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CHAPTER 1: BIRTHDAY BANGS
There was no one to be seen around. It was nearing midnight. Everything
eerily silent. The GUPTA HOUSE was plunged into darkness. It seemed
as if no
one lived there. Moonlight was falling on the stairs through
the living room window. The wall clock struck twelve.
BANG! A loud noise ripped the silence apart and a young girl woke up
start. She was wearing a pink nightdress and her beautiful long
hair was covering half her face as she had jumped so suddenly. Just
then, lights flooded the room
and four people entered with a chorus of
"Happy Birthday to You ...
Happy Birthday to You... Happy Birthday Dear RIDHIMAA.....
Happy Birthday to You...!"
Ridhimaa: (pleasantly surprised) Thanks! Aap sabne to mujhe darra hi diya tha....
A young man in his early twenties came near Ridhimaa and hugged her,
wishing her 'Happy Birthday'.
Ridhimaa: (suspiciously) Adi Bhaiyya' ye sab aapka hi idea than na'
mujhe darrane ka?
Aditya: (trying to look innocent) Aww' tum darr gayi thi? Main abhi Anjy ko
Anjali: (snapping) Adi! Don't you dare lay the blame on me! Ye hum sab
aante hain aur Ridzi bhi ki aise ideas kiske faaltu mind me aate
hain' hai na
Ridhimaa: (agreeing whole-heartedly) Absolutely right, Di!
The couple who had been standing back till now, enjoying this conversation,
now moved forwards and embraced Ridhimaa one by one.
Shashank: Happy Birthday beta! God bless you!
Ridhimaa: (beaming) Thanks Papa!
Padma: Happy Birthday Ridhimaa! Bhagwaan kare tumhare saare armaan
Ridhimaa: Thanks Mom!
Shashank: To aaj main apni beti ko kya gift doon? Haan?
Ridhimaa: Mujhe aap logon ke pyar ke alaawa aur kuch nahi chahiye Papa.
Shashank, Padma and Aditya beamed while Anjali scowled.
Anjali: No! Not again! Achha Ridzi' tum Mom aur Dad ka pyar leti raho'
I'm going off to sleep. Good night.
Ridhimaa: (in a small voice) Good night Di.
Anjali marched off to her bedroom, downstairs. Aditya sensed the gloomy expression on Ridhimaa's face.
Aditya: Waise Ridzi' maine soch liya hai ki tumhare liye kaun sa gift best
Ridhimaa: (curiously) Kaun sa?
Aditya: Kal tumhara college ka pehla din hai na?
Ridhimaa: Haan, to?
Aditya: To kal to yahaan aasuon ki ganga-jamuna bahegi. Isiliye' ek tissue
box se better gift aur kya ho sakta hai?
Ridhimaa, angrily, aimed a punch at Aditya's face, who put up a pillow in
time to protect himself.
Aditya: Itna gussa! Ab to mujhe tumko boxing gloves gift karne padenge'
lekin ussey pehle, I need to buy a helmet!
Ridhimaa smiled, inspite of herself. Aditya patted her head, blessing her.
Aditya: Chalo' tum hansi to sahi! Aise hi khush raha karo.
Ridhima: I love you Adi bhaiyya!
Aditya: I love you too, my princess!
Shashank: Hum bhi hain line me'
Ridhimaa: Oh' sorry' I love all of you!
They all smiled and then moved on to their respective rooms. Ridhimaa
off the lights and switched on the night lamp. She lay back on her
God for giving her such a nice, loving and caring family.
In minutes, she was
dead to the world.
Meanwhile, in their bedroom, Shashank and Padma were still awake.
Padma: Aaj to Adi ne sambhaal liya'
Shashank: Haan' Ridhimaa ka chehra dekha tha? Kitni udaas ho gayi thi
wo? Mujhe samajh me nahi aata Anjali is tarah ki baatein karti kyun hai?
Shashank held his head. Padma placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.
Padma: Shaayad hum log over-react kar rahe hain. Anjali ka to nature hi
hai' lekin ye to hum bhi jaante hain ki wo Ridhimaa se bahut pyar
Shashank: Ridhimaa hai hi aisi' itni pyari!
Padma: (smiling, putting off the lights) Aapki beti jo hai!
Next morning, at seven o' clock, the Gupta House was in total chaos.
Shashank: Padma' bachchiyaan uth gayi?
Padma: (from the kitchen) Ridhimaa to as usual cheh baje hi uth gayi thi'
Shashank: Oh no! Jaldi uthao usey. Pehle din hi dono late ho jaayengi.
Aditya: Don't worry Dad! Main abhi jaakar uthaata hoon usey.
Aditya ran to Anjali's room. There came a sound of water splash and then a
high pitched shriek.
