IPKKND OS – Jalebis, Babies and Bonding

I always found the bond between Payal and Arnav to be lacking somewhat. Yes, Payal was more quiet and Arnav just kept more to himself, but still we should’ve seen a little at least. Anyways wrote this.  {1,450+ words}

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Arnav was overlooking a file and typing on his laptop simultaneously when he heard a beep on Khushi’s phone. He picked up the phone and saw it was a message from Payal. He opened it and it read:

Kya aap busy hoon? I wanted a favour.” (Are you busy? I wanted favour.)

He walked out of his room and made his way to Payal’s room. He knocked on the door. Payal replied, “Come In.”

Arnav entered and saw Payal sitting on the bed. Arnav said, “Payal” Payal looked up hearing his voice, “Arnavji aap?” (Arnavji, you) Payal sat up properly while Arnav came closer to the bed, “Yeah… woh Khushi left her phone at home and I saw your message. Do you want something? I could get it for you.”

Payal replied, “Nahin, its okay.” Arnav sat on the bed, “Payal come on, im your brother in law, tell me… I’ll get what you want.” Payal nodded and replied, “Jalebis…  I was feeling for those jalebis that Khushi makesso I thought Khushi.” Arnav spoke, “Ohh… I can make it for you, if you want.”

Payal widened her eyes and looked at her brother in law. Arnav Singh Raizada was going to make jalebis for his pregnant sister in law. Really? Payal shockingly asked, “Are you sure? I mean can you make them?”

Arnav smiled at his sister in law, “Sure I can, after all Khushi made it her duty to teach me it.” Payal smiled and he helped her up. Arnav stated, “Go sit while I start.”  Payal obediently nodded.  He tied the apron around him and got to work. After spending what felt like forever in the hot kitchen it was done. Arnav let out a sigh as he put the jalebis onto the plate, “Done!!”

Arnav walked out of the kitchen with the plate of piping hot jalebis. Payal stifled a laugh when she saw the state of her brother in law; he had flour smeared across his forehead, his apron was stained with jalebi mix and syrup in some parts. It was quite the sight, much different from his clean and neat suits.

Payal brushed aside the thoughts as Arnav brought the plate to the dining table. As soon as the aroma hit her; she smiled widely. As she took one, Arnav crossed his fingers hoping Khushi’s lessons paid off and it tasted good. Payal tasted it and then looked up at her brother in law, “I feel like eating the entire plate… its so yummy.” Arnav mentally said a yes. He handed her the plate and smiled,“Go ahead, its all yours!”

Before continuing to eat, Payal looked up, “Woh you have some flour on your forehead.” Arnav touched his forehead to see the flour, he took a napkin and wiped it off. Draping his apron across another chair, Arnav sat opposite his sister in law and watched as she ate the jalebis.

She looked down at the plate and gestured to Arnav, “Thanks” Arnav shook his head and replied, “Don’t… I’m just fulfilling my duty of a brother in law and an uncle”

Payal smiled hearing Arnav say ‘uncle.’ She knew even though Arnav spoke less and seemed more uptight, he definitely had that special spot for kids. He never openly got excited like Khushi, with her nonstop chatter about the coming baby, but the little gestures that Arnav did, went a far way… at least for Payal. He would always make sure to ask Akash about her health and of course about the little oneand today, he made jalebis for her and to top it off, he referred to himself as a‘uncle.’

Arnav fiddled with his phone and spoke, “Err… have you guys thought of a name for my niece?” Payal inwardly smiled, more like grinned, he wanted to find out more about the baby, she felt happy to see this side of Arnav, as it wasn’t seen often.

 She brushed her thoughts aside and answered, “We’re still deciding, have you thought of any names for your niece?” Arnav thought for a second, “Prerna… I like that name.” Payal said, “That’s nice, Prerna, meaninginspiration right.Arnav nodded, “Yeah inspiration… she’ll come into our lives like an inspiration.”

Payal smiled and spoke, “Hmm… I really like it. You know Khushi and I, when we were younger we always wanted to get married to brothers(she laughed) so we could live together and have our children grow together just like we did.”

Arnav said, “And that dream came true.”

