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The morning light filtered through the sheer curtains, landing on the couple tangled in each other’s arms. Her eyes scrunched in protest, not wanting to be dragged out of her dreamy haze and her husband’s warm embrace. Sighing, she cuddled closer to his heat, and was rewarded with the tightening of his arm around her and a small kiss to her neck.
Feeling tickled, she smiled and opened her eyes, blinking to clear her vision. Her eyes landed on the clock on their bedside table and widened as she realized what day it was, and exactly why she shouldn’t be cozying up to her husband.
Last night, she had tried to remind him of what today was, hoping that they could plan something special, without explicitly stating it, and her husband had turned out to be the biggest idiot of them all.
Glaring at the hand wrapped around her middle, she pushed it away, a little too roughly, and snatched the sheet off of the bed to wrap herself in it, making him yelp.
“What the…” she heard his yell, his voice hoarse with sleep. “Khushi?”
“Laad governor kahike,” she mumbled to herself and rushed into the bathroom, determined to not give him the satisfaction of seeing her face that morning…or following her into the shower.
Once the bathroom door slammed behind her, he opened his eyes, sure that she was out of earshot, and grabbed his phone off of the side table.
“Hello? How are the arrangements going?”
“What does the Laad Governor think of himself?” she cribbed, as she pulled a batch of Jalebis out of the oil and dropped them into the sugar syrup. Picking a Jalebi from the plate beside her, from the batch she had made earlier, she munched on it as she waited for the new ones to soak up the sugary goodness.
At this rate, she would be like Buaji by the time she was 30.
Her eyes widened at the image, and she shook her head quickly to clear it of that traumatizing visual.
“Khushi? What are you doing?” Payal asked, stepping into the kitchen and seeing the growing pile of Jalebis next to her sister.
“Jiji, these…” Khushi started to explain before she stopped herself. “Jiji…aren’t you forgetting something?”
“What?” Payal asked distractedly, as she started clearing away the mess Khushi had made, so that she could start on breakfast. “What am I forgetting?”
Khushi wilted like a rose in hot water as she realized, her own Jiji seemed to have forgotten her anniversary. The Jiji who always remembered all the important days in her life and fought to be the first to wish her.
“Khushi, please go call everyone for Puja. I should be done making the Prasad in a few minutes,” Payal interrupted, not even sparing a glance at her sister.
Dejected, Khushi walked out of the kitchen, not noticing the apologetic look her sister sent her way before grabbing her phone and typing something, furiously.
It’s done. It’s a good thing I love you. Poor Khushi, she looked devastated.
Aakash pocketed his phone hurriedly, seeing Khushi walking their way.
“Jijaji,” she called, before noticing that Lavanya and NK were also in the living room with Aakash, and greeted them as well, “Good Morning, Nanheji, Lavanya.”
“Good Morning, Khushiji,” NK greeted happily, before saying, “Wow. Khushiji, you look so pretty today. What’s the occasion?”
Happy that someone had finally noticed, she was about to answer him, only to be interrupted by Lavanya, “Nand, does there have to be a reason for Khushi to dress up? Besides, Khushi always looks pretty. Right, Jijaji?”
“Of course,” Aakash agreed, smirking as he noticed Lavanya pinching NK discreetly for his faux paus, making him yelp.
“Were you going to say something, Khushiji?” Aakash asked, noticing the frown on Khushi’s face.
“Oh…Jiji asked me to call everyone for Puja,” Khushi said, and turning around, walked away, before she said something and made a fool of herself.
“Arnav would have killed you,” Lavanya whispered admonishingly, once she was sure Khushi left, glancing at a sheepish NK, as Aakash laughed away at his brother’s expense.
“Di?” Khushi called, knocking on Anjali’s door. Hearing a muffled ‘Come in’, she entered her sister-in-law’s room, confident that if no one else, she would remember what today was. After all, Anjali was as big a romantic as Khushi and never let a special day pass by without celebration.
“Good Morning Di, Aman Jiju,” Khushi greeted happily, forgetting her earlier disappointment as she saw Aman rubbing the feet of his very pregnant wife. Out of everything Devi Mayya had blessed the family with in the past three years, Amanji was definitely the one Khushi was most thankful for. He had brought love and life back to her sister-in-law’s life and she would forever be thankful to him for that.