Anjali: (shrieking her head off) Adi! I won't leave you! You pig---
Aditya: (closing the door at Anjali's face) Mind your tongue! Aur jaldi karo'
it's already 7:15.
Aditya was coming towards the kitchen, very pleased with himself, when
he saw Ridhimaa coming out from the pooja-ghar, holding the plate of
'aarti' in her hand. She was wearing a red coloured frock-suit. She had
covered her head with her 'dupatta' and her face was aglow with the
light emanating from the 'diya'.
Aditya: (to himself) My princess!
Ridhimaa heard him and made her way steadily towards Aditya, who took the
'aarti' and then kissed Ridhimaa's forehead.
Aditya: Happy Birthday!
Ridhimaa smiled. Till then, Shashank, Padma and Anjali too came there,
latter wearing jeans and tank-top. All had their breakfast. When
Anjali and Aditya started leaving for the college, Shashank
seemed very nervous.
Shashank: Best of luck!
Anjali: For what Dad?
Ridhimaa: Thanks Papa.
Aditya: Can we move on now?
Anjali: Yeah' come Ridzi!
Ridhimaa: (hugging Padma) Bye mom.
Ridhimaa: (hugging Shashank) Bye Papa.
Shashank: (not leaving Ridhimaa) Beta' agar college me mann na kare to
waapas aa jaana' aur haan' koi bhi problem ho to mujhe phone kar dena'
main aa jaunga'. aur'
Shashank was giving advices and Ridhimaa kept on nodding like an obedient child.
Anjali: Oh, come on now, Dad! Ridzi bachchi nahi hai.
She went out gruffly and sat in Aditya's car. Aditya smiled and went out himself.
Shashank: Bye' ab jao warna late ho jaogi' take care' I'll miss you!
Ridhimaa: I'll miss you too Papa!
She too went out, opened the front door of the car and sat down. Aditya
the car. Shashank and Padma kept waving until the car zoomed
out of sight.
Reaching the BLOOMS DELIGHT MEDICAL COLLEGE, Aditya pulled the car
sop. Ridhimaa stepped down from the car and glanced at the large, tall
building towering over her. Anjali was busy in checking her reflection
in the side
view mirror. She, when satisfied with her own, stepped down
Anjali: Nervous Ridzi?
Ridhimaa: (smiling) Not at all, Di. Chalein?
Anjali: OK' bye Adi.
Ridhimaa: Bye Adi bhaiyya.
Aditya: (to both) Bye' good luck!
The two sisters started walking towards the main gate. There was a huge
of rush as for many freshers, it was the first day at the
Anjali: (stopping all of a sudden) Oh! Ridzi' tum jao' main apna purse car me
hi chod aayi' I'll meet you in the class' OK?
Ridhimaa: (not showing her nervousness) OK.
She started walking ahead, all by herself when a big, round thing
struck her head near her left ear. Ridhimaa swayed on the spot due to
the force of the hit. Holding her head, she looked around to find the
cause. Her culprit was a basketball, which was now lying innocently at
her feet. Then she heard a naughty, playful voice from behind her back.
Voice: Bull's eye!!!!
Ridhimaa, infuriated, turned around to find a group of boys thumping
patting each other. A handsome looking boy, with short, smooth,
wavy hair which covered half his forehead jauntily, wearing a T-shirt
and a pair of jeans, both
black, was bowing to his fellow friends.
Voice: (smugly) Piece of cake' dude' for the one and only' ARMAAN!!
Ridhimaa could not believe her ears. Instead of apologizing to her, that boy was busy in praising himself.
Armaan: (seeing Ridhimaa with the ball) Madam' ball please!
Ridhimaa had tears of fury in her eyes. She, ignoring the pain in her
up the ball and while constantly glaring at Armaan, threw
the ball over which
covered the distance and landed straight through
the basket. The onlookers
were amazed. Ridhimaa, without throwing
another glance at them all, strode
inside the college, fuming with rage.
Armaan: (to himself) Cool shot!
Armaan and Ridhimaa, both were now thinking the same thing.
Ridhimaa, Armaan: (wondering) Kaun hai wo?
As soon as Ridhimaa tried to enter the classroom lecture hall, she
bumped into someone hard. Ridhimaa looked up, blinking back her tears
to find a girl, clad in jeans and long kurta, wearing a scarf around
her neck, staring at her.
Girl: Dekh ke nahi chal sakti kya?
Ridhimaa: (a little taken aback) I'm extremely sorry. Aapko lagi to nahi?
The girl, on seeing Ridhimaa's kind nature, calmed down.
Girl: Koi nahi' waise bhi galti meri hai' main hi us Rahul ke bachche
ke peechhe' chalo chodo' Helloji' mera naam Muskaan Chaddha!
Ridhimaa: (smiling and shaking hands with Muskaan) Ridhimaa Gupta.
Muskaan: First year?
