even try to … But Bhai, why are you asking me this?”

“Huh … Err … Aren’t you getting late for your meeting?”, saying so Arnav sent Akash away.

After Akash left, Arnav was lost in thoughts again. ‘Poetry … hmm … maybe I can give it a try … just once.’

He took out his writing pad and started to write thinking aloud, ‘You and me … Me and You … I am one … we are two … Nonsense, this looks more like a nursery rhyme; one, two , buckle my shoe …’ Frustrated at his attempt, Arnav crumpled the paper and threw it and tried again. After a few trials, he finally wrote something, folded it and put the paper inside an envelope. He called up NK and told him to be ready. He would pick him up and go to Khushi’s house. He was determined to bring Khushi back home.

Arnav parked the car a little away from Buaji’s house, so that no one could see them from the house. He handed NK the envelope and asked him to give it to Khushi.

“Oh, so you finally did write a poem for her. Very good, very good, I’m impressed. But, why now? You can give it to her in the evening when she comes home”, NK inquired.

“Just do as I say,” ordered Arnav and handed the envelope to him.

“All right, as you say,” saying so NK got down from the SUV and mumbled ‘Ravan’.

Arnav knew Khushi would be coming back home in the evening, but he also knew that she would continue to avoid him even at home. He needed to talk to her, see her, patch up with her as soon as possible. He was getting desperate.

NK knocked on Buaji’s door expecting Khushi to open it. But instead it was Buaji who welcomed him.

“Arey, Nand Kishore, it’s you. Come, come,” Buaji let NK in and asked him to take a seat.

“Buaji, where’s Khushiji?’ asked NK.

“Why? I thought you came to see me,” Buaji teased NK and continued “You have any work with her?”

“Er … no … no. I just wanted to meet her casually.” NK replied.

“Casually?  But, she’s coming home in the evening anyway.  You all are staying in the same house, right?” asked a confused Buaji.

“Ya … ya … yes. No, I … I actually had some work with her, I had to give her something”,  explained NK.

“Oh, ok ok. Give it to me. Khushi is taking a nap and her parents have also gone to the clinic for Shashi babua’s checkup,” said Buaji.

“Er … no. Nothing urgent. I will give to her when I meet her.” NK didn’t want to give the envelope to Buaji. Arnav had told him strictly, “Hand it over to Khushi only, no one else, understand?”. He wouldn’t dare disobey the Ravan.

“Who is it Buaji?” Khushi walked out of the room into the hall and found NK and Buaji sitting there. She had tried taking a nap but whenever she tried closing her eyes all she could see was her Laad Governor’s face. Frustrated with the restless feeling, she got up and came into the hall.

“Arey Nanheji, when did you come?” Khushi asked NK.

“Arey Titaliya, you’ve got up. Come and sit. You both talk, I will get tea. It is almost ready” said Buaji and went into the kitchen.

As soon as she left, NK gave the envelope to Khushi and spoke in a low tone. “Khushiji, here, this is for you. Nannav has given this. He has written a poem for you,” chuckled NK.

“What? Really? I  don’t believe this,” said Khushi and opened the envelope with an expression of disbelief. But as soon as she started reading it, her expression changed  into an angry one.  The letter read, ‘Khushi, I am waiting in the car outside. Stop playing games and come with me.’

“Look what he has written. Does it look like a poem from any angle? I am definitely not going with him. You can go and tell him. Let him do whatever he wants to. The Laad Governor,” a miffed Khushi told NK.

Buaji came in with the tea cups. After they had tea, Buaji asked NK to come with her to a shop to help her choose some clothes for a relative who was getting married and was of same built as NK. NK refused politely initially but Buaji persisted.

“Nand Kishore, you should come and take a look. So that, when you are getting married, you will have an idea. By the way, when are you getting married?” asked Buaji.

NK gulped thinking about the nightmare he often has about him and Buaji whenever she raised the ‘M’ question. He excused himself for a while, went to the verandah, made a quick call to Arnav and explained the situation at home to him.

Arnav, who was pacing outside the SUV frantically, got infuriated upon knowing Khushi’s reaction. He decided to wait till NK and Buaji left the house and then meet Khushi directly. Meanwhile, Khushi  knew that Arnav, who was nearby,  would try to barge in. So, as soon as NK and Buaji left the house, Khushi immediately locked the house from inside. Relieved, she turned around and was shocked.

In front of her standing was Arnav, glaring at her. He had obviously, jumped in through the window, knowing Khushi’s line of acts. “What is all this Khushi? Why are you not taking my calls? And how could you refuse to come with me? You think I can write poems for you, then listen, that is never going to happen. Understand? Now, stop behaving like mad and come with me,” Arnav said in anger.

“I am behaving like mad? See, this is what happens. You get angry and then you don’t even realize what you say. I don’t want to talk to you,” said Khushi and tried to leave from there. Arnav calmed down a little, took a deep breath, caught hold of her hand and pulled her closer to him.

“Khushi, I don’t know how to sing songs or talk in rhymes.

All I want is to be with you all the time.
I don’t know what should be done or not in love.
All I know is I cannot live without you, my love.
Khushi I am sorry I hurt you when I was angry.
But you know, your Laad Governor is a little crazy”,

 Arnav blurt out his feelings all at once. Hearing that, Khushi’s eyes welled up. She smiled and hugged him tight.
“Arnavji, this is the most beautiful poem I’ve ever heard”, said Khushi . “Poem? Khushi, I just said what I felt”, explained Arnav releasing from the hug.

“I know Arnavji.

Har wo baat jo dil se kahi jaati hai, wo kavita ban jaati hai.
Har wo baat jo rooh ko choo jaati hai, wo kavita ban jaati hai.
Every word that is spoken with heart, becomes poetry.
Every word that touches the soul, becomes poetry”,
said Khushi emotionally.

Arnav and Khushi both laughed and hugged again. “Sorry Khushi, do you know how I spent the whole morning?”

“Same here. I am sorry too Arnavji. Because of me, you had to go through so much trouble. I didn’t even have my lunch. And now, I am feeling hungry”, Khushi confessed. “Me neither. Come, let’s go out for lunch. I know it’s a little late, but that’s okay,” saying so Arnav took her hand and started to leave.

Khushi handed over the house keys to her neighbour and sat in the SUV. She was putting on her seat belt when she asked, “By the way Arnavji, how did your teleconference go?”

Arnav got startled at the question. What would he reply? If he told her that he unnecessarily blamed Khushi she would again start brooding. What would he tell her then? And how? To verse or not to verse?

Needless to say, Arnav did end up telling her that the problem was at the client’s end. Khushi got  miffed hearing that, but looking at Arnav’s expression, she assumed his thought process and broke into a laughter and started singing, “Aaj mausam hai suhana, Arnavji se kavita sun ne ka hai bahana, what the, what the, what the … ” (The weather today is bright, an excuse to hear a poem from Arnavji, what the, what the, what the …)

Arnav was relieved at her reaction and joined her in the laughter. Soon, the couple left for lunch, a little late but much before tea time.

~ ~ ~

DurgaS’s Index