[Banner Credit: Avi]
Firstly, Banner Credit to Avi. Thank you for making this one on such short notice. It is perfect!
Thank you, AngelTeen for getting me aboard this fantastic celebration of IPKKND-Ek Jashn. I am truly honoured and grateful(and, completely intimidated) to be writing amongst such talented writers.
To Vaish-for putting up the banner on IF. What would technologically challenged me do without you!
To Mimosa-for reading everything I write, the good, the bad & all the in-betweens.
And, finally, this is dedicated to Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon & its team. If someone had told me that I would one day write fan fiction on an Indian telly couple, I would have called them demented. But, here I am, battling writer’s block & writing stuff. Well, the show lives on, three years after going off air. Heady, potent, addictive- this couple.
Kindly, ignore the typos if minor. If you find major ones, bring them to my notice.
Do share your thoughts on this if time permits
And, consider yourself warned. This one is long. LONG.
OS: LIVE LOVE LAUGH- by archana.mh17
“Come home right away.” said the tense voice when Arnav Singh Raizada answered his wife’s call in between meetings.
“I have meetings lined up. And, why are you at home & not at the restaurant?” he asked her & smiled on hearing Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada sigh impatiently. She was definitely worked up about something.
“I was feeling a little light headed & it wasn’t subsiding. So, I came home. Now-” Khushi was saying when he cut her off abruptly.
“What the hell! Are you ok? Why didn’t you call?” Arnav asked, each question sounding edgier than the previous one.
“I have called you, now. And, what purpose has it served?” Khushi asked, exasperation clear in her voice.
“Come home.” she said, after a pause.
Arnav took a deep breath before responding.
“I’ll call Payal & tell her to take you to the doctor. I have meetings lined up, starting in a few minutes. Call me after your consultation.” he said, trying to calm down & sound reasonable. Khushi, though was in no mood to cooperate.
“Arnav, I need you here. I am freaking out. I want you to come home. So-” she broke off, sounding nearly hysterical.
Now, that worried Arnav. Khushi got worked up about things, sure. But clearly, something had freaked her out this time. It wasn’t just one of her moments of transient madness.
“So, just come to me.” she whispered, almost helplessly, & that hit Arnav in the gut. God, she needed him. And, he would be there. What the hell!
“Fine. I’ll be there. Will you, at least tell me what this national emergency is all about?” Arnav asked, raking his fingers through his hair.
“No. You’ll find out once you reach here, anyway. I can’t talk about it on the phone.” Khushi said, sounding a little distracted but no longer hysterical.
“You & your ridiculous suspense, Khushi! Fine, I’ll see you in thirty.” Arnav said, with no real bite before hanging up. He, then called Aman & made his assitant’s life more difficult. Everytime shit hit the roof in the Raizadas’ life, Aman bore the brunt of it, one way or another. Arnav paid him well enough & therefore, refused to feel an ounce of guilt.
Arnav Singh Raizada shrugged out of his blazer & walked straight to the bedroom he shared with his wife before anyone could see him. If they did, he would be stopped & interrogated regarding his presence in the house in the middle of a working day. He had a nosy family & he was far too worried in that moment to deal with their questions.
The door to his room was unlocked & he threw it open to find a sight that worried him. Khushi was sitting at the edge of their bed, clutching her head. She looked up when she heard the door open.
Arnav was relieved to see no tear tracks. It was either not as bad as he had imagined it to be or it was too bloody horrible for tears. Khushi just gave him a blank stare & went back to covering her face with her palms.
Arnav locked the door & threw the blazer on the recliner before making his way to her. After a moment of dilemma as to how to approach her, he went & knelt in front of her. His arms rested on either side of her on their bed, caging her in.
“What’s wrong?” Arnav asked, soothingly. She shook her head.
Arnav’s mind was only conjuring up the worst case scenarios involving his family, her family, the Prakash brothers, his grandmother’s goat. And, his wife’s silence was not helping. He held her by her arms and said, all his worry obvious in his voice, “Please tell me nobody is dying & you can clutch your head for hours, & I’ll wait.”
Khushi lifted her head at that, groaned & went back to covering her face. It had sounded like a no. Arnav heaved a sigh of relief. It was not quite bad, then. She seemed to be in shock but didn’t look quite so disturbed. And, nobody was dying. That was good. That was always good, he told himself. Then, he returned his attention to his wife, having found his bearings.
“Khushi, you need to only say it. Tell me what the problem is. And, I’ll sort it out. Did your chef drive you nuts again? Just find yourself a new one. I’ll help you.” Arnav said, wondering what had caused his crazy, but fairly balanced wife to freak out.
