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DMG 5 years from now #5 UPD PART 83 PAGE 37 :)

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Pebblez

Goldie

Pebblez

BollyCurry Buzzer

Joined: 08 June 2008

Posts: 1798

Posted: 19 June 2009 at 8:03am | IP Logged
What in the name of holy crap am i doing? I cant believe i crossed the limit of the fourth thread, which i had promised myself would be the last thread, and am actually opening this new one. Well, i know for one, this WILL be the last one, but nevertheless, here it is.

I know, i know...its coming later than ever, and i know how much you guys missed it. I know because of the most awesome, awesome thread you guys put out for me there....i cant believe you guys did it and i am still speechless. I guess there was no other way to thank you guys than to post a part, which is, i guess, much awaited. So here it is....

For one, i would like to thank ALL of you for being here, reading this. All the comments you guys give me fall short to the feeling i get when i know you guys read the stuff i have written and actually like it. Its the best feeling ever, so thank you all of you for giving me that feeling. And i believe its more of a united thing than me being the sole proclaimer of all credit for this fic. Seriously, wouldnt have made it till here without you guys,everyone of you.

I had begun to think i would have lost so many readers due to the delay, but i am more than happy to read the thread and know, you guys are still lurking out there. There is no way of thanking you, instead of the only way i could think of, and here it is.

Thanks a ton guys, more so, than i can ever ever say.

This thread goes out to ALL my readers, the PRG, the 'fans' and the readers who comment dutifully, readers who read and comment sometimes, readers who readers and never comment, silent readers, new readers, old ones..and a few of those nutters i know...

Love you all...
Kiran

Edited by Pebblez - 01 December 2009 at 4:33am

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Pebblez

Goldie

Pebblez

BollyCurry Buzzer

Joined: 08 June 2008

Posts: 1798

Posted: 19 June 2009 at 8:03am | IP Logged
*reserved

The cell phone lying dutifully in Armaan's pocket vibrated for the umpteenth time for the whole length of a phone call, yet it was ignored by the owner of the said gadget intentionally. Armaan sat in the familiar hall, his eyes fixated on the ground and his hands clasped together as he listened to the conversation going on around him. It was a scene he hadn't ever thought of coming true before his eyes; his parents seated in Riddhima's house, in conversation with her parents. Shashank had welcomed them to their home heartily, though the somewhat cold expression and slightly harsh tone with which he had talked to Armaan had made him aware of the persistent dislike Shashank held for him. His parents had arrived at his house two hours ago, and he had cordially welcomed them to his house, almost like guests. Though Gauri had made a silent plea from her behalf to him, Armaan still remained distant and aloof from them; there was no point in making bonds where they couldn't be maintained. Then, he had brought them to Riddhima's house.

Now, as he sat besides Rahul in the two-seater sofa, he was very much aware of his mobile vibrating in his pocket, yet he tended to ignore the call. He knew it would be Riddhima calling him, to inquire about his whereabouts. He hadn't been able to call her since his return to Delhi, and he knew it would lead to more problems if he did talk right now. Padma Auntie had just come and told them that Riddhima was on her way. As his mobile started vibrating again, Armaan was brought out of his reverie by a nudge by Rahul.

"Dude, your cell's vibrating. It must be Riddhima…!" Rahul said, as if Armaan wasn't aware of the reality himself.

"I know…I was just…," Armaan couldn't finish his sentence as the doorbell rang precisely at that moment. His breath hitched in his throat. It must be Riddhima.

Sure enough, a disheveled and drenched with rain Riddhima entered the house, unaware of the presence of the guests sitting in the hall and therefore shouting loudly.

"Ma, I am home!!! Main agai…itniiii barish thi rastay main, aur taxi bhi nee mil….," Riddhima halted in her tracks as she saw the people seated in her hall, all eyes set on her. Her parents, a graceful man of around sixty….a very familiar looking woman who was smiling at her…Rahul…and…. Riddhima stood, rooted to the spot, looking at the one person, the only one who wasn't looking at her.

Though horribly cold from the rain itself, Riddhima felt a chilled shiver run down her spine and spread to all her extremities as she tried to take in the reality of the situation. Armaan, sitting there, in her hall. Armaan, sitting in her hall with his parents. HIS parents. Armaan, who had supposedly been attending a friend's wedding, who had come back in the morning and hadn't even informed her, who hadn't reported back at the hospital and who wasn't picking up her calls but who was quite clearly sitting in her house with both their parents.

