Author's Note: I am happy to know there are many dedicated readers for this story! I am grateful to you all. Thanks!
Mr. Nair had just finished his breakfast when he saw Khushi coming in.
“Hey! Who is this? I thought you forgot this old man”, he said with a wide smile.
He had missed her, she had told him about going for a wedding in South India but still he had felt a void when he didn't see her. It seems like he had got used to see her everyday morning.
“Yes, yes, I did forget you! When there were so many handsome young faces dancing around me, I got lost in them and I forgot my old boyfriend. Forgive me please! She blinked her eyelashes rapidly in a dramatic way and Nair gave a hearty laugh.
“I see, well I am disappointed and bit jealous then!” he played along with her drama.
She laughed and came near him and hugged him “I missed you old man! In fact you had been there in my mind . Honestly! Whenever I saw something impressing during my trip, I got reminded of your words. South India is incredible as you predicted. I fell in love with the place and I had a memorable time of my life there” Khushi said.
“Well, I am glad that you had a good time and very glad that it was with the place you fell in love and not a person!” he teased her. She gave him a friendly angry smirk. “Where is the brother of yours? He got stuck there with some brahmin girl or he haven’t come to meet me? He had promised me something” Nair enquired about NK.
“What?” Khushi raised her eyebrows. “That's between us, girls are not allowed”. Mr. Nair said.
“Accha! So I am out and he is in” Khushi gave a dramatic sigh and turned around in mock anger.
“Ha ha! Do you know in my mother tongue Malayalam Acha means Dad, felt good to hear that from you”.
Khushi smiled “I see, that's new to me! Well I will call you Acha then, what say?” she asked with a twinkle in her eyes. “I am very grateful” Nair said with emotion in his voice. They both smiled kindly at each other.
It was then NK entered in wheelchair with a nurse.
Nair was surprised “Where did you go and bang your head? Or did she do it?” Nair asked pointing to Khushi with a smile while Khushi’s mouth went a big “O”.
“Oh! Don't ask me uncle, well this time it wasn't her, I just feel into manhole while admiring a beautiful girl, but now this royal treatment feels good” NK answered with his usual NK smile.
“Why you need wheelchair? Your leg was fine this morning” Khushi asked him.
“Well, meri pyaari behana, the thing is..” he looked towards the nurse and smiled “thank you Monali, I think my sister will help me from now”. Nurse left, Nair gave a silent chuckle easily understanding NK. “Khushi, you don't have any brains, Naanav is right, you have no brains when it comes to important matters. Don't you have the common sense?” he looked towards the way the nurse exited and said with a sigh “cant you see why I needed a wheelchair? How can I let go of a chance to help Monali do her duty?”. NK said this and looked at Khushi, he could see she was getting angry.
“What did Naanav say?” she asked him. NK smiled inwardly and thought “so from all what he said she caught that line, well interesting”.
Before NK could reply Nair said to Khushi “Don't tell me you fought with your cousin again”.
“Ha ha! Exactly Nair uncle, she cant resist having a fight with my poor Naanav, you know, she actually threw a cake at him but unfortunately it hit our other cousin Akash, remember the one who is going to be engaged coming Sunday. Anyways it was fun, you should have been there, and you would have died of laughing”.
Khushi folded her and turned away from him. Nair pulled her to his side and said “This time what is the problem?”.
Khushi kept quiet while NK narrated the Coimbatore incidents and following happenings. All the time Nair was looking at Khushi and he smiled hearing the story.
Finally he asked “Can I meet this cousin of yours?”.
Khushi looked at him surprised while NK asked “You want to meet Arnav Singh Raizada?.
Nair raised his eyebrows and repeated the name thoughtfully “Arnav Singh Raizada, Yes” he answered after few moments.
“Oh sure, why not? You want to meet him now?” NK asked Nair.
Khushi stared at NK as if he had grown two heads. Nair was still looking at Khushi and he said “Yes, Now”.
“Ok fine” NK told and took his mobile and called Arnav while khushi looked on “Naanav mere bhai! Ek emergency hai, can you please come to hospital Now, its Khushi! He said in a rush and cut the call. He could see arnav calling back but he didn't pick up. He winked at Nair while Khushi stood with her jaw dropped.
“Close your mouth Khushi, I am not going to throw peanuts to your mouth now”, Nk told Khushi and turned to Nair “he will come now, Viren Jeeju is in operation theatre, hence he wont pick up the phone, within..” NK checked his watch “yes within 10 minutes he will be before you, your highness” NK gave Nair a dramatic bow while still sitting in his wheel chair.
Khushi was mad at NK “Yes, he will be here within 10 minutes and when he finds out that you were fooling him, he will blast you!” she said that and folded her hands in front of her.
“Letz see!” Nair said.
“Anyways I am not going to stay around and get the scolding, I am leaving” Khushi said.
“Ha ha, you are scared of him” NK laughed at her.
“I am not scared of him, you get that” Khushi gritted out while pointing her finger at NK.
“Now, easy easy!” Nair interfered in between them. “I know you are not scared of him, then why you want to run away?” he asked Khushi.
“I am not running away, I came to see you and to have his head checked. I saw you and in his case (pointing to NK) now I see it more damaged than ever” she said indignantly.