Khushi, finally took a deep breath & composed herself enough to open her eyes & face him. Arnav was sitting there, his face wreathed in worry, looking like the most reassuring thing in her life. And, she decided to unburden herself.
“Do you know how you’ve been getting lucky without a break, since almost two months?” Khushi asked.
“Huh?” was the intelligent response from a stumped Arnav. He was tempted to check her temperature. Maybe, fever was causing delirium. Was she really asking what he thought she was asking, in the middle of a serious conversation!
“Do you know why we didn’t have to take a break from sex, you thick headed man?” Khushi asked with exaggerated patience, as if she were speaking to someone slow.
“Um, because you want me all the time?” Arnav asked, still not following her line of questioning.
Khushi rolled her eyes at him. “Think.” she said.
“Because we are insatiable?” Arnav asked, beginning to enjoy the conversation.
“Try a biological reason.” Khushi said, gritting her teeth.
Arnav had to smile at that.
“Because you & I get each other’s hormones raging?” he asked, unable to stop smirking.
Khushi itched to slap the smirk off his face. He was having fun while she was almost in the middle of a panic attack. She whacked him on his arm.
“Ouch. What was that for, woman?” he asked. Khushi looked small but she was tough & she could pack a mean punch. He knew that after years of being married to her.
Khushi reached across his arm to pick something up from their bedside table. She held it in front of him.
“This is why you & I got all the action that we did.” she said.
Arnav looked down at the small stick in her hand. It took him a moment to recognise what it was and then, he noticed the plus sign.
“What the-” he started to swear, looking up at her.
“Exactly.” she said.
“We…we are pregnant?” Arnav asked, unable to believe it.
“Dr. Seth said I need an ultrasound for confirmation. But this is the third stick I’ve checked, Arnav. I can’t drink any more water. What are the chances of it being false?” she asked, sounding tired.
Arnav shifted & sat next to her on the bed. His mind was unable to move beyond disbelief & surprise. They had been careful for years. Khushi’s business had only just taken off. They had Aarav to care for. A baby hadn’t been in their plan for the following two years, at the very least. Well, they should have known better. Plans went for a toss in their lives all the time. But a baby? That was a big one. How would they deal with this? How would their life change? Arnav’s mind was whirling with those thoughts when his wife, finally lost her patience.
“Say something, will you! I didn’t call you all the way here for you to freak out. I need you to help me to not freak out.” Khushi said, nudging him with her elbow.
“Weren’t you on the pill?” Arnav asked.
“I was also on antibiotics. That could have caused the contraceptive failure is what Dr. Seth said.” Khushi explained.
“I told you to not self medicate, dammit.” he snapped.
Khushi scowled at him. He was making her so mad.
“That was so romantic a reaction! It takes two people to make a baby. If you’re going to make this about me, just go back to the office.” Khushi snapped back.
Arnav sighed. She had been freaking out. And, he was making it worse instead of helping her. He had to stop being an ass & deal with it the mature way. He turned to her and pulled her to his side. She resisted initially but when his hold didn’t loosen, gave in & hid her face in his neck, her arms winding around his torso.
“I am sorry. I am still trying to digest it. Give me a minute.” Arnav murmured into her hair. She nodded after a moment’s hesitation.
Several moments of silence passed as each of them tried to gather their thoughts. This silence was eventually broken by Khushi.
“Can you believe we made a baby?” she asked, something like awe joining the disbelief in her voice.
Arnav chuckled. “Considering the fact that we do love what goes into making a baby, it isn’t very hard to believe.” he said.
Khushi snorted at that.
“We hadn’t even thought of a baby. It is all your fault.” she said, sobering up.
“Mine? Didn’t you just say, it takes two people to make a baby?” he asked, bemused.
“If you had just used protection.” she sighed.
“You were on the pills. And, I clearly remember what you had to say when we tried it without protection. Do you want me to remind you of it? Something along the lines of- Oh God, perfect…more…it feels..-” he started, doing a decent imitation of her wanton response to him.
“Oh, shut up.” Khushi said before he could go into further details of her reaction. He chuckled drawing her closer and kissed her on top of her head. Then, a thought came to his mind.
“You know, I should have probably seen this coming.” Arnav said.
“How?” Khushi asked, now playing with their interlinked fingers.
“You are like a clockwork. So precise, that I know the dates.” he said.
Khushi’s hands stilled. She pulled out of his arms & sat upright, frowning at him.
“Of course, you would remember those dates but not anniversaries & birthdays. Could you have been any more single minded!” she exclaimed, making Arnav’s eyebrows reach his hairline. He was caught between amusement and exasperation.
