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Monday, February 17, 2014

Arhi FF: Chamkili. Part 13- 'A Plan and Another Plan'



  A Plan and Another Plan...

Sheetal looked around her new apartment. It was an apartment with two bedrooms, a drawing room and a spacious kitchen. The apartment was more than just decent, lying some where between decently spacious and well furnished to luxurious but subtly so, not the blatant grandness of Shantivann. She liked it in fact. The only problem was it lacked something or rather someone crucial. There would be time to dwell over her miseries soon, but at the moment she needed to be focused on the little boy who was slumped on the couch, uninterested in his surroundings… lost in fact. That’s not how an eight year old responds to a new house.

Sheetal had struggled her way through motherhood. There was no lover to hold her hand in the delivery room as she screamed and cried. There were no mothers or mother-in-laws to guide her through it… to tell her that she needs to support her baby’s head while holding him. There were no sisters and sister-in-laws to tell her that when an infant cried it didn’t always mean he was hungry… no one to whisper soothing words in her ears when her baby got his first anti-viral shot… or to accompany her to his school for his first PTA meeting. No, she had to learn everything on her own. She was just thankful that Aarav was not a very difficult child. Even as an infant, he would only cry and seek her attention when in utter discomfort. And as he grew, he learnt to live by himself as well. He wouldn’t fight with the other kids in the park and then run over to her for protection. He wouldn’t cry in front of her when other kids would hit him or whine to make her read him a bed-time-story. He wouldn’t ask his mother to take an off on his birthday and bake him a chocolate cake or to take him to Disney-land. No, he understood her situation, their situation and adapted to it. He had grown to be as independent a kid as he could be. And sometimes, like right now, Sheetal would look at her son, lost in his own world and wonder that if she disappeared right this moment would he even notice that she was gone? She still couldn’t find an answer and that unsettled her. Finally unable to take it anymore she headed to her room, a little physical distance was easier to handle than immeasurable emotional distance.

“Whatever you say Khushi, I am fine with any destination you choose.” Arnav said as he opened a cabinet drawer in his office, searching for a file while speaking to his wife over the phone.
“Arnavji, please help me here, I don’t know anything about these things and on their online tourism pages every single destination promised to be heaven on earth.” Khushi said, A little irritation evident in her voice as her husband’s nonchalance had irked her a bit.
“Khushi, seriously just pick any place you like and I’ll arrange everything. Believe me it’s all the same, crowded beaches or swarming mountains; packed churches or crammed museums. Just pick any place and make it fast, I’ll have to give Aman instructions for arrangements.” He said, finally finding the file and then coming back to his desk.
“Arnavji, why are you being like this? I am taking so much pains for our holiday, scrolling through the internet pages and looking for authentic sources and asking people’s opinion and… Well, you know what, let’s just forget about. And anyway I have just started with my job and you are clearly too busy…” She couldn’t continue further as she felt a lump growing in her throat and she was pretty sure that those treacherous tears would soon betray her. She was about to disconnect the call when she heard his pleading voice.
“Khushi, Khushi listen to me, I didn’t mean it that way. The thing is just that these holiday destinations have always seemed quite tedious to me and believe me I really don’t have any specific preferences as such…” But he was cut short as his wife regaining her composure a little bit had cut in.
“It’s really okay Arnavji. I know you are a very busy man and I wouldn’t want to be a distraction of any sort. And I understand that what you said last night was probably just pillow talk and I took it too seriously (and made a fool of myself, she though to herself.). Don’t worry I won’t hold your words against you. It’s really fine.” Though hurt, she wanted to make the situation light.
“Khushi, you are getting me all wrong. Of course I want us to spend some time together alone and afar from the official or domestic environment. It’s just that all I really need is…” he paused for a bit and then his eyes held a teasing glint and the next he spoke his voice was husky and his tone teasing.
“… a comfortable room, a sturdy bed and YOU, sweetheart. These are the prerequisites, all else is manageable. Oh, and ground rules we won’t be spending much of our time outside the room so it really doesn’t matter where we go.” Arnav knew his magic was working as he could hear her heartbeats constantly accelerating, in complete sync with his… Hamesha.
“Arnavji… aap… hum… wo hum… wo.” Her cheeks were stained as was her nose, and if they didn’t give her away, the glazed look in her eyes would surely do the trick.
“Any questions Khushi?” He asked, his voice still husky and his tone dripping with mirth. “Well, let me elaborate, an AC because well, I am used to it. The bed has to be sturdy, because when we were barely warming up and testing the fields, we broke a bed, so now that things are really in action and the cricket match is on, we should be more careful. And finally, my dear wife, I need you… to ravish again and again and again, testing the sturdiness of the bed and challenging it. What do you say to that?” he smirked imagining the three Os on the face of his blushing bride.
“Arnavji please stop. We can’t talk about all this over the phone.” He heard her breathless plea.
“Baby, I haven’t even started yet. And believe me we can do a lot more over the phone.” He paused but as he had expected, he didn’t hear anything but her errant breathing. And the next moment she had disconnected the call. Arnav had a cocky smile on his face, proud of the fact that he could fluster her, arouse her so much even on the phone. Arnav made a mental note to call her more often; he enjoyed a flustered Khushi way too much to resist. He wondered what her response would be to dirty talking. He couldn’t wait to give her lessons on that.