Muskaan: Main bhi. Abhi lecture ke liye time hai' chal baahar chalke college dekhte hain.
Ridhimaa agreed. They both started wandering around the college. Muskaan was talking non-stop.
Muskaan: Aur mere mummyji-papaji na'
Then she noticed that there was something wrong with Ridhimaa, who was
clutching the wall for support.
Muskaan: Ridhimaa' tujhe kya hua? Tu theek to hai?
Ridhimaa: Haan' Muskaan class me chalein?
They both headed back to the lecture hall.
Meanwhile, Anjali had came to the lecture hall and sat down on a chair.
Armaan too came there, with a group of boys, laughing at some silly
Armaan: (to Anjali) Hey gorgeous!
Anjali: (brightly) Hey!
The boys took their place. Armaan sat down on the chair in front of Anjali.
The chairs were arranged in pairs.
Anjali: (to Armaan) So' what's your name?
Armaan: (turning his head to face her) Mine? I'm Armaan Mallik and you are'?
Anjali: Anjali Gupta' daughter of Dr.Shashank Gupta, Head of'
Armaan: (completing for her) Sanjeevani. Right?
Anjali: (proudly) Yeah!
Anjali was a little surprised that Armaan was not interested in knowing
about her. Just then, a girl wearing short, revealing dress came
up to her.
Girl: May I?
Anjali: Well' if you wish.
The girl sat down next to her. The two girls who had accompanied her to
Anjali's seat, took the two chairs right behind. The room was now
almost full. Anjali
could not find Ridhimaa anywhere.
Anjali: (muttering to herself) Where are you Ridzi?
As if for an answer, Ridhimaa appeared at the door along with Muskaan. She saw Anjali and made her way straight towards her.
Anjali: Ridzi' thank God tum aa gayi. Where were you?
Ridhimaa: (requesting the girl sitting next to Anjali) Excuse me' aap
please doosri seat par jaakar baithengi' mujhe actually Di se'
Girl: (flaring up) How dare you! Riya Priya' tell her what she ought to know!
The girls sitting behind started speaking.
Riya: Tumne Nikita Malhotra ko order karne ki himmat kaise ki?
Ridhimaa: It was a request!
Priya: Tum jaanti ho ye kaun hai? Do you know Nikki kiski beti hai?
Ridhimaa: (coolly) No' na hi mujhe jaanna hai.
Nikita: You dare! Main is college ke Principal ki beti hoon' Nikita Malhotra' you idiot!
Anjali did not know what to do. She preferred to keep quiet.
Ridhimaa: Oh! I didn't know!
Nikita: Ab aayi na line par'
Ridhimaa: Main to line se baahar gayi hi nahi thi mam. Mujhe nahi pata
ki Principal ki beti hone se poore college aur uski har seat,
yahaan tak ki har
insaan par aapka haq ho jaata hai' aur aap aisi
language use kar sakti hain. Thanks jo aapne bata diya' mam! I'm sure
main apne liye wo seat dhoondh
lungi jisme mujhe Principal ki beti ka
ehsaan na lena pade.
Nikita was about to retort back angrily when a Professor entered the room.
All went silent. She was the Principal!
Tanisha: (in a stern voice) Settle down everybody.
A boy called Muskaan towards himself.
Muskaan: Oye Rahul' kya hai?
Rahul: Aa ja' baith'
Muskaan sat beside him grudgingly. Ridhimaa looked around. There was no
seat empty except the one beside Armaan. Though she had not seen who
was sitting there, still she didn't want to take that seat which was
just in front of Nikita.
Tanisha: (glaring at Ridhimaa) I said' settle down.
Ridhimaa went and sat beside Armaan, who didn't notice her as he was busy in humming to himself, with his eyes closed.
Tanisha: OK' now first let me introduce myself. I'm Tanisha Malhotra, the
Principal of this college.
Ridhimaa: (to herself) Introduction dene ki kya zaroorat hai? Beti hai na'
Tanisha: (concluding) 'and I hope ki aapka batch bhi humare college ke
achhe results laayega. Good luck! Now please excuse me' aapke
ka time ho gaya hai.
She went away and was replaced by Dr.Amol Ghai.
Amol: (smiling) Hello all! First day' nervous? Well I surely am!
The students smiled. Ridhimaa's head was paining a lot.
Amol: Good! To hum kahaan se shuru karein? Chaliye' shuruaat se shuru
karte hain. Introductions first! I'm Dr.Amol Ghai, Professor of
Physics. Ye mera
good luck hai ki main aap sabko padhaunga aur aap
sabka bad luck hai ki
aapko padhna padega.
There was again a jitter of laughter. Amol took the chair and seated himself comfortably.
Amol: (resting his hands on the table) To chaliye' sab apna-apna introduction dijiye' let's start.
