The next morning, Abhi was about to leave for home to change and shower when Muskaan, Rahul , Atul and Anjali burst into the room at 8 am sharp , impatient to see the baby. They were disappointed to see her sleeping as they wanted to hold her.
Bending over her crib, they were fascinated with the peacefully sleeping baby, who kept her parents awake for most part of the night, having found herself in strange surroundings other than the cushy warmth of her mother's womb, that she had gotten used to.
"Aww she is so chweeet."
"Yeah she is so adorable...."
"Nikki she has your hair.....
"But lips are definitely Abhimanyu's" They went on gushing praises of her.
"What name have you given her?" Anjali asks.
"She is going to be known as Aahana Modi!" Nikki tells them. "It will be official only after we have a small naming ceremony on the 12th day of her birth."
She then looks at Abhi and they both smile as they remember the day, they came to know they were having a girl, after the ultrasound in the evening. At night, they lay in bed, Abhi resting against the head board while one hand was over Nikki who was resting against his chest. They were discussing the baby and savouring the news of having a daughter soon.
"Did you go through the list of names, I forwarded you last week!" Nikki asks him.
"Hmmm," He nods his head. "Have you finalized on a name for our daughter?" Abhi asks her.
"I have two names in mind," Nikki tells him. "and you?"
"Hmmm, I like one name a lot, but, you go first!"
"No You!" Nikki tells him. They ended up arguing on who should spill first. Finally, Abhi hands her a pen and says, "Lets do one thing. You write the two names on your palm. After you are done, I'll tell you the name I like and you can show your palm.
After Nikki wrote the names on her palm, she pokes him to reveal the name.
"Aahana," He tells her.
Nikki bursts out laughing. "Why whats wrong with the name?" he asks crestfallen.
Nikki holds up palm for him to read. Abhi also laughs out aloud when he read it. On her palm was written, "Aahana and Ananya,"
"But you know what ? I received an email from Armaan today and I think we should keep the name he has suggested," Abhi looked a bit annoyed.
"When we both like one name, why do you want to keep something else?" he asks.
Nikki asks for his laptop which was lying on the side table. When he hands it over to her, she opens the email and shows it to him. The email had a few names of boys and girls. Below he wrote saying these were the names he and Riddhima liked, but their personal choices were Ayaan if it is a boy and Aahana for a girl.
"I am really looking forward to you having a girl Nikki," he had written further and Aahana Modi sounds just so nice for her."
Abhi grins. "Since there is an unanimous decision, we can't even fight over it," her tells her, taking the laptop from her and placing it on the side table. "Oh how I was looking forward to our fight over baby names!" He sighs his disappointment.
"Me too!" Nikki grins. "That is why I took the little opportunity to annoy you, telling you about Armaan's suggestion."
"You really like playing with fire eh?" Abhi pulls her to him.
"What to do? You look so hot and sexy when you are all worked up" she plays her finger on his cheek. "and then you yourself said I am the one who fights with you, so got to keep up the reputation," she teases.
"I always feel all hot and sexy when I am around you," he tells her, his eyes gleaming wickedly " and I love the making up part the best!" he grins. A blushing Nikki slaps him on the shoulder, yet she willingly allows him to capture her lips.
"Aahana Modi! that's a lovely name! What does it mean?" exclaims Anjali while the others echo their agreement and purr over the sleeping bundle.
"Morning Glory, the first rays of the sun" Abhi explains.
"Yeah and ironically she is born early dawn." Nikki quips in.
"Wow!" they gush in amazement.
"Also, unaware to both, the name has been selected by the two forever nit-picking-on-each-other men of our group," Nikki tells them darting a grin at Abhi.
"You mean Abhimanyu and Armaan?" Muskaan questions.
When Nikki nods her head, they all laugh while Abhi smiles.
"Armaan and Riddhima were so excited to know about the baby," Anjali tells them
"Yeah we spoke to them last night and they wanted to see the baby, so we sent a video clipping of hers." Abhi informs.
"My hands are itching to hold her!" Muskaan tells them excitedly.
