The Contrivance – 9/2
Khushi sat and looked at the chandelier.
What was happening! Why did suddenly the controls of her life shifted from her to some stranger? Yes! That was what Arnav was for her. A stranger! What should she be doing? She wondered.
How did she even get into all the mess! She loathed men, and she was married to one! Oh God! She caught her head and heard the door open and saw Granny walking in.
She got up, and Granny walked to her and hugged her tightly saying, “I knew that you are the one!”
Khushi didn’t know how to respond, but she mechanically bent and touched the elderly woman’s feet.
Granny sat with her on the sofa and said, “You don’t know what you have given me Khushi! I shall be indebted to you for ever!”
Khushi squirmed and she felt as if she was cheating on the elderly woman and said, “Granny, I…please don’t say that!”
“No you don’t know about my grandson. He is pure gold from inside. But what you and the world don’t know is the fact that he struggled a lot to make it big. I found him and Anjali after they made it big in the industry.” She said.
“What are you saying?” Khushi asked her.
How come! She was his grand mother. Khushi mused.
“That’s why I said you and the rest of the world doesn’t know many things my dear” Granny said.
“How come you found them granny? You are their grand mother!” Khushi almost whispered in shock.
Devyani smiled and said, “Arnav’s mom, Mandira and his dad both ran away and got married. Theirs was a love marriage. Since both sets of parents were against their marriage, they eloped and got married.”
“Oh!” Khushi gasped.
“You see, we were very let down and angry at that time and we…er…didn’t search for them. We were worried for them mind you, but ego is something that sometimes is bigger than love my dear. I learnt the lesson of my life with the episode. That’s the reason for which I came to meet you instead of calling you over. I lost my child to my ego. I decided I would never let it come in between me and mine ever.” She wiped her tears with a hankie and went on…
“As Arnav and Anjali were born, we didn’t now where our kids were. We parents were in constant touch, but we never got to know despite hiring private investigators. At an awards function, I spotted Arnav who looked familiar to me, as he resembles his mother and in the speech he thanked his mother. That’s when I came to know he was my grandson.” She said smiling.
“Oh! You approached him then?” Khushi asked.
“No not really. By then both his paternal grand parents and my husband had passed away. I was not sure how to reach out to the kids who God knew how they survived. I sent him a business proposal…” Devyani paused.
“Oh you tried to wean him towards you” Khushi said feeling bad for the elderly woman.
“Yeah! You see I didn’t have the courage to stand before him then, and when he came, I asked him about his mother which incensed him. He left the meeting midway and I went to his house, and there I met Anjali who is much easier to speak to and that’s when I told her that I am their grandmother.” Devyani concluded.
“What was his reaction?” Khushi asked.
“He stormed out of the house, and didn’t come back for a week and finally when we reconciled,” she wept as Khushi hugged her, “he forgave me, and now I know he loves me a lot.” She smiled finally.
Khushi looked at Devyani who smiled and said, “Why do you think I shared all this with you? Coz you are family, and also to tell you that my grand son may be haughty, but he knows his responsibilities and having always craved for love, he knows the value of true affection. Please fill his life with love. When the kids met me, they told me their father passed away when they were very young, and that their mom fell sick yet worked to support them and succumbed to her illness when they were hardly teenagers. They had tasted life then, and still struggled to win over it. They faced a lot!”
“They did!” Khushi agreed. So that’s what made Arnav Singh Ranbeera invincible! She thought.
“I feel guilty till date. Had we not opposed the love of my daughter, they wouldn’t have gone through all this” Granny wept.
“No granny! We never know what’s in store for us. If it was destined to be, so none can be responsible for it.” Khushi soothed her.
“Do you really think so?” Devyani asked her hopefully.
“Yeah! I do. Coz I know!” She said with conviction.
Devyani’s experienced eye did not miss the glint in Khushi’s eye when she spoke.
Devyani smiled and said, “Look at this! You are family! Yet I don’t know anything about you!”
Khushi squirmed. Information about her was the last thing she wanted to discuss. But the elderly woman’s guileless question made her say, “I am the only daughter of my parents granny. Dad passed away when I was nineteen. My mom lives with my maternal uncle in my village, and she is…er… mentally challenged.”
“Oh! Then she should be treated.” Granny opined.
“Tried all means. The shock she had, made her go off and now she wont mend.” Khushi ‘s voice shook with grief.
“Oh my poor darling!” Granny hugged her saying, “Don’t worry! You know I am on your side, and anything that you want just gimme a shout, and I shall come and stand infront of you.”
Khushi smiled, and Granny smiled too and said, “Winning my grandson is quite a formidable task. But I have seen you taming him and that is welcome!”
“Oh no Granny! Its not what you think” Khushi tried to brief her, but she said, “I wont listen to anything you say, coz I have seen how you handle him. That’s just the way to treat him” squeezing her wrist in ecstasy.