All started introducing themselves. Ridhimaa bowed down her head which
was feeling heavy. Neither she, nor Armaan had looked at each other
till now. Nikita had started with her introduction.
Ridhimaa: (muttering) Huh! Samajhti kya hai apne aapko? Principal ki beti hai
to hum sabko khareed liya hai kya'?
Armaan: Dekhiye' ye sab mujhse kehne ka koi faayda nahi hai. Aap
unhi se baat kyun nahi kar leti? Because I surely am not
Ridhimaa: Main aapse baat' tum?
Armaan: (at the same time) Tum?
Ridhimaa stood up, not believing that she could have been sitting with Armaan.
Amol: Oh ho! Madam' abhi to aapke partner ka turn hai'
Armaan: Koi baat nahi Professor' wo kehte hain na' ladies first'
or better' baskets first!
The girls let out a giggle.
Ridhimaa: (to Armaan) Shut up and mind you own business.
Amol: OK' OK' aapka introduction?
Ridhimaa: (quite confidently) Ridhimaa Gupta.
Amol: (gasping) Ridhimaa Gupta! You are Ridhimaa Gupta?
Ridhimaa: Yes' yes sir'
Amol: Aapne hi Pre-Medical Exams me pure India me top kiya tha na?
Ridhimaa: (a little embarrassed) Wo' yes sir.
Amol: Good! Sit down' next.
Armaan: (standing up) Dr.Armaan Mallik.
All stared at Armaan. Ridhimaa too was shocked.
All: (together) Dr.Armaan Mallik?
Armaan: Yes' any problem?
Amol: Beta' abhi tumhare first year hai' doctor to tum'
Armaan: I know sir. Lekin aapne mujhe khud ko introduce karne ko kaha
and I think ki college ke baad yahi mera introduction hoga' to
kyun na abhi
se aadat bana li jaaye? Anyways, Dr.Armaan Mallik sounds
Amol: (smiling) Yeah' it does' next!
The introductions went on. Inspired by Armaan, all were now adding 'doctor'
to their names. The bell rung.
Amol: That's all for today. Kal se lessons shuru' OK? Abhi pandrah minute
ka break. Fir aap sab Pathology Lab me aa jaiyega.
Amol went away. Ridhimaa stood up in a huff. Anjali, Muskaan and Rahul leapt towards her.
Muskaan: Oye Ridhimaa, tune bataaya nahi ki tune top'
Anjali: (intervening) Ridzi' are you OK?
Rahul: (in a very couteous manner) Arrey' aapko to chot lagi hai'
Muskaan: (looking here and there) Kahaan?
Rahul: (holding Muskaan's head) Gadhi' neeche nahi' upar' wo dekh.
Ridhimaa's ear was bleeding.
Anjali: Ridzi' ye sab' kaise?
Ridhimaa: Wo Di'
Just then a boy came towards them.
Boy: Hye Armaan!
Armaan: Hey Champ! Ab darr to nahi lag raha?
Boy: Nahi' tune subah subah mera morale boost up jo kar diya tha! Aur Ridhimaa' I'm Atul Joshi'
Anjali: Ridz' tumhe doctor ke pass jaana chahiye'
Ridhimaa: Di bas zara si'
Atul: (earnestly) Ridz tumhe precaution lena chahiye' aur maine suna hai ki
yahin kahin college CLINIC hai' shaayad wo'
Armaan: Next to the Cafetria. Baahar se right.
Ridhimaa: Tumse kisine poochha?
Armaan: I was just trying to help. Par lagta hai ki Dr.Basket me attitude itna
zyada hai ki'
He left the sentence incomplete.
Armaan: Champ' chal' main tujhe yahaan ka Greenhouse dikhaata hoon'
Atul: Armaan' you're the best! Chal' Ridz' tum apna bandage karwa lena' OK?
Armaan: Rehne de Champ' inki madad karne ki koi zaroorat nahi hai'
ye sab kuch pehle se hi jaanti hain.
Armaan dragged Atul away from there. They all stared after Armaan, speechless. Ridhimaa's face was flushed with anger.
Ridhimaa knocked at the CLINIC door. A mellow voice answered.
Voice: Come in.
Ridhimaa entered. It was a large clinic, provided with every facilities of first aid.
The doctor was busy in his laptop.
Ridhimaa: Good morning Sir.
The doctor, surprised by this way of addressal, looked up and smiled.
Doctor: First year?
Ridhimaa nodded. The doctor gestured her to sit down.
Doctor: I'm Dr.Salmaan Mallik.
Ridhimaa smiled vaguely.
Doctor: Now tell me' kya hua aapko' wo bhi college ke pehle hi din?
Kahin class chodkar bhaag to nahi aayi?