Riddhima's eyes were fixed upon Armaan, who wouldn't look anywhere but at the floor. She gulped, trying to swallow the lump that was forming in her throat, and then she turned to look around at the other faces. His mother was smiling at her, warmly while his father had a stern, cold expression in his eyes. His father.

As the reality finally sunk in, Riddhima felt a pool of warmth erupt in her stomach and her eyes stung with tears at once, for she realized what he had done for her. Suddenly, everything started falling into place; his quite response to her questions regarding his meeting with Shashank, the legalities in Kasauli, the lies, the alibi Nikki had created for him, last night's conversation, today's disappearance. Though her mind finally understood what he had done for her, she couldn't fathom the fact and turned to look at him again, looking for confirmation.

And it was as if by some sudden psychic connection they shared, Armaan looked up directly into her eyes and she saw her answer lying there, in between his invisible tears and the slight blinking of his eyes. She closed her eyes for a mere second, her eyes swarming with tears and then she sighed. And it already felt like she had standing here for ages, not just merely a few seconds.

Her trail of thoughts was interrupted by Padma, who laughed at something Gauri had said and patted Riddhima's hair, bringing her out of her thoughts.

"Riddhima beta, tum to poori tarah bheeg chuki ho…jao, go and change quickly…," Riddhima nodded distractedly at Padma, her eyes still fixed on Armaan.

Turning around, she looked at Gauri and smiled; and the latter got up to give her a hug. Riddhima hugged her back, truly happy to meet her after such a long time, and then she looked at him. Armaan's father, the man who was responsible for all the hurt and pain Armaan had gone through. And the hatred that always filled her heart burst open on her as he gave her a clipped, tiny smiled; Riddhima nodded at him mechanically and without even a word of greeting, went upto her room.

Armaan's eyes followed her till her figure disappeared, and then he hung his head low. The look of utmost surprise and disbelief in her eyes had not escaped him the first time she had looked at him, and then when he had blinked at her, in response to all the questions in her eyes, he had seen an ocean of love and unreal belief in her eyes. He knew she had a lot of questions, and he had to answer them. As the conversation around him resumed, Armaan heard his dad saying…

"To apki beti taxi main aati jati hai?," in what was clearly a disapproved tone, "I mean, aj kal ka zamana, its not right for girls to roam around in taxis like that, specially girls from high households!!"

Armaan closed his eyes disbelievingly. This was the limit, his father was doing exactly what he had feared; demeaning Riddima's family over money and status. Undoubtedly, the Guptas were a reputed and rich family, but no where near to par the Malliks. Before he could look for an excuse to run out of the house, Anjali made an appearance, along with Nikki, with the eatables and refreshments.

As Nikki was busy handing out the refreshments to everyone, Anjali excused herself and walked over to Armaan.

"Errrmmm….Armaan, can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Yeah sure…bolo na..!!," Armaan looked up at Anjali and inquired.

"Nahi…yahan nee…akele main…just, for a minute…its…important!," Anjali said, uncertain of his reply. However, Armaan nodded instantly and they both excused themselves from the hall.

***********************************************

As Armaan stood in the room, he looked at Anjali standing near the window, looking out, perhaps up at the sky. They had been standing quietly for some minutes now, and Armaan was getting restless. He cleared his throat and then spoke up.

"Anjie, tumhain kuch baat kerni thi na?" he asked uncertainly, as Anjali's back was still turned to him.

'Its weird, isnt it Armaan? We used to be best friends once...and now....' Anjali's voice faltered as she turned to look at him. Even from the distance, Armaan saw complete emptiness in her eyes, the likes of which were obvious in her voice. He stood his spot as she carried on. 'I still dont know where i went wrong....do you?'

Armaan looked into those eyes, the ones that had once spoken of gaiety and happiness, and yet which were emptier and more hollow than any he had seen. Any anger he had ever felt for this wonderful woman before him left him as he stepped forward into the light. Her eyes was set on the texture of his face, and he saw the emptiness clouded with a sense of surprise when he nodded at her.

'You can?'

'Yes Anjali, i can. Aur mujhe lagta hai janti tum bhi ho, but you dont want to accept it.' Anjali gulped down the lump that formed in her throat at his words and nodded back at him, turning back to the window. Armaan walked up to her after a moment's thought and put a hand on her shoulder. 'Its okay Anjie, its not your fault. Let it go.'

Anjali turned again, but this time her eyes werent empty. Filled with her tears, her eyes looked at the one person she had misjudged and denounced, but who was always there, no matter what.

'I am sorry Armaan...i cant begin to tell you how sorry I am....maine tumhain bohat misjudge kiya., tumhare saath itna bura kiya, but you were always there.....always, yourself,' her voice cracked as she halted.