"Me Too!" they all agree.
Abhi and Nikki laugh at their impatience
"Yaar, Nikki should we wake her up!" Atul asks her
"Let her sleep!" Anjali chides him
"You know what, I want to hold her in my arms. I'll get good practice holding her and then I'll be an expert on holding a baby by the time I have my own." He tells her with a blush.
"Dr. Atul, you dare use my baby as a demo, I'll fling you off the terrace of Sanjeevani and won't even give you a demo of it before hand," Abhi thunders at him.
Everyone burst out laughing and Abhi, who was trying to hide his smile, eventually joins them.
An emotional Rachna Modi was unable to speak as she cradled her grand-daughter in her arms. Some years ago she had held her son in her arms, when he was as little as this and now holding his baby in her hands, brought boundless joy into her. The tears were unstoppable as they flowed down her cheeks. Abhi puts an understanding arm around her and holding on to her little grand-daughter, she sobs into his chest. Abhi and Nikki also get emotional. Their eyes glisten with tears.
Nikki also puts an arm around Rachna's shoulder. A deeply moved Rachna whispers, "Thank you Beta," as she kisses Nikki's cheek with little Aahana gaping at them in confusion.
There was a jubiliation in the air of Sanjeevani for the three days Nikki and her baby were hospitalized. The fact that it was their adorable Bosses' baby brought vibrancy in the staff of Sanjeevani, especially the nurses. Also whoever knew the couple, whether staff or patient, were elated with the birth of their baby.
Nikki was also having an enjoyable time watching the visitors interact with her daughter especially the first timers.
Sid Modi enthusiastically managed to take his niece in his hands, placing one palm under her neck and the other under her tiny bottoms, as instructed by Nikki, but then he didn't know what he should be doing next, bringing peals of laughter from Nikki and Simran who were watching his confused face.
His face red and eyes alert bulbs of confusion, he looked down at his niece and found her staring darkly at him, just like her father. She also had her tongue, slightly pushed out, in between her tiny lips. He was afraid she might just blow like her father and if she blew then her father would definitely puff him down. Shuddering with the thought of being buried under the lava spewed by two deadly volcanic Modis, he looked at Simran for help.
Nikki tells him to place Aahana on Simran's arm with her neck on the crook of her elbow. A confused Sid went, atleast six to seven times, around Simran trying to find the right position to hand over the baby, sending Nikki into splits. She laughed so much that she was afraid her sutures would rip open. How she wished Abhi was there to see the sight ! He would definitely have had some funny taunt for his brother. Simran then got him to stand still and took the baby from him. Sid rolls his eyes in relief.
It was much easier befriending his niece as she was cuddled in his Simran's arm . Now that she was out of his nervous, trembling hands, there was flicker in her cheek which seemed like a smile. Perhaps she did it, out of relief!
Sometime later Nikki and Rachna, were surprised to see her mother walk in dressed in a saree as if she was attending a wedding. The only time Kavita would wear a saree was indeed to a wedding and that too she had to be coaxed into wearing one. Nikki stares at her mother who for some unknown reason today, traded her usual casual tops over trousers or skirts for a red georgette saree with gold work on it and a blouse that was held by thin sphagetti straps.
"What on earth happened to you Mom?" a dumbfounded Nikki questions her.
"I thought now since I am a grandmother, perhaps a saree will make me look like one."
"You don't have to change your appearance Mom," Nikki shakes her head in exasperation. "Just accept the fact that both of you are cut out to be sexy grandmothers just the way you are and the way you always dress," she tells them fondly. "In anycase the saree is only making you look more sexier." She winks at her and then exchanging a look with Rachna, they both laugh.
"Ah! It feels great to hear that!" a relieved Kavita tells her. "I now realize with the saree, I can handle only one thing at a time, either the saree or the baby and I am dying to hold my granddaughter in my hands,"
She looks down at the baby sleeping in her crib.
"Just you wait my princess, I'll be back soon, to take you in my arms!"
Telling Rachna and Nikki she would be back soon, she walks towards the door.