Ridhimaa: No Sir, wo actually aaj subah college aate waqt kisine mere
zor se basketball maar di' tab se sir me bahut pain ho raha
hai' aur bleeding
bhi ho rahi hai'
Salmaan: Oh, I see! Main dressing kar deta hoon and please' mujhe Sir
mat kahiye' call me doctor' or doc' or uncle, whatever you wish' OK?
Ridhimaa: To fir aap bhi mujhe 'aap' nahi 'tum' kahiye' OK?
Salmaan smiled. He did Ridhimaa's dressing and bandaged her forehead and
ear, and then gave her a painkiller.
Salmaan: Agar dard zyada ho to ye painkiller le lena.
Ridhimaa: I' I'm sure iski zaroorat nahi padegi.
Salmaan: Waise kisne tumhe basketball maari?
Ridhimaa: (venting her anger) Bahut hero samajhta hai apne aapko. Abhi tak
sorry bhi nahi bola' huh!
Salmaan: Well' agar tumhe problem hai to complaint kar do'
Ridhimaa: Nahi uncle' agar usme tameez nahi hai to main kyun uski tarah
banun? Waise bhi aaj uska bhi first day hai college ka' sabko impress
ki koshish kar raha hai' apne naam me 'doctor' use karke. To
dijiye use koshish' kuch din baad usey bhi pata chal jaayega ki
me 'doctor' lagaane ke liye style se zyada studies matter
karti hain. Achha'
main chalti hoon' thanks.
Salmaan: You are always welcome beta. Aur haan aaj ghar jaaney se pehle
mujhse milti jaana' I wanna see your wound' OK? Take care!
Ridhimaa: OK uncle' bye!
She left for the Pathology Lab. Reaching there, Ridhimaa found that she
was five minutes late. A Professor was already standing, addressing the
Ridhimaa: (hesitatingly) May I come in Sir?
Dr.Shubhankar looked towards the nervous latecomer. Then his eyes
darted towards the bandage on her head. Armaan too had his gaze fixed
at the bandage and started feeling a little guilty, knowing it was his
Shubhankar: Yes' come in!
Ridhimaa entered the Lab.
Ridhimaa: I'm sorry sir' I'm late. Clinic me bell sunayi nahi di. I'm very sorry.
Shubhankar: It's perfectly fine, Miss'?
Ridhimaa: Ridhimaa Gupta.
Shubhankar: (beaming at her) Miss Ridhimaa Gupta' waise' are you alright? Aapko chot kaise lagi?
Ridhimaa: Wo sir' nothing' bas kisine' I'm fine sir.
Armaan's guilt increased.
Shubhankar: Are you sure? Waise aap chaahein to rest kar sakti hai'
Warna Dr.Shashank mujhe na sirf is college se, balki Sanjeevani se bhi
suspend kar denge.
Ridhimaa: Aisa kuch nahi hoga sir. Waise bhi kisi aur ki galti ki saza aapko
Shubhankar: (smiling) OK' go, take your seat.
Ridhimaa went and sat on the only unoccupied seat, again beside Armaan,
without another word.
Armaan: (haltingly) Ummm' wo' Dr.Basket' I'm'
Ridhimaa: Don't you dare talk to me!
Armaan: Dr.Basket' I'm really'
Ridhimaa: My name is Ridhimaa Gupta understood? And abhi tak main
nahi bani' so please' leave me alone aur mujhse baat karne ki
Armaan was appalled at Ridhimaa's anger.
He dropped the idea of apologizing to her.
Shubhankar: Yes' so what was I saying? Haan' aaj main aap sabko groups
me divide karunga. Aur fir dono partners ko saath milkar is month ke
par kaam kara hoga. Now I see, aap sab pehle se hi do-do ke
pairs me baithe
hue hain. I'm sure ab tak ek doosre se dosti bhi kar li
hofi' isiliye aap sab jiske saath baithe hain, wo aapka partner' now
Ridhimaa, Armaan: (together) What? No!
They both looked at each other, shocked. Muskaan and Rahul were made
partners while Anjali, who had chosen to sit away from Nikita in the
paired with Atul. Armaan stood up.
Armaan: Excuse me, Sir.
Armaan: Sir' hum log apne partners change kar sakte hain?
Shubhankar: Of course!
Ridhimaa: (happily) Really?
Shubhankar: Really' lekin next month.
Armaan: But sir, agar main akele is project par kaam karun to?
Nikita: (loudly to her partner) Dekha Ab? Maine kaha tha na' is ladki
bhi partner banna nahi chaahega' afterall, she's so' so' behenji
Abhimanyu Modi laughed out loud.
Abhimanyu: Bechaara Armaan' waise Nikki' he deserves this.
Ridhimaa's eyes welled up with tears at this insult. Armaan was too
angry to speak. He sat down, without realizing that Ridhimaa was in
tears. Just then a voice rang out in the Lab. It was Aditya, looking
Aditya: (hastily) May I come in Sir?