'Thats what friends are for, stupid. Tumse ghalti hui, par ab tumhain uss ghalti ka ehsass ho gaya hai, so that's it. We all make mistakes, Anjie...it's okay.' Armaan smiled at her, and Anjali was so overcome with emotions that she hugged him and broke down, at the kindness this man had shown to her when it was least expected. Armaan hugged her back and smiled, lightly patting her hair.

Parting from the hug, Anjali looked at him again and whimpered, 'I really am sorry Armaan...i really am!!'

'I know you are...kaha na maine, its okay!! Aur ab please TUM rona band kero Anjie....aik tumhari behen kamm hai kia? Jo ab tumhain bhi chup kerana parray ga?' Anjali giggled in spite of herself and smiled at Armaan amidst her tears. He always had a way of making people smile.

'Ab chalain? Sab wait ker rahain honge. Kahiin sab ko yeh na lagney lagay ke main Riddhima ko chor ker tumharey saath bhaag gaya hun...Mujhe apni jaan bohat pyaari hai, samjhi? Pitna nahi hei mujhe...chal ab!!!' Armaan winked at her and Anjali laughed, whacking his arm playfully.

'Atul sahee kehta hai, baaton main tumse koi nahee jeet sakta.' Armaan stopped to look at her and with a sincere look in his eyes, replied, ' Aur pyaar kerne main koi Atul se....shayed main bhi nahee.'

With that, he departed, leaving Anjali lost in thoughts about what he had just said.

*****************************

Riddhima sat in front of the dressing table, her eyes set on the reflection the mirror portrayed of herself. Completely devoid of any make up, her face looked pale, her eyes; expressionless. However, it wasnt her face she was focusing on. It was more the thought of what Armaan had done that kept her preoccupied. She still couldnt believe he had got his parents here, at her place. The intensity of the situation had hit her once she had escaped the hall, and came to her room. Them being here meant Armaan had been in Delhi since the past two days; that he had gone to talk to his parents about them. She couldnt fathom the fact that he had done something as commendable as that, for no one knew better than her what it would have taken him to go to his father and talk about his personal life. Perhaps her own hatred for his father and what he had done to the man she loved was clouded by the fact that Armaan had done this, not for his parents or himself, but for her. She had never had an ounce of doubt over his love for her, but this just confirmed everything. No man could love her more than this guy did, for it would have taken the love of an extremely important person to have made a man with a steel's ego kneel down before someone he hated. Before today, she had loved him with her full heart, now, she respected him beyond anyone and anything she had ever respected. Her own idol had been her father since forever, but a simple act like his had changed the role of her idol to Armaan. She was now undeniably his forever, for now she not only loved and respected him, but worshipped him with the sanctity of a pure heart. There would never be anyone more worthy and important to Riddhima than the man who was called Armaan Mallik.

********************
Armaan walked out of the room and then made his way to Riddhima's. If he was lucky, he would find her in there, and he would be able to clear out all her questions and ambiguities. He knocked on the door once and walked inside the room, closing the door behind him.

Sure enough, Riddhima sat before the dressing table, clad in a green-colored saree, her hair dried yet her face still devoid of any makeup. She was staring into the mirror, and as Armaan made an entry into the room, she turned to look at him. They both stared at each other quietly, for some minutes, and then Riddhima got up steadily and made her way towards where he stood, a few feet away.

Standing before him, she just looked into his eyes once more and then put her arms around his neck and clung closer to him, embracing him as closely as she could. Armaan was not surprised by this act; it was something he had wanted to do since a long time. Putting his arms around the small of her back, he pulled her extremely close to himself and buried his face in her hair. She caressed the nape of his neck, as the slight tears he hadn't been able to shed over the two whole days made their way down his cheeks.

After what seemed like the longest hug they had ever shared, Riddhima parted from him and wiping away the tears from his cheeks, smiled slightly and simply said, "Thank you."

Armaan didn't need to ask her why or for what she was thanking him; he knew the answer very well himself. He just nodded very lightly, and then smiled back at her.

And then, for the first time ever in their relationship, Riddhima took an initiative and putting her hand around Armaan's neck, she pulled his head down, while standing on tip-toe herself and she kissed him. Very lightly at herself, a mere brush of the lips; and then she took his mouth with more fervor. While Armaan was taken aback in the beginning, he soon realized what was happening and then putting his arms to her waist, he pulled her closer to himself and kissed her back. What they both expressed with that one gesture was unexplainable; Riddhima thanked him from all her mighty heart for what he had done for her, she could never repay him back for it, while Armaan made her feel how damn important she was in his life, how truly he valued her. And they kissed for long, breaking off when the kiss turned passionate enough for both of them to be on the breaking point.