“Don’t link random things. Is this the hormones acting up? Is this what we will be dealing with in the coming months?” Arnav asked. And then, he noticed her glare. It was too late, though. The damage had been done. He closed his eyes in resignation. She would rage at him & he had asked for it, deserved it.
“Arnav Singh Raizada. That was so below the belt. What I said has nothing to do with my hormones & everything to do with your inability to remember important dates. And, even if it is because of the hormones, deal with it. If I can have another person grow inside of me, you can definitely handle your wife’s mood swings.” Khushi bit out.
“Argh! I am sorry. I am talking crap. I really am sorry. Come here. Come to me, Khushi.” Arnav said, when she got up to walk away from her annoying husband, ignoring his call.
“Khushi, we made a baby & it wasn’t part of the plan. But come back here. So, we can at least celebrate a little. ” Arnav said, beseechingly. Khushi turned around, her eyes narrowed.
“If by celebration, you are referring to what I think you are referring to, nice try Raizada. Go away.” she said, still in a foul mood.
Arnav sighed as he followed her to their walk-in closet & leaned against the door.
“Don’t you, at least want to tell me why you were freaking out?” he asked in a conciliatory manner.
Khushi threw him a look that screamed, ‘Are you kidding me?’. Her lips pursed into a thin line when he just shrugged and stubbornly stood there, waiting for her to respond.
“Oh I don’t know. Because of inconsequential things like how we hadn’t planned this, hadn’t been prepared for this. We don’t know how this will change things. Just that.” she said & when he didn’t bat an eye, continued.
“But you seem to have found your Zen, though. Look at you, being all calm & collected.” she said, collecting her cotton kurta.
Arnav had to struggle to not laugh. “I am freaking out on the inside too, you know.” he said.
“Yeah, right.” she said, rolling her eyes, not believing his words.
“No. Really. But I was thinking of how it would be, say two years from now.” Arnav said, his eyes glowing with that knowing glint, as if he was privy to some knowledge that she wasn’t.
“And?” Khushi asked, interested now that he wasn’t busy irritating her.
Arnav shoved his hands into the pockets of his trouser and smiled almost sheepishly. Well, things were getting curiouser & curiouser, Khushi thought.
“How high do you think the chances are that we are having a baby girl?” he asked.
Khushi looked surprised. “50%.” she said, logically.
Arnav laughed. “You sound like me.” he said. “But I am quite sure, it’s a girl.” he continued.
Khushi was fascinated. Was Arnav Singh Raizada actually dealing with this change as well as he seemed to be? Would he ever stop surprising her?
“Now, why is that?” Khushi asked, turning all her attention back on him.
“Haven’t you noticed the pattern in my life, still?” Arnav asked, his mouth curving into a typical half smile that warmed her from head to toe.
“What are you talking about?” she asked, not following.
“Some men, Khushi, are destined to spend their lives loving & being loved by difficult, terrific women. Mine is such an existence.” he said, putting on a smug face.
Khushi laughed. “You don’t actually believe that, do you?” she asked, surprised that pragmatic Raizada could think in such a fashion.
“I thought of a little girl pulling my hair when I thought of our lives, two years from now. I have a feeling, I just had a glimpse into my future.” he said, the half smile turning full.
Khushi smiled at the picture his words painted. A sort of peace stole over her mind. She leaned against the racks, facing him. “So, you’re ok with this?” she asked.
“I am scared as all hell. But yeah, I think, we can do this.” Arnav said, crossing his arms across his chest, his voice ringing with conviction. She nodded, processing his reaction.
“Are you ok with this, though?” he asked, perceptive as ever where Khushi was concerned.
Khushi had needed him to be around for this & he was right there, waiting for her to get things off her chest. Arnav Singh Raizada was, literally at her beck & call. It was strangely humbling & empowering at the same time. And, since he was her Arnav, she spoke her mind.
“I don’t know. There will be changes. But there are so many working mothers who have done really well by their children. It should be fine. Right?” she asked, uncertainty lacing her voice.
Arnav ‘s expression softened at that. “Right. We’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. The kid will be fine, too.” he said with a patience he reserved for nobody but her.
Khushi returned his smile, believing him, deriving strength from knowing that he truly meant his words. He had always said he had gained more from their marriage than she ever would. She wondered if he would ever realise that her existence, her happiness & strength were intertwined as intricately with his as his were with hers.
Arnav chose that moment to move towards her. She went into his arms without any prompt. They held each other as they came to terms with the changes that would come into their lives.
“We’re really going to do this.” Khushi said into his chest, conviction & nervousness battling in her voice.
“I guess, we are.” Arnav said, kissing the side of her face.
“It isn’t going to be easy, especially after the baby is born.” she said.