Shubhankar looked a little surprised to see Aditya. Anjali too was gaping at him, while Ridhimaa was busy in crying.
Shubhankar: Aditya' ye' ye first-year ka batch hai'
Aditya: (not deterring) Yes sir, I know sir, but please may I come in?
Shubhankar: Come in.
Aditya: (going straight to Shubhankar) Sir, may I?
Shubhankar, at first could not understand what Aditya was saying. Then
the worry and anxiousness in Aditya's eyes, he understood and
Aditya scanned around the Lab and found Anjali, who waved at
him. Then, at last,
he found Ridhimaa with her head bowed. Aditya
rushed towards her. He caressed Ridhimaa's hair slightly with his hand.
Ridhimaa looked up at this healing touch,
with tearful eyes to find
Aditya standing next to her. Without saying anything,
Aditya why he was here, Ridhimaa just stood up and flung herself
Aditya's arms, crying. Aditya, a little taken aback by her tears,
her back tightly, trying to comfort her.
Aditya: Kya hua Ridzi? What'
Ridhimaa was sobbing on Aditya's shoulder. Armaan didn't know what was
happening. He was just gazing at Ridhimaa and Aditya like everyone
in the Lab.
Aditya: Ghar chalo Ridzi' come'
Shubhankar, by that time had come towards the pair. He looked at Aditya enquiringly.
Ridhimaa: Nahi' aap jaiye' main theek hoon'
Aditya: Tum theek ho to fir ye chot? Main abhi Dr.Salmaan se mila tha'
Ridhimaa separated herself from Aditya and wiped her tears.
Aditya: Batao' kisne tumhe ye chot pahunchaayi' tell me'
Ridhimaa kept mum. Armaan stood up.
Armaan: Excuse me' wo actually main'
Aditya, Ridhimaa and Shubhankar, all three looked at him. Ridhimaa tried to
glare at Armaan and tell him to keep his mouth shut.
Aditya: (angrily) Tumne' tumne use ye chot pahunchaayi?
Ridhimaa: (to Aditya) I'm fine' really' please' isne kuch nahi kiya'
Shubhankar: Aditya' I'm sure Ridhimaa ab theek hai' tum jao'
Aditya went away reluctantly. Shubhankar took hold and started telling
students about the project. Armaan and Ridhimaa sat down. Armaan
throwing uneasy glances towards Ridhimaa, who was busy in making
notes of whatever Shubhankar was saying.
After the class, in the CAFETERIA. Ridhimaa was sitting with Muskaan
and Anjali. Armaan entered, saw Ridhimaa and approached her table.
Armaan : Excuse me'
Muskaan: Oye' tu wahi hai na' Ridzi ka partner? Dr.Armaan Mallik?
Armaan: (candidly, to Ridhimaa) I'm sorry.
Ridhimaa: (surprised) What?
Armaan: Aapko sunaayi nahi deta kya? I said I'm sorry.
Ridhimaa: Oh really, for what?
Armaan: (somberly) Aapke sir par bakset ball maarne ke liye' jiski wajah se'
Anjali: It was you?
Then, after saying this, he kept standing there, staring at Ridhimaa.
Muskaan: Kya hua? Aur kuch bolna hai kya?
Armaan: Nahi' mujhe jo bolna tha, bol diya.
Ridhimaa: To ab sir par kyun khade ho?
Armaan: Kyunki Miss Basket' abhi tak aapne reply nahi diya.
Anjali: Kis cheez ka reply? Oh' sorry ka? Come on Ridzi!
Ridhimaa: Maine abhi isey maaf nahi kiya hai Di aur jab tak meri chot theek
nahi ho jaati, tab tak karungi bhi nahi.
Armaan: OK fine! To mat kariye' waise bhi aapse yahi expect kar raha tha
main' Miss Basket Attitude!
Armaan left the place in a huff.
Anjali: Ridzi' kya zaroorat thi ussey aise bolne ki?
Ridhimaa: Di' aapne suna nahi wo mujhe kya bo ke gaya? Anyways'
excuse me' mujhe jaana hai'
In the CLINIC.
Salmaan: Ab kaisa feel kar rahi ho?
Ridhimaa: Much better uncle.
Salmaan: Tum Dr.Shashank Gupta ki beti ho?
Ridhimaa: Ji' aap unhe jaante hain?
Salmaan: Actually hum log college tak saath me padhe the' we were
friends' lekin uske baad milna nahi ho paaya' lekin Aditya aur uske
baad ab tumhe dekhkar lag raha hai' bahut time ho gaya shaayad'
Ridhimaa: To aaj shaam ki party me aap humare ghar aaiye apni family ke
saath' bas chhoti si party hai'
Ridhimaa: Ji' meri birthday party' aap aayenge na?
Salmaan: Aaj tumhare'
But before he could complete, the CLINIC door burst open and Armaan barged inside without knocking.
