Monday, 6 February 2012

OS: Kangan

OS: Kangan

Although Arnav didn't admit it even to himself, now that Khushi was no longer in the house, he wanted to stay out of it as much as he could. That explained his having appeared in his office so early in the morning. He entered his cabin and looked around. After that day when Khushi had barged into his office to convince him to stop Lavanya from leaving, he had not come back to his cabin. He only came to the office once briefly and that too just for a meeting and so didn't even go into his cabin. Now, looking at the various plants perched all over his cabin, he cursed himself for thinking of Khushi.

When did every single thing in his life start getting associated with Khushi? When he woke up, he recalled how she filled his dreams in the night. When he pulled out his clothes, he thought of her sitting in his cupboard. When he pulled on his shoes, he thought of her filling them with orange juice. When he picked up his laptop, he thought of him accusing her of breaking his laptop. When he walked out, he always remembered her walking into the house. The poolside, the kitchen, his room, his garden, everything was filled with memories of her. Now, when he finally walked into his one haven, his cabin, did that have to remind him of her too?

He left his laptop on the table, and went down for a meeting. On the way, he called out to a peon and said "Woh jo Lavanya ne plants rakhe hai, unhe mere ghar bhijva dena."

"Lavanya madam ne? Sir unhone toh koi plants nahi bheje."

"Toh kya tumne rakhe the woh plants mere cabin mei?" said Arnav irritably.

"Oh woh? Woh toh uss din Khushi madam ne rakhvaye the, sir."

"Kya?" said Arnav, taken back. Shrugging, he said "haan wahi. Usko mere ghar bhijva do" and walked off.

"Why the hell did she have to get Khushi to do it? Everyone in my life is thrusting her into my face all the time." thought Arnav, annoyed. He flipped out his phone to tell Lavanya to have the plants put in his garden. When she picked, he said curtly "Lavanya mai woh plants ghar bhej raha hu.."


Rolling his eyes, he said "Wahi jo tumne mere office mei rakhe the."

Lavanya panicked wondering who had dared to touch Arnav's plants "Maine?! Maine koi plants nahi rakhe ASR!"

"Uss din jab tum ghar chodke gayi thi, tumne plants nahi bhijavaye the kya?! Wahi.." Arnav was getting irritated by now.

"No ASR! You know that I stay away from plants and mud and everything. And anyway, what do I know about plants to send you anything and annoy you?!"

Arnav just disconnected the call and stopped walking. She didn't send the plants? She didn't even know about the plants? He turned around and went back into his cabin. He thought of the note. "Pahaadi se kuud jaaungi.." he recalled. How could he have missed that? Who else but Khushi would write something like that? He remembered how he was only thinking of her tears then and so didn't pay attention to the note or the plants as he thought those were from Lavanya.

He sat on his chair and leaned back, closing his eyes. This was Khushi's idea. Now, it was so obvious that it seemed almost ridiculous that he hadn't guessed. Who else knew how to melt him? Who else knew what to do or say to get him to do something? Now, he recalled overhearing her tell Lavanya with conviction "Arnavji zaroor aayenge." She knew just what to do to move him. To get through to him. She always did.

Opening his eyes, he looked at the plants fondly. He walked around the room touching each and every one of them. Suddenly, it struck him that they were all very exquisite and so very expensive plants. But, Lavanya didn't even know about them, so she could not have paid. Did that crazy girl actually pay such a big bomb to buy plants for him? How could she even afford them?

He looked carefully at the plants and realized immediately that only one nursery in Delhi had such variety and quality of plants - the one where he picked up plants from frequently. He dialled the owner's number.

"Good morning ASR" came the greeting.

"Morning, I needed some information. Did you guys do a delivery to AR recently?"

"Oh yes we did. I did intend to call you about it, but then got busy. I wasn't around myself, but you know the duty manager Rakesh. He was telling me that a girl came and picked up a bunch of the most exclusive plants and tried to give her gold bangle as payment. Obviously, we cannot accept such payments, but the girl was so distraught and adamant that the cashier checked with Rakesh. He directed her to the pawnbrokers next door and I think she must've either pawned or sold the bangle. Either way, she came back with the money and purchased the plants. Rakesh remembered to tell me about this specifically coz he was shocked when she requested the plants to be delivered to the AR office. I thought it must be someone you've helped or something, but I meant to call you about it coz this seemed a particularly expensive gift anyway. Is there a problem with the plants, ASR?"

Arnav was speechless. When he heard the question repeated, he just said "No, I'll call you later" and hung up. He was stunned. Khushi sold her gold bangle? To buy plants? For him? He remembered her rushing into his office desperately telling him that Lavanya's leaving. She thought he loved Lavanya. She thought his happiness was with her. When she couldn't stop Lavanya, she came to him. To tell him to stop her. So that he's happy. To ensure that he doesn't let go of his happiness because of his ego and temper, she sold her bangle.

Arnav clenched his fists when he remembered the number of times he accused her of doing everything for money. In the midst of financial problems, she sold her gold bangle. For his happiness. For him. He felt the familiar surge of warmth envelope him. Ever since he had taken up the responsibility of the family, he had been caring about everyone. Making sure everyone's fine. Making sure everyone gets what they want. But, ever since Khushi came into his life, he had experienced these moments of feeling like he was being unconditionally cared for, unconditionally loved. In the dhaba when she didn't let him go, at home when he was unwell, when he was coughing, when she cried after burning him unintentionally, when she made sugar free sweets, it went on.

While he always threw his money on her face, she hadn't even let a single person know what she had done for him. Arnav walked to the glass window from where he had dropped Khushi months ago. He closed his eyes and thought that they had come such a long way. Now, if she were to fall through that window, he would jump with her to break her fall. When had she seeped into his skin like this?

Hiding behind the ASR mask to keep his own feelings at bay was torturous enough. The realization of her reciprocating his feelings made everything so much more difficult. Staring into space, Arnav wondered how much longer he could go on. How much longer can he deny that he cares? How much longer can he stay away from her? How much longer can he pretend that he doesn't think of her every waking minute of his life?

He opened his eyes slowly and sighed. Di, you win this one, he thought. He had skillfully avoided feelings and emotions throughout his life, only to go and fall irrevocably in love.

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