It had been more than a minute that Lavanya had entered Khushi’s cabin and she was still to notice that 5”6 figure standing right in front of her desk. The blush stained cheeks and glazed eyes told Lavanya more than she wanted to know and couldn’t help but smile a little at her Chamkili’s condition.

Well, Khushi had been working at Kala for over a week now, and though the initial response of everyone was very friendly, but since her husband had pulled that stunt in her office, things had gone pretty much down-hill from there. Lavanya was more than glad that she was there for Chamkili for except her everyone in the office was barely formal with her. Every single person openly distrusted her and was secretly jealous of her. Her team-mates were in fact worse than others, most of them barely speaking to her, and some even hostile to her. Khushi hadn’t said anything to anyone but Lavanya had taken things in her hand and given everyone except Celina James and Samay an earful. The external hostility had ceased then, but of course the impact was limited to external hostility only and that was an open secret. Celina and James though conscious of her were at least cordial and Samay, being the absolute delight that he was, was the only one who was genuinely friendly with her, helping her through all the obstacles of this professional world, when she wasn’t there. Despite all, she was happy for her friend because naivety, charming as it may seem, wasn’t really a thing to cherish for life. And the inhospitable circumstances at the office were in fact just what Khushi needed, to get a taste of the real world. She needed to know it for she would have to face it, if not today then tomorrow, so why delay the inevitable. And here at least Lavanya was there to guide her through all this. Their friendship had shone brighter than ever in these last few days. A girl-friend was definitely a must for every girl.

Deciding that she had waaited long enough and that it was time to snap Khushi out of it, she cleared her throat a little loudly and her Chamkili was back with her.
“Umm, Lavanyaji when did you come? I…I was just thinking about something… I mean some new designs. How about we design something in a combination of red and pink?” Khushi blurted out the first thing that came to her mind.
“That’s a great idea Khushi…” Lavanya paused for a bit and saw Khushi in the process of exhaling a breath of relief and so quipped suddenly,
“Only, we already have two designs in the red and pink combination and to top it all it was already your idea.” Lavaya had a knowing smile on her face.
“Wo, Lavanya ji I… I was just thinking about… I wo…” Khushi was struggling to frame a coherent sentence and so Lavanya finally came to her rescue.
“Khushi, believe me I really don’t want to know what you a thinking about. Of course I do have a fair enough idea of what it might be, but I’d rather not scandalize my innocent mind with details, especially during the office hours.” Lavanya finished with a sly smile on her face and Khushi all but burned with embarrassment. Now, Lavaya would have loved to take thid=s forward but right now she was way too busy to continue. She hadn’t even had a mani-pedi this entire week so…
“Okay okay, now stop blushing, I have to tell you something important. Actually, the client meeting with that Spanish firm that was to happen today, it has been postponed to Monday and Mr. Kapoor said that the client has demanded that the entire designing team be present in the meeting. So, yeah that’s it. Okay then I’ll see your in the team meeting later. Bye” And saying that she turned and left.

Had she stayed even a second longer, she would have seen the blush disappear from Khushi’s face as it paled in shock. For, just about a minute ago Arnavji had called her to inform that their tickets to Paris were done and they would be leaving the next day for their week long holiday. Now, with the meeting on Monday, Khushi didn’t know what to do and worst of all she felt terrified imagining the ways Arnav might react to this new piece of information.
Arnav felt like he was at the top of the world. Just the thought of spending an entire week with his wife in a far away country had him giddy with excitement. Not too long ago he had informed Khushi about their final bookings and had also like a thorough gentleman made her aware of all the plans that he had for their honeymoon and of course every single one involved her and a sturdy bed. Well, sturdy tables, chairs, shower stalls, walls and doors would also do, after all these were variables, she was the only constant in his life as well as his fantasies.

Someone knocked at the cabin door and he all but grumbled a very reluctant come-in. Sheetal walked in with a small smile on her face and after they had exchanged pleasantries, Sheetal then gave him some papers for his signatures. He was flipping through these papers, conscious to go through every single one of them, while having a light conversation with Sheetal about her new flat and Aarav. The last sheet remained now and Arnav frowned slightly as he wasn’t aware of what the paper said.
“Sheetal, what is this.”
“Oh sorry, I had thought that I would talk to you about it befor giving out the papers but I guess it just slipped my ming. Actually Arnav, I remember you saying that you wanted AR to focus extensively on its developing over-seas market and so when a friend of mine told me about this, I thought I might as well just ask you.”
Arnav was busy going through the paper. It was fairly simple Arnav decided as he picked up the pen. Well, of course he’d have to run a background check on this company before taking any final decisions and since the papers only required him to give his official permission for a formal presentation. He would go through the designs later, he decided. Well, he was absolutely sure of Sheetals capability as far as designing was concerned.

Sheetal collected the papers and then walked out of the room, now an evil smile on her face.

To be continued...
Srija :)

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