It's Not Right...but It's Okay(8)

By: Anuj Tiwari

Anushka rings the bell. Standing at the door, a little girl smiles looking at her and says hello.

‘Hi, how are you?’ Anushka waves at her and smirks.

‘I am good. Bye!’ The young girl paddles her cycle away while giving her a flying kiss.

‘Even kids are quite impressed by your jolly nature,’ Arjun says, raising his eyebrows.

‘That’s in my blood,’ she says with a certain amount of smugness.

As usual Arjun rearranges his clothes and sets his hair again.

‘This sweet behaviour of yours doesn’t work on me.’ Arjun flashes a smile.

‘You need to go to the doctor then,’ she sniggers.

Creaking and groaning at the hinges, the door opens.

Dimpy aunty greets them. Arjun greets her by touching her feet.

‘Where is Angy?’ Anushka asks, throwing her bag on the sofa.

Arjun notices things have changed in Anushka’s home since he was last there.

‘She left to pick you up at the airport. But once you said you will come on your own, she decided to stop over at a friend’s home. She should be home soon,’ Dimpy aunty says with a smile, having seen Arjun after a long while.

She considers him to be her own son and Arjun has always been close to her.

‘So you got a pug,’ Arjun says while playing with the dog.

‘These girls don’t listen to me, so I needed someone at home who will listen to me,’ she says.

Arjun laughs out loud.

‘That was a pathetic joke, Mamma,’ Anushka says while sitting on the sofa. ‘Angira has been so careless. She left my hair dryer on in the room.’

‘That’s why I need this,’ Dimpy aunty says, pointing at the pug.

‘Mom, how does this pug help you switch off the hair dryer?’ Anushka asks defiantly.

‘Of course, he barks whenever something wrong happens.’

‘Okay, Mom, we got it.’

Dimpy aunty winks at Arjun before asking, ‘So how was the journey?’

‘It was bound to be great because I came with her.’

‘Well, actually Arjun wanted to meet you, that’s why he has come with me,’ Anushka says, looking at him.

He feels a little weird for a moment but he has to smile in front of Aunty. He enquires about what’s going on in their household. Anushka says ‘sorry’ to him by holding her ears when her mom is not looking.

‘It’s great that you have come to meet us. By the way, any plans to apply some of that romance in real life or will it continue in books only?’ Dimpy aunty teases him before going into the kitchen.

‘I’m very hungry, just give me something to eat,’ he says.

‘You haven’t changed at all,’ Aunty runs her hand on his head.

Years have passed but Arjun has maintained his relationships in a way that they only become stronger with time.

Dimpy aunty is cheerful but also calm. She has a romantic husband who spends most of his time with her but these days he is travelling on some business. They have raised two girls together. While one is there with Arjun in the room, the other is yet to make an appearance.

‘Ya mamma, I am hungry too,’ Anushka demands some food.

‘Just give me ten minutes,’ Aunty replies from the kitchen.

‘Arjun, come, I will show you my room.’

They go to the other room.

‘It used to be the library when you had come last. We used to have such great discussions there,’ Arjun says

‘Yes, you were boring since college days,’ she chuckles and takes him to her room.

The room is dark when they enter. Anushka switches on the lights. It seems the room is shared by Angira and Anushka. Arjun finds Angira’s notebook on the table, a few cosmetics like lip-gloss, eyeliner, a bra in the corner of the bed and few of Anushka’s pictures, with Angira and Dimpy aunty, hanging on the wall just above the table. Anushka hides the clothes under the pillow before Arjun notices them. He lies down on the bed, staring at the ceiling.

‘I am sorry, Arjun, about lying that time that you wanted to meet Mom but I had no other option.’

‘That’s okay. I know you didn’t have any other option. What do we do now? Should I beg her to send Angira with me?’

‘You know Mom very well, she’ll listen to you. If you can assure her that you will be there for her and take Angira under your wings, then she will send her. Angira will be stuck here forever otherwise.’