“Hmmm. We’ll handle it.” he said. He continued, as if on an afterthought. “Don’t you know, I am the baby whisperer?” he said, smiling. She snorted.
“Your niece is fond of you. So, she doesn’t howl when you pick her up. That doesn’t make you the baby whisperer.” Khushi said.
Arnav ran his hand along her back, further tightening his arms around her. “Accept it. It makes you so jealous that I don’t even have to try to pacify her.” he said, chuckling.
“Whatever.” she said, mock frowning, as she moved out of his arms.
“Our kid is going to be fabulous, you know.” he said, abruptly.
Khushi looked amused at that.
“How so?” she asked.
“Well, it’s going to be our kid. Has to be pretty amazing.” he said.
“Right.” she said, shaking her head.
“No really. It is going to be one half, me. My sanity will make up for your craziness.” Arnav said, tongue in cheek, smirking at her.
Khushi threw a long suffering look at him. “Go away before I maim you, Raizada.” she said.
Arnav laughed & hauled her back into his arms. He kissed her squarely on the mouth before she could object. Khushi kissed him back, instinctively & then, deliberately. They kissed & kissed deeply before pulling away slightly, both of them out of breath.
Then, Mr. Raizada flashed a sudden white smile at his wife, a smile that made her head spin & toes curl, even after three years of having seen it on a regular basis.
“Congratulations, Mrs. Raizada. We’re pregnant.” he whispered against her mouth.
“A baby. Oh God. What are we going to do!” she said, worried.
“We’ll live, love & laugh. A lot, especially with the little one on the way. Relax.” he said, resting his forehead against hers.
Khushi laughed. “Look at you. Live, love, laugh? Now, where did you hear that one?” she asked.
Arnav kissed her laughter flushed cheek. “I believe, I heard it in some ridiculous movie that Di was watching on some weekend. Sounded nice.” he said.
“Sounded nice?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Ok, it sounded like something you’d want to hear right now.” Arnav said.
“But you mean it.” Khushi said. It was a statement, not a question. She smiled, without any nagging worry for the first time since discovering the latest development in their lives. She pulled his head down for another kiss before he could tell her that he did mean it. She knew he did. She also knew they would be alright, them and the baby.
A conversation floated to the outside after a while.
Arnav- I think I’ll take a paternity leave, eventually.
Khushi- If you plan to stay at home & mollycoddle me, I’ll call Aman to come & take you to the office, bodily if necessary.
Arnav- Oh come on, Khushi. You’ll appreciate my help. You’ll see.
Khushi- You are hoping for a girl. Now, what if it’s a boy?
Arnav- Well, we already have Aarav. Another boy & I think, your hair will turn grey sooner than you think.
Khushi- Just my hair? Not yours?
Arnav- Every hair that turns grey prematurely on my head is solely because of you, Khushi. Nobody even comes close to driving me as crazy.
Khushi- Laad Governor
Arnav- *chuckle* If we have a daughter, it might be my hair, though. Aakash’s hair started turning grey after the birth of his daughter.
Khushi- *snicker* And, you noticed this? What has your life come to, Arnav?
Arnav- Very funny. Di pointed it out the other day. Anyway, if you have amused yourself enough, tell me this. Do we inform the others after the ultrasound?
Khushi- Do you want to?
Arnav- Maybe, once you start showing. Let’s save you from being smothered with affection, for as long as possible.
Khushi- Oh my God!
Arnav- I know they are too much, but-
Khushi wailing- I am going to start showing soon. I am going to turn huge.
Arnav- What the! You’ll go back to being petite little you after the delivery. Even if you don’t, big deal.
Khushi- You don’t get to expect sensible talk from me. You are not the one dealing with this.
Arnav- True, but I am the one dealing with you. And, I love you. But you have to stop being a pain in the ass & give me Dr. Seth’s number so I can schedule an ultrasound.
Khushi- Nice save. I already called, though. No appointments available today.
Arnav- Nobody says no to Arnav Singh Raizada. Give me the number.
Khushi- *laughs* You are so full of it.
Arnav- I can prove to you that even you cannot say no to me. Shall I, Mrs. Raizada?
Khushi- Maybe, I don’t want to say no. We should celebrate this, after all.
Arnav- Oh, we most definitely should.
A lot of shuffling sounds followed, not to forget the moans & groans.
And, then came the sound of a rack breaking, a ‘What the’ & feminine laughter which was soon joined by a male one. It was a celebration typical of Arnav & Khushi, evidently. Living, loving & laughing, in their own inimitable style.
P.S: I am writing about a theme I had sworn to never write about. Hopefully, it wasn’t too off the mark.