Khushi rolled her eyes at the misunderstanding.
Treat him? Handle him? He was absolutely invincible, and the proof for that was she getting married to him. She! Who loathed men, and was dead scared of the species! Oh God!
She groaned aloud, and granny mistook her expression and said, “Don’t worry! I wont tell anyone but you keep up the good work!”
Khushi didn’t know how to react and as she stared at granny, who smiled and said, “Where is he by the way?”
“He went out granny” she supplied.
“What? Leaving such a beautiful bride at home? Let me blast him” she started punching numbers, and before Khushi could stall her, she rang Arnav and waited, as he said, “Hello…”
“My dear, where are you? Oh coming back! Are you? You better! Your bride is getting bored, and when are you hosting the reception?” She went on, much to Khushi’s embarrassment.
“Ok I am waiting here. Please come fast!” She hung up and made a face and said, “ Can anyone believe it that a newly wed groom can be so grumpy?”
Khushi smiled in the absence of any other reaction.
As they conversed, Arnav walked in, and granny was all excited about their reception and Arnav finally sent her off after half hour of deliberations and with a promise to get back to her about the reception.
Khushi dreaded the moment when they would be alone, as he turned and glared at her.
“What?” She asked him nervously.
“What’s your next move I wonder!” He said coldly.
“Next move?” Khushi was zapped. What was he saying!
“Yeah! First you made me marry you, and next you want my property. Now next what? You want to kill me so that you can enjoy my property as my widow?” He yelled at her.
“What are you saying?” Khushi stood up in anguish.
“What am I saying? Whatever you have planned till now. And I now know everything is put on as far as you are concerned, and here I was concerned for you for being a part of this whole sham of a marriage.” Arnav said.
“What? What are you saying? She asked him going pale.
“Oh! Now you are feigning ignorance?” Arnav demanded.
“I swear what you are telling me is something that I don’t have any idea of.” She told him.
“Oh! And the property? There! Your greed exposed you Khushi Sanjyothiya! You could have planned better” he hissed at her.
Khushi looked at him oddly and said, “What is this property thing?”
“Feigning ignorance are we?” Arnav asked her.
“No, please tell me about it” she said.
“Enough! Just accept your role in all this, and let me hand over you to the police. I promise you, I shall get you out while the rest are punished” he said earnestly.
“The rest? Role…in what?” She enquired.
Arnav caught her by her hair and pulled her to him saying, “Don’t test my patience woman” and Khushi started shivering saying, “Let go off me!”
“Never! You have made a mockery of me. Here I was thinking that it was someone from my past haunting me, and what do I find out? It’s a two-penny idiot of a reporter doing this with some perverted sense of humour, and trying to usurp my property! Who is behind all this? Tell me coz it cant be you! You can’t be so intelligent” he spat at her.
“No! What are you talking about? I don’t know of anything that you are accusing me of. And stay away” she kicked on his shin so hard that Arnav hauled in pain letting go off her hair.
Khushi stepped back and said, “First I don’t know what you are talking about and next, I don’t need your bloody property! I just don’t even want to look at you. You creep! And lastly, I just don’t care who you are! I just am done with men, and I would never put myself in a situation, which involves your species.”
Arnav stared at her and asked, “Then tell me whom are you working for? Anyway let me tell you that my property is on my sister’s name. It’s not so easy to get it. And there is a clause that if my wife inherits it and in the event of my death then it would ….he stopped midway and froze and asked Khushi, “ Did…you get any mail or info about…”
“About?” Khushi asked him.
“About killing someone?” He enquired.
“What? No!” Khushi looked at him incredulously.
“No?” He asked again.
“What are you saying Arnav? Why should I get any such letter? I am not a professional killer.” She said furiously.
“But just tell me did you get any message to do something weird?” Arnav enquired.
“None. Why do you ask?” Khushi asked Arnav.
“Nothing! Anything that’s very odd?” He enquired again.
“Yeah I had an odd email about a month back and that was about investigating a dead family!” She said frowning.
“ What did you do?” He asked her.
“I…er…marked it as spam and dumped it in the bin.” She said.
“Did they give you the details of the family?” He enquired.
“ Nope! They said only if I agree they would.” She supplied.
“Why didn’t you take it up?” He asked her.
“Are you crazy? I am not a private investigator and I thought it was someone playing a prank!” She said shaking her head.
“Will you be able to get that email in your recycle bin?” He asked.
“Nope I empty it every day” she said.
“Aargh! What a dimwit you are!” he exclaimed.
“Ahaa! Don’t you think you must be talking to the future owner of your property cordially? Don’t you think so?” She asked him mock sweetly, making Arnav get furious and roar saying, “Aargh!”
The landline rang, and Khushi picked it up as it was nearer to her, and after listening to it she looked at Arnav and said, “Someone wants to speak with you and they just congratulated me on being the owner of the Ranbeera property!”