“Good Morning, Khushiji,” Aman greeted with a friendly smile, not even the least bit embarrassed to be in the position he was. “Is it time for the Puja?”
“Yes, Jiju,” Khushi replied, walking over to Anjali. Lifting her hand, she looked at Anjali questioningly, wondering if it would be okay to feel the baby. At Anjali’s nod, she placed her hand on the baby bump and was rewarded with a kick immediately.
“Awww, my bacchu is feeling energetic today, isn’t he?” she cooed, and grinning, retrieved her hand.
“Do you feel okay to attend the Puja, Di?” she asked, concern tinging her tone.
“Oh yes, Khushiji,” Anjali reassured her with a smile. “He insisted on giving me a foot massage before we went down, and well…I would never decline such an offer.”
Both women laughed at that, making Aman smile at the image.
Telling them to come down soon, Khushi was about to walk out of the room, when Anjali called out to her.
“Khushiji, I almost forgot…”
Khushi grinned, this is it.
“…would you mind telling Hari Prakashji to pick up some mangoes from the market? If he goes later, all the fresh ones will be gone.”
Khushi’s shoulders slumped again as she mumbled, “Sure, Di,” and rushed out of the room.
“Aman, is this really necessary?” Anjali asked, seeing Khushi’s downturned countenance.
“According to your brother, yes,” Aman said, and sighed.
Once the family had completed doing their Puja, and as seemed the fashion, not a peep was heard about her special day, they all sat down for breakfast, the table buzzing with excitement, as usual.
“Khushi, pass me the butter,” Arnav asked, sending his wife’s dejected form a quick glance.
When she just glared at him and went back to pushing the food around on her plate, he smirked and repeated, louder this time, “Khushi, pass me the butter, would you?”
Everyone turned to look at them, leaving Khushi with no choice but to do as he asked as they went back to their discussions.
Grabbing the dish she handed over to him, he tried to caresses her hand with his, but received a disbelieving look and a pinch to his hand for his effort.
“Ouch,” he yelped, making everyone turn towards them again.
“Are you okay, Chotey?” Anjali asked, trying hard not to laugh.
“Yes, Di. Must have been an ant,” he replied and smiling at his wife’s fuming face, went back to his breakfast.
The rest of Khushi’s day had passed in much the same fashion, with no one remembering that it was her wedding anniversary. She could understand Arnav forgetting, as ironic as that sounded, but she had expected at least her sister and sister-in-law to remember. After all, they had been the ones to remind Arnav in the years past before he could get into any real trouble with his wife.
Cursing her husband’s unromantic nature, she went about cleaning up their bedroom, mumbling to herself occasionally about how different her life would have been if she had married Salman Khanji, the most romantic hero to ever romance.
“Khushi, you aren’t ready yet?” Payal asked, walking into her bedroom.
“Ready?” Khushi asked, confused. “Ready for what, Jiji?”
“Offo, Khushi, did you forget about the party?” Payal asked, pulling out a Party saree for Khushi to wear. Her sister would take forever to decide on an outfit if it were up to her, and then Arnav would really lose it.
As it is, she had seen him yelling at Aman and Aakash about something not going to plan.
“Party?” Khushi perked up, thinking maybe they had remembered after all.
“Yes, the Sinha’s reception?” Payal answered, placing all the accessories next to the saree, and ushering Khushi to the bathroom. “Their daughter got married, remember?”
“Oh,” Khushi sighed, her excitement leaving her in one fell swoop as she remembered Arnav mentioning a close family friend’s party a while ago.
“Do I have to go, Jiji? I don’t feel like it,” Khushi asked, whining.
Payal panicked. If Khushi didn’t go, everything would fall apart and she, for one, didn’t really want to be on the receiving end of that tantrum from Arnav.
Oh, what a couple these two made.
“Khushi, it’s Arnavji’s really close associate. It wouldn’t be nice if you didn’t come,” Payal said, and seeing Khushi’s reluctant nod, sighed in relief.
“How much longer will it take, Arnavji?” Khushi cribbed, pushing a lock of hair behind her ear. His lovely wife had been giving him the silent treatment for most of the day, so this was a nice change.