It was Armaan who backed out first, knowing that if they continued, he wouldn't be able to stop himself. And as he stood looking at his beautiful girlfriend turn different shades of red, Armaan smiled to himself and knew it was all worth it; every single thing he had done. They still stood pretty close to each other, close enough to hear each other's heart beats. Riddhima still stood there, blushing, her head bent down.

Armaan smiled again, as he waited for her to look up and when she didn't, he put a finger under her chin and lifted her face up. As she looked into his eyes uncertainly, he bent down and brushed his lips with hers again; a soft, sweet kiss. And while his lips still rested against her, he whispered, " I love you."

Riddhima smiled against his lips, and with no boundaries known to her or nothing stopping her from doing so, she kissed him back the same way as he had done and replied, " I love you too…"

**************************************************
Part 79 guys....hugely delayed, i know...and i am sorry for that...

Yep, done with the exams and all...lappy still not working, i am literally hiding while posting this, but i guess i just had to because of the thread, i was so moved....i knoowww, small part it is, thats all i could write in the span of 20 mins....so sorry AGAIn...

I am vowing never to promise again over here, whenever i do, something goes wrong, so i am juts gonna update as soon as i can, that is well, my word... :D....i guess the word 'i promise' is tabooed for me...*chuckles*

So thats it for now guys...and its great to be back writing this fic...pheww, i feel relieved, seriously.

I NEED comments now...and yeah, you can pester and badger now.

love
Kiran

Edited by Pebblez - 19 June 2009 at 8:09am

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Pebblez

Goldie

Pebblez

BollyCurry Buzzer

Joined: 08 June 2008

Posts: 1798

Posted: 19 June 2009 at 8:04am | IP Logged
*and again...

PART 80

Armaan and Riddhima walked down the stairs, holding hands that provided reassurance to each other, which they direly needed at the moment, and as the descended, the people in the hall turned to look at them, some with awe and others with displeasure. What was clear from the way they moved, with no physical contact except the knot of their hands and the silent communication of their eyes was the undeniable love and trust they had in each other. As they reached the hall, Armaan gave her hand a final squeeze and then let go of it, walking over to his place next to Rahul while Riddhima sat down next to a smiling Anjali.

'So...Dr. Gupta...hum koi ziada baat to ker sakte nahee hain, bachon ne khud hi decision le lia hai to...,' Vinay Mallik started off yet again, a sneer visible on his face as he looked at the hardening face of Shashank.

'Nahee Mr. Mallik...apki family main shayed aissa hota ho, humare haan nee hota....humare haan maa baap hi bachon ki zindagi ka harr decision lete hain...kia sahee hai, kia ghalat hai...woh kiss se shadi kereinge aur kiss se nahee....kisko pasand kerte hain...kisko nahee...yeh sab, maa baap hi decide kerte hain,' Shashank threw his reply back in Vinay's face, who gave him a surprised look.

'Ajeeb baat hai...ap jese parhay likhay log bhi...khaiiir...Riddhima!,' he said, turning all his attentions to her as she squirmed under his gaze and gave Armaan a side look, who blinked at her reassuringly.

Instead of giving him any reply, she just smiled back slightly.

'You know Riddhima...maine kabhi nee socha tha ke Armaan ko tum jesi larki pasand ayegi,' he said, and Riddhima looked up with a confused expression on her face. 'I mean, uski choice hamesha different rahi hai..you know, in girls...ussay hamesha high class ki socialite girls pasand ayi hain...broad-minded and modern...yeh shalwar kameez pehanany wali larki uski choice hogi, i never knew.'

The color from Riddhima's face drained and she turned pale at the comment, not with fear, but with the embarrassment at what he had tried to imply in front of everyone, and Shashank's eyes widened in anger at the same time. However, before either could reply, another voice spoke up.

'Dad.' It was Armaan, his voice at a horribly low tone, marked with a tinge of warning with it that didnt go unnoticed by anyone, and as he looked up at Vinay, his jawline accentuated and tightened, it was a look of pure fury and a warning alert: Do not mess with Riddhima.

'Oh come on Armaan...I was just making sure your 'wife to be' knows everything about you,' Vinay laughed alone at his silly joke, while Armaan looked at him with daggers in his eyes.

'I think you are the one who needs to know more about me, not Riddhima.'

His blunt remark did not only embarrass Vinay, but also awakened a sense of wariness in Shashank, who wondered how could Armaan be so blunt and rude to his own father? Whatever he had thought about him was proving him right.