"Kavita, just for information, I agree with Nikki completely. You do look sexy in a saree!" Rachna tells her.
"Well it would be more appropriate if I was at a wedding not a hospital!" was her wry parting shot accompanied by a short loud laugh.
When it came to staying with her for the night, Nikki was firm that Abhi would go home and catch on the last two nights of undisturbed sleep that he could manage because once his daughter entered the house, he would have many a sleepless night. She knew how uncomfortable he was on the couch in the room, which was smaller for his frame. Though Abhi was touched by his wife's thoughtfulness, he wasn't too happy about it.
"In any case I keep waking up in the night if you are not around," he argued but Nikki told him, unlike her, where she could catch up with some rest when the baby was asleep, he couldn't rest during the day and she didn't want him to end up looking like a wreck. Abhi knew it was no point in battling it out with her especially when she was absolutely right.
So it was decided Kavita would stay the night with Nikki and the next day Rachna said she would do the same.
With a heavy heart Abhi kissed his wife and daughter goodnight and left with his mother.
An hour later as Nikki came out of the washroom, she was stunned to see Abhi in the room, standing almost near the doorway. Amusement on her face, she stares at him as he stood looking mischievously at her, his eyebrows dancing. With a knowing smile, she shakes her head and walks towards him. Reaching him, she runs her finger seductively all over his face. He kept shaking his head and his eyeballs kept moving from one corner to another as if he was gesturing something with his eyes.
"What is it Dr. Abhimanyu Modi? You miss me so much?" she teases looking lovingly into his face as he towered over her. His face was flushed with embarrassment and he continued shaking his head and gesturing with his eyes.
Grabbing him by the collar, Nikki forces his face down towards her. Abhi gulps nervously. "N�.Nikki," he strutters, awkwardly. "Or you missed this?" she presses her lips against his.
"NNN....Niii" came Abhi's muffled sounds trying to break the kiss. A soft giggle behind Abhi, alarms her and pulling back, she turns her head sideways.
To her horror, she found her father and Shyla peeping from behind the wall, on either side of the door. There was amusement on Ajay Malhotra's face while Shyla was finding it difficult to stop her giggling.
Nikki stood dumbfounded her eyes moving from her embarrassed, grinning husband to the couple behind him and a spectrum of colour erupts on her face. She was reeling from embarrassment, being caught seductively talking and kissing her husband by her own father, as well as, the elation of seeing her father after such a long time.
Finally, overcoming her embarrassment, she estatically runs towards
Ajay, squealing "Papa!" in delight. He claspes her warmly in his arms.
"I missed you Papa!" she chokes
"I missed you too." He tells her kissing her on her forehead.
With a smile Nikki then embraces Shyla warmly. Putting her hand in their arm and holding them on either side of her, she walks into the room, towards her bed, while Abhi followed them and walks over to the other side of her bed, leaning himself against the window.
"My little princess now has a little princess of her own!" Ajay Malhotra's eyes were moist as he looks searchingly into the crib and is surprised to find there was no baby in it.
"And where is my little Princess?" He asks.
"Mom just took her for a stroll to the nursery. She was a little cranky."
At that precise moment, Kavita walked in with little Aahana. As the erstwhile, once embittered couple, stare at each other, there was a long awkward silence in the room. Abhi and Nikki exchange nervous looks. It was Shyla who went upto Kavita and broke the awkwardness by greeting her pleasantly.
"Congratulations Kavita! How does it feel being a grandmother?" She drapes an arm around Kavita's shoulder that was holding Aahana and smiles when she sees the baby.
"I feel on cloud nine !" Kavita grins at her and putting her other arm around her, envelops her in a hug. "Congratulations to you too! Get used to the idea of being a grandmother now!" They burst into a laugh bringing smiles on the faces of the others. Once again, looking down, lovingly, at the baby, Shyla smiles
"You both have an adorable baby out here," She tells them looking from Nikki to Abhi.
They mumble their thanks.
Then looking at Ajay Malhotra, Kavita walks upto him. With tears in her eyes, her voice heavy she tells him.