“We should be there in a few minutes, Khushi,” he replied, looking at her. She was staring out the window, her profile turned away from him. “You look beautiful.”
He saw a blush steal across her face, but she said nothing.
That’s okay. She would have plenty to say soon.
Parking the car, he got out and rounded over to the passenger side to hold the door open for her. She clutched her saree and got out carefully, looking up to notice that they were at a the farmhouse.
“Arnavji, you let Sinhaji have his daughter’s reception here?” she asked, shocked.
Giving her a smile, he held her hand and backed her to the car.
“We’re not here for Sinhas’ function, Khushi,” Arnav said, leaning in and planting a kiss on her neck, making her gasp in delight.
“Then?” she asked, pushing him away slightly, and looking up at him in confusion.
“Happy Anniversary, Khushi,” he whispered, watching her eyes light up in delight.
“You remembered!” she exclaimed, throwing her arms around him.
He pulled her close and planted a kiss on her head.
“But then, why….?” she said, pulling back from him and looked around searchingly.
“Do you remember the first time I stayed at your house?” he asked, confusing her further.
“Do you remember the conversation you had with your friends?” he continued, not letting her finish.
“Yes, I do. But…”
“That’s why we’re here,” he said, and pulling back from their embrace, held both her hands in his.
“Khushi, didn’t you ever think that our weddings…both of them…were nowhere close to your dream wedding?” he asked.
She looked at the perplexed expression on his face and smiled, “Arnavji, what does it matter? As long as I get to have you at the end of it all…”
“But it matters, Khushi,” he interrupted her again, tracing the line of her face with his fingers. “Your happiness…your dreams…they matter to me. They matter to me more than anything or anyone else in the world.”
“Arnavji, I…” tears swirled in her eyes at his words. Her husband was a man of few words, but when he did speak, he really knew how to get his point across.
“There’ll be none of that,” he said, wiping away a tear before it could fall down her cheeks. “As I was saying, what you want matters to me, Khushi. So I’ve decided we’ll get married again. Here. Today.”
“Payal, Di and Lavanya are waiting in the house for you, to get you ready,” he said, stepping away from her. “Go.”
She graced him with a smile that could light up a room, before turning around and walking towards the house. He saw her halt, and before he could inquire, she turned around and ran towards him, and threw her arms around him.
He stepped back, attempting to balance them, and felt her pull back slightly. Staring into his eyes, she whispered, “I love you, Arnavji,” before wrapping her hands in his hair and pulling him in for a kiss.
As they took their saath-phere around the holy fire, she remembered the conversation she had had with her sister, a few minutes ago.
“He had been planning this for months,” Payal explained, pinning the dupatta to her head. “He asked me about your dream wedding. Said, knowing you, you must have had it all planned down to the T.”
Khushi looked around herself and realized that her husband truly had made her dream come true. It was an intimate affair, just their family and close friends, just the way she had always wanted it to be. Despite popular belief, Khushi wasn’t one for big weddings. She firmly believed that in order to savor the special day, it was to be spent with only the ones near and dear to her.
“He designed this dress, you know,” Anjali said, placing kajal behind Khushi’s ear to ward away evil eyes.
“The one thing he didn’t ask my input on,” Payal added, perplexed.
He had remembered. Her longing from all those years ago. A red dress induced with green highlights, like a spring in bloom. Delicate earrings that tinkled in the gentlest of breezes. Anklets that made a noise with her every step. More bangles that she could count, hiding her wrists from view.
“You’re a very lucky girl, Khushi,” Lavanya had said, giving her a wink.
Uncaring for what anyone would think, she tugged at his hand, the one encompassing her’s in a warm grip.
He turned around, his questioning gaze roaming over her face.
For the second time that day, to his surprise, his wife threw her arms around him without a warning, this time eliciting a chuckles and a few cat-calls from their rowdy family.
“I love you, Arnavji,” she said, burrowing into his embrace.
“I love you, Khushi,” he replied, placing a small kiss on her head before pulling her even closer.
It was true what they said, the third time’s the charm.
AN: It was an honor sharing this platform with all these lovely ladies. Thank you for allowing me to be in such great company 🙂
I have, as usual, foolishly taken on two more OS’s for this series, but thankfully, I am writing them with two very talented writers so I should be in good hands. See you soon!
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Index : Blooming world