'Errr...why not continue our talks over dinner? Um sure all of you must be hungry...come please! Shashank...Bhai sahab....Anjali...Armaan beta!...Riddhima...' Padma rattled off, as everyone rose for what was not to be a very pleasant dinner.

****************************************

'I knew it. I knew he was going to ruin everything...aur phir bhi main...i dont know why Nikki...mujhe pata tha woh hamesha aissay hi kerte hain...aur main...,' Armaan rambled off in front of her as she sat on the couch, watching him pace the room from one corner to the other.

'Armaaaan! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaase SHUT. UP. Mere sarr main dard ho gaya hai teri yeh yak yak sun sun ke....pichlay do ghanton se tum bak bak kiye ja rahya ho...please ab bass karo.' Nikki shot back at last, fed up with his nonsensical worry.

'Par Nikki tu samajh nee rahi hai na...,' Armaan started off again, sitting down near her couch with an eager determination to explain things to her. 'Dekh main tujhe samjhata hun...'

'NAHI. Please.' Nikki stood up with her hands folded in front of him. 'Mujhe mauf kero! Mujhe kuch nahee samajhna...tum apni Basket ko call ker ke usko samjhao...i dont know HOW she tolerates you!...ab hatt side per!'

She kicked him in the shins lightly as she walked passed him, out of his room to her own while he sat there replaying the evening in his mind.

'I dont know what to say to you, Riddhima.' He mumbled into the phone, after a stagnant pause that had followed since they had exchanged greetings on the call.

'I dont, either, Armaan. For the first time, I am speechless...at something you have done,' she replied back, smiling herself at the meaning behind her words.

'Yeah, that is definitely a first,' he chuckled, emphasising on the word definitely as he said it. After another pause, this one a slightly pleasant one, he whispered, 'I am sorry Riddhima..!'

'There's no need for you to apologize Armaan...if there's one person who sorely needs to do that, it's Mr. Vinay Mallik. He needs to apologize for every single thing he has ruined for you...'' he interrupted her in between her ranting.

'Even for today...he ruined it all. I am sure your father will never agree for our marriage now...meeting my father would have been a big wake up call for him...he doesnt like me eitherwise...and now...,' Armaan let out a frustrated sigh as he recounted the evening in his head and cursed his father once again for worsening the situation, if possible.

'Armaan....I cant say whether Papa will agree for our marriage or not...all I know is, no matter what happens, I am here for you...and come hell or high water, I will fight for you.,' Riddhima consoled him with her determined words, and she herself didnt know how much of an ego boost that was.

'I love you Riddhima...,' he smiled back in to the phone as he said those words, meaning them with his true heart as he sensed her attempt to console him.

'And unfortunately, Mr. Mallik, the feeling is very mutual!.'

Her reply made both of them let out a hearty laugh, as they forgot about their worries for a while...just, a while.

******************************************************

Shashank walked into hsi rooin to find a very disgruntled Padma pacing the room from one corner to another, lost in thought. He sensed her worry, and knowing the reason behind it too, he calmly put a hand on her shoulder to stop her from moving to the other corner of the room again. Padma turned to look at him and her expression cleared as she saw his standing in front of her.

'Kia baat hai Padma...koi pareshani hai kia?' Shashank asked, pretending as if nothing that had happened that evening had itself created a solid reason for him to do the same.

'Shashank...ap jante hain kia pareshani hai....aj, Armaan...uske parents...I mean, uske father...' she ranted, not knowing how to start a conversation that would play a very pivotal part in shaping the future of her daughter's happiness.

' Janta hun Padma....pehle mujhe sirf Armaan se problem thi...lekin ab, uske parents se milne ke baad...,' his tone faltered as he saw the expectant look in Padma's eyes, and reading that expression that was formed as a question in her eyes, he shook his head, 'Nahin Padma...bilkul nahin.'

'Shashank ap meri baat...' Padma followed him as he abruptly took to walking away from her to his closet.

'Sunanay ke liye kuch hai hi nahi Padma. Main uska baap hun aur uska acha bura sabse behtar janta hun...main kisi bhi surat main Riddhima ki shadi Armaan se honey nahi dunga...never.' He said, a firm determination clouding his voice as he spoke.

'Par Riddhima...ap uski khushi ke barray main bhi to sochiya na Shashank. Woh Armaan se bohat pyaar...'