Payal spoke, “Only because of you and Khushi, if it wasn’t for the two of you, Akash and I would have never been able to get married.” Arnav replied, “If you truly love someone, no matter the circumstances… if you were meant to be, you would be together…just like Khushi and I.”  Payal smiled and continued eating her jalebis.

Payal looked up at Arnav, “Every time I ask this question to Khushi, she always blushes and shies away.” Arnav narrowed his eyes, “What question?” Payal replied, “About you two having your own babies.”

Arnav smirked and looked down. Payal caught his smirk, “I take it, you’re thinking about having one.” Arnav nodded, “Yeah, but I’m not sure if we’re ready. I haven’t even spoken to Khushi yet.”  Payal chimed in, “I’m sure you will be excellent parents.”

Arnav smiled, “Thanks!!”

 

****

Khushi came inside holding tons of shopping bags. She curiously walked towards the dining table after hearing some voices. To her surprise she was greeted by her husband and her sister chatting away. Her eyes grew as big as saucers.

“Jiji aap aur Arnavji…? Tum dono” (You and Arnav? You too)

Arnav raised an eyebrow, “What’s wrong Khushi?”

“Can’t I talk to my jeethji? Or is that only reserved for you?” Payal said jokingly.

Khushi shook her head, “Nahin jiji, aisi koi baat nahin. (No, there’s nothing like that.) Of course you can talk to him!”

Akash, Anjali and Nani who now came inside, walked to the dining table where Khushi was standing.

Khushi’s eyes spotted the plate in front of Payal, “JIJI… Jalebis! Who made them?” She grabbed one and put it in her mouth. “These tastes like mine… haaww?” Payal said, “Arnavji made them using your recipe.”

The responses that followed were of shock;

“Arnavji?”

“Bhai?”

“Chotte?”

“Chotteee ka ye sach hai?” (Is this true?)

The latter was asked by Nani. Arnav replied, “Yeah, Payal wanted the ones Khushi made, she was with you all so I made them, well tried to at least.”

Anjali in a teasing tone said, “I’m proud of you Chotte… you’re talking care of your sister in law like that, imagine what will happen when its Khushiji’s turn!!”

Khushi’s face turned tomato red while Arnav just smirked at her.

 

****

A few months later, with beaming faces everyone entered the hospital room at City Hospital. Everyone gathered around the bed to see the little bundle of joythat was peacefully sleeping in the arms of her parents; Payal and Akash.

Everyone impatiently waited for their turn to hold the precious little angel in their hands. Payal looked on to see her angel had finally landed in the arms of her masi, Khushi.

Khushi looked at the now awoke baby in her arms; she was angelic. Arnav leaned his chin on Khushi’s shoulder, looking at the baby. He encircled his arms around Khushi, placing his hands below Khushi’s, which supported the baby. The baby gurgled seeing her masi and masa/taiji and tauji. Khushi looked up at him and smiled.

Arnav removed his hands from under Khushi’s. Arnav looked at the baby cooing and held his hands out. Khushi smiled and carefully placed the baby in Arnav’s arms, showing him how to support her head and the rest of her body. He raised his finger and the baby clutched it in her tiny fist.

Everyone aww’ed at the sight in front of them. Nani sat next to Payal and asked,“Betiya, kya naam socha hai? (What name have you thought of?)

Payal looked at Arnav holding the baby and replied, “Prerna.”

As soon as Payal said that, Arnav instantly looked up at her. They both shared a warm smile. Everyone immediately fell in love with the name. Arnav bent his head and said to the baby, “Hi Prerna… I’m your uncle.”

Khushi pressed Arnav’s shoulder, making Arnav look at her. She motioned to the baby and said, “Won’t you introduce me?” He chuckled, “Baby, this is your pagal (crazy) masi.” Hearing this everyone started laughing. Khushi playfully hit Arnav’s shoulder.

 

Arnav handed the baby back to Payal. Standing next to Khushi, Arnav started,“Since everyone is here, we thought now would be the perfect time.”

Khushi held Arnav’s hand and continued, Prerna is getting a little cousin in a few months.”

Everyone went ecstatic, hugs, kisses, congratulations, the family couldn’t have asked for more; Double happiness on the day that little Prerna arrived.

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