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Arnav had not slept, eaten or even taken a second to himself since the past 36 hours. Most of it had been spent at the hostpital, Nani had had a stroke and then they had heard the news just a few hours ago that she was no more. Since then ' he had busied himself with funeral preparations. He had barely slept trying to manage work at the office, taking care of his family and preparing for Nani's funeral. He was exhausted yet knew the minute he was free, he would probably breakdown and his family needed him. The house felt empty without her, she had been the head of the family and Anjali and him had lookedup to her their whole lives. Her importance in his life, he was just now coming to realize. He had told Khushi Nani was ill but was unsure of how to tell her about Nani's death ' so he waited thinking he would call her tomorrow. She had said she would be coming soon but he wasn't sure when she had found a flight to come back.
Di walked up to him as he was in the middle of ordering some stuff from JP and put her hands on his face and said "Chottay, please take some rest, its late and you look exhausted. You haven't even eaten properly."
"I'm fine Di he said holding her hand. I'm more worried about
you and Shanti - you need to be
strong so you can take care of her." She looked so sad, her eyes swollen and
puffy ' his heart went out to her.
He excused himself and was busy with some preparations upstairs when all of a sudden he heard Anjali scream "Khushiji" and he ran out to the hallwayand saw Anjali embracing Khushi who looked skeletal and pale in a while shalwar kameez. His hurt jumped as he saw her ' he was unsure how she had managed to make it here so fast. He heard Anjali tell her Nani was no more and he saw her breakdown in Anjalis arms. He came down and stood near her, unsure of how to greet her with the rest of the family present.
He looked pale and worn out she thought yet there was something about him a resolve that he had. She could see it in his eyes, he had to take care of his family and she knew he always wore a brave face.
"Aaap theek hain Arnavji" she said peering into his tired
"Haan, tum itna jhaldi kaisay ayee?" he asked.
She told him about how Dhruv had a few connections who got her a ticket asap. She excused herself and was busy in helping Anjali as guests were pouring in to pay their respects.
Arnav busied himself in arranging for the body to be brought home.
Arnav was unsure of how he would withstand the funeral, seeing her body, the customs and traditions in which he had no interest yet somehow he found the strength to brave it. Maybe it was Khsuhi's presence, she had been working tirelessly taking care of Anjali, Shanti, attending to guests and participating in the customary traditions.
Once the funeral was over and guests had slowly started leaving he made his way back to his room, he had to be alone for a few minutes to recharge himself so that he could face his family and be strong. Khushi had seen him make his way to his room and saw JP stopping him to ask a few questions. She ran to his room as she saw that and hid herself in hs bathroom. She had wanted to be alone with him all morning and her heart went out to him. She waited for him impatiently to come up pacing while she waited.
She heard a sound and peered out the door and what she saw shocked her. There sat Arnav Singh Raizada, his hands cupping his face, hunching over and crying. She could see his body shivering and muffled sounds coming from him. She immediately opened the door and walked towards him.
He looked up and was surprised to see her, standing there
looking at him the most tender expression he had ever seen on her. Her eyes
welled up with tears yet she came and sat by his side holding him and trying to
She hugged him while he broke down in her arms. She was unsure of how to comfort him but did all she could to be there for him. She placed her hands on his back, patting him and telling him sNani was in a better place and Nani had loved him a lot. She ran her hands through his hair trying to comfort and calm him. She could feel his body shaking against hers as he tried to hold back his tears.
"you need to rest, Di said you haven't slept in days" she said as she moved his body away from hers trying to get him to lie down. He slid into the bed and she placed a blanket over him, taking off his shoes first. As she was tucking him in, he held on to her hand and said "Stay with me" his eyes read, his tone pleading ' she could not say no. The way he said those words, she would have moved mountains if he had asked. So she sat down next to him holding his hand and running her hands through his hair and forehead trying to make him sleep. But he was troubled she could tell.
"I was not good to her Khushi, she was a mother to me and I
troubled her. First by threatening to marry Lavanya, then by marrying you
without telling her and the way I handled the Shyaam issue. I was a bad
grandson" he said despairingly.
"Why are you doing this to yourself she said, Nani loved you and she would not be happy to see you like this" she said tightening her grip on his hands.
He then told her stories of him Nani and Anjali, mostly happy memories of then when they were young and how she would tell them stories and make them food. How she was extremely proper about manners being from Lucknow and how she would tell them stories of when she was young. He told Khushi about how it was through Nani that he had gotten to really know how his mother was, it was her stories that made his mother real and come to life.
Khushi had never seen this side of Arnav Singh Raizada, the softer side of him that broke down and needed her. Somehow both of them had fallen asleep at some point at night, both exhausted Arnav from working around the hour taking care of his family and Khushi from such a long flight.
Anjali had walked in to Chottay's room in search of Khushi and smiled when she saw Khushi, sleeping in Arnav's room ' holding her Chottay's hand, her face resting on Arnav's chest, her legs still on the floor. She had pickedup a blanket and put it on top of Khushi and walked out.
Arnav woke up in the morning, the rays of the sun forcing him to open his eyes. He looked at Khushi lying on his chest, fast asleep and he felt at peace and relaxed. He had been so tired but somehow it all left his body when he saw her face. He gently moved her face onto a pillow and pulled her legs on the bed. He then sat up and watched her sleep, resting his hands on her head. She had comeback to him, his savior. She had comeback to be where she belonged - by his side, he thought. And I will not do her wrong this time he promised, no one can meddle between us now and I will take care of her as God is my witness, he thought.
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