She was cut in between her sentence by an unexpectedly loud voice in which he spoke as he turned towards her, 'Bachi hai woh Padma...bachi hai!! Yeh pyaar vyaar, is se zindagi nahee chalti. Armaan main to jo khamiyan hain woh hain, par uske parents se mil ker hi pata chal jata hai woh kis kism ke log hain. Proud, arrogant and pompous...khud ko paisay ki vajah se khuda samajhney walay....that is all against whatever i have taught my daughter all my life. Yeh rishta kabhi nahi ho sakta Padma...maine keh diya na. Aur tumhain bhi Riddhima ko samjhana chaiye...na ke yeh ke tum usko iss main support kero.'

'Shashank, mujhe lagta hai ap iss baar ghalat hain. Main apse zyada achi tarah janti hun Armaan ko...Riddhima ke liye apko us se ziada acha larka nahee mil sakta. Aur un donon ko alag ker ke ap bohat barri ghalti kereinge. Mujhe apni beti ki khushi se aggay kuch bhi nahi hai...apka faisla bhi nahi. I am sorry, main iss main ap ka saath nahi de sakti.'

And with that, Padma walked out of the room, leaving Shashank looking after her with a look of complete disbelief written over his face.

**************************

"Tu kidhar marri hui hai Muskaan? Why the hell are you not picking up your phone? Call me back as soon as you get this voice mail.' And with that, Riddhima put down her phone for the umpteenth time, cursing Muskaan under her breath. She had been calling her since morning, as there had been no reply back from her since three days ago, when she and Rahul had left for their hometown. As soon as she put down the phone, Atul and Anjali walked into the locker-room, so engrossed in some private, low-toned conversation taht they were having that they failed to see Riddhima sitting there.

'There you are...Di, main apko kabse dhund ree hu!' Riddhima grumbled, walking over to the duo who were standing close to Anjali's locker, and they both jumped with a start as they heard Riddhima speak.

'Ridzi, tu yahan...?,' Anjali blurted out, even before she could figure out Riddhima's presence in the locker room wasnt a big deal.

'Haan Di...yeh locker-room mera bhi hai.,..main bhi asakti hun!,' Riddhima shot back, grinning at Anjali's sudden awkwardness, and before Anjali could rpely, Atul jumped in.

'Err...Riddhima...we were just planning to go for a movie tonight...tum aur Armaan bhi chaloge?' Atul asked, and Riddhima understood what he was trying to do; covering up. She smiled secretly to herself, as she had seen the grown intimacy and closeness between her sister and Atul, and she couldn't be happier for the two. Knowing that Atul was asking just out of curtsy, she smiled at him and shook her head.

'Errrmmm...Nahee Atul, i dont think so hum asakate hain....you know, meri duty hai aur Armaan to subah se gayab se....tum aur Di jao na!! Wese bhi tum donon ko time hi kahan milta hai?' she grinned impshly at her own statement, as Anjali slightly blushed at her implication and Atul smiled back, knowing where Riddhima was coming from.

'Ridz...tu chal na...maza ayega!' Anjali again tried, hoping her little sister would give in, but Riddhima was not to be convinced. 'Nahee Di...kaha na maine, ap log jao...you guys should spend time together...main aur Armaan fir kisi din chaleinge....chalo ab mujhe jana hai..bye!'

And with that abrupt farewell, Riddhima departed from the locker room, leaving Anjali gaping behind her as Atul grinned at Riddhima's silly act.

"Yeh Ridzi ko kia ho gaya?' Anjali asked, confused at her actions..when Atul put a hand on her shoulder, 'I think we both know what she meant.'

Anjali looked at him, startled at his implication of words and sensing the intensity of his words his eyes, she smiled and looked down slightly. Atul took band his hand, and asked, 'So...7, tonight?'

She looked up at him and nodded, and he came closer to her, slightly tilting his head, he whispered, 'I cant wait.'

And he too took off with that, while Anjali blushed, a feat she herself was surprised to practice so much nowadays, and she muttered to herself, 'Me too.'

*********************************************


"God, i have been looking ALL over for you!!' Riddhima was still in the state of transitional movement as she was dragged from the corridor she had been walking in to the secluded fire-escape staircase by a pair of strong hands and even before she could settle herself on her feet, the words were thrown at her. She looked up at his face, smiling down at her as his thumb now lightly caressed her jaw-bone, as his hands held her neck in a tight hold.

'Armaan?' She was yet to recover from the sudden shock of being pulled into darkness from the deserted corridor she had been walking in.

'Yes sweetheart, me. Unless you have been lying to me all along and been having secret meetings with your secret lovers in this notorious fire-escape, it should only be me doing all that....,' he chuckled at his own nonsensical banter and as Riddhima shook her head at him, he continued, 'And more!,' and implying what he meant with his words, he pulled her into a hug, an embrace so strong it left no space for even a paper sheet to pass through them.