NK laughed and typed something in his mobile while Nair made her sit near “Its ok. Be cool, how come you didn't get me any gift today? You usually bring fruits or books or something for me. Today I see nothing”. Nair tried to divert Khushi’s attention.
Khushi slapped her head “Oops! I forgot, she checked her bag and bought out a small, beautiful Ganapathy idol. “This is for you!. Wherever I went in Coimbatore city, I used to see Ganapathy idols in small temples, hence I bought this for you. Dadi had told me that ganapathy is worshiped before any new ventures since he is the god who moves obstacles from one’s paths and leads to success, hence I am sure he will protect you and remove the blocks in your heart easily” she finished with a smile.
“Nair Uncle, so I guess you can go home now, you don't need doctors then!” NK commented while Khushi glared at him and Nair laughed.
Arnav nearly barged into the room fearing the worst. But the scene he saw was an old man in bed laughing, while NK sat on a wheel chair, Arnav looked again, why NK needed a wheelchair he wondered and a glaring Khushi, well good the glare was not directed at him but at her twin. He quickly checked her and saw she was unhurt and looked fine except her anger. Then he saw the trio realized his presence in the room and turned to look at him, while he stood there like a fool.
NK’s call had panicked him. Arnav had seen to that the attackers who were supposed to give him the hit had been behind the bars but NK’s call made him think of worst things. When NK didn't pick up the call, he had tried Viren but didn't get through, he had rushed through the traffic like a mad man and then he got a text from NK saying the room no and here he was.
He rushed to Khushi’s side and asked with concern filled eyes “you ok?”.
Khushi didn't look at his eyes nor replied but Nair smiled and replied “She is perfectly fine”.
Arnav looked at the old man, he had seen him somewhere but couldn't place him.
“Hello! I am G.K. Nair” Nair extended his hand and Arnav took it, the name rings a bell “G.K of Lakshmi group?” he asked with a raised eyebrows.
Nair smiled “You got me!”. Khushi and NK looked at Nair in surprise.
“Nice to meet you sir, I am Arnav Singh Raizada”. Arnav said with a smile, he had heard a lot of this self made man and was impressed with the Lakshmi group.
“Finally we get to meet, I have heard a lot about you in business circles, and I should say I am impressed with your business tactics, the way you get your deals make heads turns. I hope you know that you are famous for your smart moves. Anyways we have never crossed each other but then when I heard about you from these two, I was very much intrigued to meet you, Please don't mind his prank to get you here, I take the blame, you see a dying man’s wish!” Nair said with a smile and Arnav smiled understandingly but he looked at NK “This time, I will let you go, but next time don't you dare”.
NK gulped and turned to Nair “why you didn't tell us you are a business man, that too Lakshmi group! Its famous like Hilton, Marriott! And I didn't know that my friend was such a big personality”.
“You never asked about my job, remember you asked about my love life only” Nair replied with a chuckle and NK smiled.
Nair turned to Khushi and Arnav “So Arnav, I heard recently you nearly escaped from a cake fiasco” Nair teasingly asked while Khushi rolled her eyes and walked to the door “I am not coming to meet you again!” she said in fake anger.
“Ha ha! I know! but you cant resist me, See You tomorrow morning” he called out to her and said to NK “you better get going or she will come back with a bat and hit that head of yours”. NK understood Nair wanted to talk to Arnav alone, he started self rolling the wheelchair then stopped for a second, with a goofy smile to Arnav and Nair got up and walked out.
“Arnav, I hope I didn't disturb your business schedules by playing along with the NK’s prank” Nair apologized.
“No, not at all. It's a pleasure to meet you! I didn't know you were here, I mean I didn't hear any such news in business circles. May be I might have missed out” Arnav replied.
Nair smiled and replied “No one knows that I am here except my two personal managers, business will go on, its entrusted on efficient staffs. Well, I didn't call you to talk business, just wanted to meet you. I have heard lot about you in business as I told you earlier but then when I came to know you are the cousin whom Khushi always keep telling me about. I wanted to meet you. She and NK gave me a different picture of the gigantic ASR and I was interested in meeting him and today I saw him”. Nair smiled at Arnav who looked mildly confused but smiled and took a seat near the man and listened.
The engagement was next day and the Raizada Palace was getting ready. The arrangements, decorations were in full swing. It was evening, in the large drawing room there sat NK, Mami, Mamaji, Nani, Di, Akash, Viren. All were discussing and going through the final details about the various engagement details. NK was getting worried about his head gear (his bandage), he was complaining to Akash that it would spoil his stylish get up for tomorrow’s function. That everyone would be looking at him like a clown with a hat and he was asking Viren to allow him to remove it during the function but viren wont agree. It was then Khushi put a full stop to the discussion and asked everyone to relax, she put latest hindi number on the speakers and pulled nani to dance, to chill the mood of everyone. Soon Mami joined the dance with them and all were enjoying and dancing to the song. Even Akash was dancing while NK sat with Di enjoying since he was not allowed to shake his head too much.
No one had noticed a person standing at the big doorway enjoying the scene going inside.
Who is it? Any guess?
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Music Selection- Cocktail (2012) Tum hi ho bandhu