"Congratulations Ajay! You are a grandfather now! Here is your grand-daughter. Your Princess has got her own little princess now."
A happy sob breaks from both of them. As Ajay quickly uses the sanitizer lying on the table, Abhi looks at Nikki and realizes she was getting very emotional seeing her parents together, under one roof after so many years. Her face was damp with tears. He himself was moved by it all. He moves closer to her and puts his left hand around her shoulder, while holding her left hand in his right. As she looks tearfully into his face, he pats her understandingly.
As Kavita places little Aahana in his arms, nostalgia fills Ajay as he reminisces the first time he held Nikki in his arms. Tears stream down his cheeks, he stares at the little life in his hands who blinks at him, as if wondering for the nth time, now who could this person be!
"This is just like the first time I held you," he chokes looking at Nikki. He stares at his grand-daughter, saying "Hey little Princess, do you know I am your grandfather." Seeing the little puckering of her nose, he smiles. Then looking gratefully at Abhi and Nikki he says, "Thank you both for bringing this nostalgic moment of holding our little princess once again." Smiling at him, they squeeze each other's hand. Then turning to his ex-wife, he asks "Right Kavita?" Choking with emotion, she shakes her head in confirmation.
"And you two!" Shyla looks at Abhi and Nikki "How do you feel being new parents!" They could see she was trying to lighten the high strung atmosphere in the room.
"Right now, we are just floating! The feeling has yet to sink in properly" Abhi grins darting a glance at Nikki who smiles and nods her head in agreement.
"Don't worry, very soon the waking up at odd hours in the night, the inopportune timings for changing diapers, will all sink in the feeling of being parents." Kavita tells them with a laugh. "Just you wait and see how she twists you both around her tiny finger!"
"Its just day two and she is already doing that!" Abhi tells them with a slight shudder, recalling his fiery daughter's red face whenever she wanted something.
"Uff! she brings the whole roof down when she wants her feed or cleaned up!" Nikki agrees with him.
"You used to do the same my dear!" Ajay tells her. He smiles at his grand-daughter who now seemed to like his familiarity and awarded him with a tiny smile.
To Nikki's annoyance, Abhi darts a teasing look at her. She elbows him in his stomach.
"See my daughter was not wrong, your father too, has also confirmed it," he tells her tongue in cheek.
"And Mama says you used to do the same!" she scowls at him.
"God Bless You both!" Shyla tells them winking at Ajay and Kavita, "Just imagine if your daughter has both your traits. That is one cute, double-powered Doll, you both have on hands! Happy Parenting!"
As the elderly people laugh heartily, Abhi and Nikki smile at each other and touch their foreheads in resignation.
PRECAP TO PART 44
"I am okay, but feeling a bit weak. I think I could do with a good power dose." She bites the end of lip and looks at Abhi, her eyes were sparkling with mischief.
Abhi's lips pucker in amusement. She could see the colour seeping into his face and she was enjoying his embarrassment.
"Power dose? What powerdose ?" Anjali asks.
"I don't know I just feel I need one! Can anyone think of anything?" While the girls look confused at each other, she looks challenging at her husband. They stare knowingly at each other, both, trying their best to hide their smiles.
"Well Hubby Dear, we have a full audience here. I would like to see how you manage to still do it. Better still, I am dying to know how are you going to make yourself invisible to them."
Abhi knew very well she had him cornered and was baiting him. "Ah ! Ah! Challenge wifey? You know very well, I love challenges"
"Abhimanyu what do you recommend?" Anjali breaks into their thoughts.
"I am working on it," he tells them his amused eyes fixed on his wife.
To Nikki's astonishment, he bends over her and brings his face closer to hers. Her eyes begin to widen with shock. She couldn't believe he was serious about it. She makes eyes at him but he wasn't paying any heed. He daringly kept bringing his face closer and closer. Through the corner of her eye, she could see the girls were staring at them in confusion and embarrassment. Her cheeks had turned dark red as she blushed profusely. She looks pleadingly at him but the determination in his eyes told her it was too late. She knew he was not going to turn back now. Her heart begins to beat rapidly.