Armaan: (in a heated voice) Aapko pata hai aaj'
He stopped mid-sentence, seeing Ridhimaa.
Armaan: What are you doing here? Go away!
Salmaan: Armaan' she's my patient. Aur agar tum mere patients se theek
baat nahi kar sakte to chale jao ya fir chup-chaap baithe raho'
Ridhimaa: Better hoga ki chale hi jao'
Armaan: Shut up! Tumhe pata nahi' ye mere'
Salmaan: Armaan' tum baitho'
Armaan sat down on the chair away from Ridhimaa.
Ridhimaa: Aap poochh rahe the na uncle ki mujhe chot kaise lagi?
It's all because of him.
Salmaan looked at Armaan, shocked.
Armaan: It was a mistake!
Ridhimaa: Huh! Uncle main ja rahi hoon. Aap please meri baat dhyan me rakhiyega' OK? Bye.
Ridhimaa stood up.
Salmaan: Ek minute beta'
Armaan: (to himself, wondering) Beta?
Salmaan: (ignoring Armaan) Happy Birthday!
Ridhimaa: (smiling) Thanks Uncle!
She went away.
Armaan: (loudly) Beta? Aap kabse apne patients se itne close ho gaye?
Aur aapne mujhe roka kyun?
Salmaan: Pehle tum batao' ye college ke pehle hi din tumne'
Armaan: Maine bataaya na' galti se lag gayi thi.
Salmaan: Aur tumne sorry bhi nahi bola?
Armaan: Ye aapse kisne kaha?
Salmaan: Ridhimaa ne. Tumhari bahut taareef kar rahi thi.
Armaan: Huh! Maine abhi sorry bola to 'it's OK' bhi nahi bol paayi!
Itna attitude' really! Aur aapko koi zaroorat nahi hai usse zyada
friendly hone ki'
Salmaan knew Armaan could not be pacified and kept silent.
The Sun had set. It was eight o' clock. The house situated along the sea-shore
had its front door open.
Salmaan: Asma' Asma' tayyar ho gayi?
Asma: (checking her reflection in the mirror) Haan' bas ho gayi.
Salmaan walked inside the room and gazed at his wife.
Salmaan: Arrey waah! Aaj to chand zameen par utar aaya hai'
Armaan entered the room with his sister, Tamanna.
Tamanna: Correction' utar aaya nahi' utar aayi hai.
Salmaan: Yeah' utar aayi hai.
Armaan: Waise Abi Jaan' kya pehle bhi Ma itni hi khoobsurat'
Asma: Maani! Ab tum shuru mat ho jaana. Maan' ab tumhe der nahi ho rahi?
Salmaan: Ho to rahi hai' tum sab ready?
He looked around. Tamanna was wearing a black evening gown, Asma
wearing a black saree studded with small silver stars, Salmaan himself
was wearing a black coloured two-piece party suit while Armaan, as
usual was wearing a black jeans and to match it, a black shirt, lined
with red and was
looking as handsome as ever. His hair was still
falling on his forehead.
Asma: Maani' tumhare baal...
She raised her hand to tidy his hair but Armaan stepped back hastily.
Armaan,Tamanna: (almost together) Not my hair, Ma!
Asma and Salmaan smiled.
Armaan: Tammy! Tumhe to main dekh lunga.
Tamanna: To dekh lo na Ammy' roka kisne hai?
Salmaan: Stop! Hume aur der nahi karni hai.
Armaan: Par Abi Jaan aapne bataaya nahi ki hum kahaan ja rahe hain.
Salmaan: Mere ek bahut puraane dost ke ghar. Aaj uski beti ka birthday
Aur Maani aur Tamanna' wahaan koi gadbad nahi karna, OK?
Tamanna: Ho! Main kahaan kuch karti hoon' wo to Ammy'
Asma: Achha achha' bas' chalein?
Salmaan: Haan' gifts le liye?
They were all holding separate gifts in their hands. Armaan's gift seemed
Tamanna: Ammy' tumne kya gift liya hai? Batao na!
They all sat in the car and Salmaan drove them away.
They reached the GUPTA HOUSE in about half-an-hour.
Asma: Maan' are you sure yahi ghar hai?
Salmaan: Address to yahi hai' Bunglow No.12, Rosewood
Tamanna: Yahi ghar hai Mom! Dekhiye' kitna decorate kiya hai. It's so
beautiful! Let's get down.
The Malliks stepped down from the car and rang the bell. Padma came and
opened the door. She stared at them, not knowing who they were.
Asman: (stepping forwards) Padma' Padma Bansal?
Padma stared at Asma who was caling her by using this surname and then
Padma: Asma! Asma Kashyap?
She and Asma hugged each other.
Salmaan: Ahem! Ahem!
The two ladies broke apart. Both were having tears in their eyes.