His hands nestled into her hair as he hid his face in her neck, lightly kissing her there twice as Riddhima put her arms around his waist and tied a knot with his hands, holding on tightly. They stayed that way for some time, him holding on to the light mint and dry wood scent her skin smelt of, and her lightly fingering the hair at the nape of his neck, unconsciously straightening them out. For them, the relationship they shared had taken a change somewhere, words were no longer required. They could stand holding each other for ages now, without having the need or want to say a word to each other. She realized now, with a start, how much he had changed from the fidgety, impatient prankster he used to be. Correction, she admonished herself, prankster he still was and always would be at heart, but no longer was the crazily possessive and attention-seeking boyfriend he had been in the beginning of their relationship. He has settled down, she told herself, he's grown up. And she fondly kissed his jaw-bone, near to his chin, unconsciously lost in her thought. This action seemed to bring Armaan out of the reverie he was lost in, and he looked up at her, still holding her close.

'Riddhima...?'

She looked up at him and smiled assuringly, and when he continued to look at her with confusion, she narrowed her eyes, 'Unless you have secret girlfriends whom you first manhandle, drag them into a fire-escape and hug them like there's no tomorrow, I should be the only one having the right to....' and she faltered, as she realized what she had just done and what he had tried to imply with that question in the form of her name, and then blushed a deep red.

Armaan chuckled at her response and with an affectionate smile on his face, he creased away her frown with his thumb and replied, 'Not any that um aware of yet, honey...there's only girl i like to
manhandle...,' he grinned widely as she blushed more, 'and I wouldn't give that right to anyone else, it belongs only to my girl.' The sincerity in his tone made her look up and smile....'Though i'd be honored to be blessed with this privilege MUCH often...

'Armaan!!' she blushed, and slapped him lightly on his face as he laughed, a sound that had not been heard from him since some time. Armaan winked at her, and lightly put an arm around her shoulder and pulled her close, lightly kissing her hair.

Engulfed in the hug, Riddhima played with his shirt buttons, a habit, he noticed, she had picked up whenever she was trying to evade a bad feeling or refraining herself from saying anything. Lightly, he held her hand in his own and entwining their fingers together, questioned her, 'What's wrong, Riddhima?'

She looked up at him and made an effort to smile, which was so evident to him that he frowned, as she shook her head, 'Nothing's wrong Armaan...it's just...it's been two days I haven't even seen you properly...and I just....i missed you.' This time, even her troublesome frown didnt let him stop himself from smiling, and he squeezed her hand, holding onto it tightly. A silence enveloped them, so profound it couldn't even break through the sounds of their heartbeats, as he hugged her tightly and then kissed her jawline, with a motion so slow it enthralled her to discover more, made her prod him and urge him on, till he had captured her senses with the touch of his lips on her own, and there was no looking back as she left her inhibitions aside to proclaim her love to the only man who deserved it and who had every right to her heart, body and soul.

***************************************


PART 81


'Yeh log to humain maar deinge Rahul....tu janta hai na in sab ko!!,' Muskaan whispered into Rahul's ears as they both walked into Sanjeevani's notorious locker room, hand in hand. The locker room was, uncommonly as it was, empty; and this was surprising for it was lunch hour, and the interns usually spent it here rather than in the cafeteria where they were meant to be. Muskaan gave a confused look to Rahul, who shrugged unknowingly. When a slight murmur crossed their conversation, they looked at each other and grinned at the same time, and Rahul walked over to the changing room and pulled back the curtain hanging.

'I KNEW IT!! Tum log aur kahan ho sakte ho??,' he smirked as a very flushed Riddhima and a totally unaffected Armaan walked out of the changing room, his arm flung callously around her shoulders. As soon as Riddhima's eyes landed on Muskaan, her shyness flew away somewhere as it was taken over by an exuberant expression on her face as she let out a scream and ran towards her, both soon engulfed in an over-excited hug. Armaan grinned at his girlfriend's hyper behavior and then himself hugged Rahul, questioning his sudden leave, 'Kidhar chale gaye thay sallo? Na koi message, no calls...?'

Before Rahul could answer him back, Muskaan spoke up, clearly as she was being asked the same question from Riddhima, 'Woh hum...err...hum...ghar gaye thay na...to...'

'Ghar gaye thay yeh to humain bhi pata hai Muski...but sirf 2 din ke liye gaye thay...pura week kahan gayab rahay haan?,' Riddhima inquired further, as she saw Muskaan fumble, suddenly suspicious that something was up.