Padma now looked at Salmaan.
Salmaan: Yeah' she's my wife Asma and my kids Armaan and Tamanna.
Armaan,Tamanna: (together, horrified at being called kids) Kids??
Padma smiled and took them all inside, to the living room which had
beautifully decorated with ballons, ribbons, baubles and banners.
The party had
noit yet started. Only Aditya, Anjali and Shashank were
there, sitting around on
the sofas. A big table was kept in between on
which a large, beautiful chocolate cake was placed with 19 candles. As
soon as the Malliks entered the living room with Padma, the latter
announced to the whole room at large.
Padma: Dekhiye' aaj kaun aaya hai!
All looked towards the door. Anjali was surprised to see Armaan there
while Armaan had neither recognized Anjali, nor Aditya. Shashank gazed
for a few seconds at Salmaan and then jumped to his feet.
Shashank: (exclaiming) Salmaan!
Salmaan: (smiling) Dr.Einstein!
Shashank rushed forwards and embraced Salmaan. Anjali and Aditya
stood up, staring at their father.
Shashank: Aaj kitne saalon baad dikhe ho!
The two separated with beaming faces.
Padma: (to Shashank) Isey pehchaaniye' ye kaun hai?
Shashank: (looking at Asma) Mrs.Asma Salmaan Mallik, right?
Salmaan: Aur Shashank' ye hai meri beti Tamanna aur beta Armaan. Aur bachchon' ye hain Dr.Shashank Gupta.
Armaan: You're kidding!
Shashank: He's not!
Now Armaan recognized both Anjali as well as Aditya.
Armaan: Then this means' ki birthday' Abi Jaan' aapne mujhe pehle kyun nahi bataaya?
Salmaan: Agar pehle bataaya hota to tum aate?
Armaan: No' never!
Salmaan: Bas' isiliye nahi bataaya.
Shashank: What? Anyways Salmaan' tumhe kaise pata chala ki aaj'
Salmaan: Tumhari beti ne bataaya' Ridhimaa ne'
Shashank: Ridhimaa ne? Kab? Kahaan?
Aditya: Dad' Dr.Salmaan humare college physician hain'
All settled down except for Armaan.
Anjali: Armaan' why're you standing?
Aditya: Tum jaanti ho isey?
Anjali: Yep! Armaan college me first year ka student hai aur'
Aditya: (remembering) Aur Ridzi ka partner, right?
Asma: Maani' chalo baitho'
Armaan: Ma please' main' well' chalo' OK.
He took a place between Anjali and Tamanna.
Anjali: Armaan' tumhare sister ko maine aaj college me nahi dekha'
Tamanna: Main aur Medical College me? I study in College for Journalism
Mass Communication. Main koi paagal hoon jo doctor banun?
She was loud and clear. All present in the room started staring at her.
Armaan: Kabhi kabhi apna dimaag bhi use karke bol liya karo Tammy.
Tamanna: Maine kuch galat kaha kya?
Salmaan: Tamanna' yahaan par tumhare alaawa sabhi medical students hain.
Tamanna looked arounbd and realized her mistake.
Tamanna: Oh! Sorry' mera matlab tha ki main' ki main'
But she was saved the need of further explanation.
Shashank: Ridhimaa aa rahi hai' lights off!
Aditya switched off the lights. Only the flickering lights of candles
lighted up the room but nothing was visible in these except for
Ridhimaa: (a little nervously) Mom' Papa'
She came downstairs and as she came near the table, the ballon overhead
burst, showering Ridhimaa with confetti. Ridhimaa, scared due to the
absence of light screamed and nearly fell over when someone caught her.
Aditya switched on the lights on hearing Ridhimaa's shriek. They all
gasped. Ridhimaa was in Armaan's arms. Armaan was gazing at Ridhimaa,
shut her eyes tightly, not knowing who was holding her. Armaan
eyes on himself, straightened up and left Ridhimaa, who was
his hand out of fear.
Ridhimaa jerked her eyes open and the first person she saw was Armaan,
who was looking at her steadily. Then she found that her hand was in
[Actually, she was holding Armaan's hand but forgot this]
Finding Armaan so close to her, holding her, staring at her, along with
the anger and humiliation of finding herself amongst all
these people in Armaan's arms, her hand went up and a slap echoed from
All were stunned. Asma and Salmaan were dumbstruck. Anjali, Aditya and
Tamanna were staring at Ridhimaa. Shashank and Padma were horrified.
Ridhimaa too was in a state of shock. She could not believe that she
had done this. And Armaan'
Tamanna: (squeaking) Am' Amm' Ammy!
Armaan raised his face, looked at Tamanna with the glance of wounded
and then rushed out of the GUPTA HOUSE, without looking back at
any of them.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ CHAPTER ONE ENDS ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
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Edited by Riddss - 05 June 2009 at 5:17am