'Exactly...you guys were supposed to be back on Monday...and its Friday today...where were you lost? And BY THE WAY...Muskaan, tere maa baap ko apna naya damaad pasand aya kia?' Armaan grinned at his own lame joke, but instead of a chirpy remark that was expected from Muskaan, he saw the color drain from her face as she looked at Rahul confusedly. Armaan then looked over at Rahul, who was equally confused and flustered. Something was definitely up between the two.

'Kia baat hai guys...tum log kuch bol kyun nahe rahey ho?' Riddhima urged on, as she shared a look with Armaan. 'Muski, koi problem hai kia?'

Unable to control it any further, Muskaan sat down on the bench and started off with her ramble. 'Problem? Koi aik problem ho to na? I dont know meri family ke saath kia masla hai...hum wahan gaye thay unko yeh batanay ke hum aik dusrey se pyaar kerte hain...aur Armaan tu to janta hai na meri family ko...PURAY khandan ko itni over-excitement ho jati hai harr baat ki....baat kerne gaye thay shadi ki...aur unhon ne humari shadi hi karra dalli.'

A pregnant pause followed, as Armaan and Riddhima instantly shared a shocked look, then their eyes followed simultaneously, first to Muskaan who was looking at them with a disgruntled look and then at Rahul, who affirmed whatever they had heard by nodding. The first one to break the silence was Riddhima.

'Shh...shh...SHADI?' She finally said it out loud, and Muskaan nodded back at her miserably.

'TUM LOGON NE SHADI KER LI?' Armaan, apparently, was a little slow in catching up with whatever was going on around him.

'Nahee...humne shadi nahee ki...humari families ne humari shadi KARA di.' This time, it was Rahul who spoke up, as he settled himself down on the bench, next to Muskaan.

'Tum log PAGAL ho gaye ho kia? Aissay kaisay shadi ker li...i mean, humain bataya takk nahee?,' Armaan burst open at them, a look of fury crossing his face as he realized how they had been singled out of their best friends' wedding.

'Arey humain kahan bataya kisi ne...humain KHUD kuch nee pata tha...shadi walay din pata chala ke, Oh, aj to humari shadi hai.' Muskaan replied, frustrated at their reaction and her own as well. Rahul put an arm around her and soothed her shoulder muscles, making her slump her shoulders as she relaxed.

'Dekho guys...aissa kese ho sakta hai ke humari shadi ho aur tum log na ao....but sab kuch itni jaldi main ho gaya ke...we couldn't figure out ourselves. Sorry.' Rahul answered, an affronted look on his face as he and Muskaan both looked down, dejected as they'd thought this news would make their friends super happy, not upset.

Riddhima looked over at Armaan and gave him a 'lets-do-it' look and Armaan sighed. Nonetheless, they both sat down in front of the sad-looking couple and Riddhima said,'It's okay guys....ab to jo ho gaya so ho gaya..but you guys are MARRIED. Oh my GOD!!' And with that, she took Muskaan into a rib crashing hug as the latter finally smiled and hugged her back.

'Exactly..and who cares hum shadi per nahee asake to...humain bass ab aik grand party chahiye...our first interns to get married!!!,' Armaan said, side hugging Muskaan as Riddhima congratulated Rahul.

The news of Rahul and Muskaan's wedding spread like a wildfire, and before they knew, the party had been settled at Rahul's, correction, their house for the evening....and of course, the whole hospital was invited.

****************************

'Riddhimaaaa....beta jaldi ker...!!' Padma called out as she walked over to her younger daughter's room, fixing her sarri in place. As she rounded up on Riddhima's door, she found her neatly dressed in a green colored saree as well, putting her bangles on. Before she knew it herself, she was standing next to the door, looking at her youngest daughter who had grown up so much in a matter of some time, that it amazed her at times. She couldn't believe Riddhima would soon be gone from this house. As Shashank's words from their latest conversation sounded in Padma's ear, her smile wore off a little.

'Haan Mom...um done...!!,' Riddhima said, as she picked up her clutch purse and walked over to the door, where Padma was standing. 'Mom?' she said, as she saw Padma lost in some thought.

'Haaan! Sorry...main woh kuch...soch rahi thi...kuch nahee...chalo,' she turned around to hide her expressions from Riddhima, for she knew her daughter would sense her troubles at once. As it was, this turned out to be true as Riddhima held her hand from behind to stop her.

'Kia hua Mom...ap pareshan lag ree ho...something wrong?,' Riddhima inquired, reading the worrisome expression on her mother's face. 'Ap chuppa rahi ho na kuch mujhse...batao kia hua?'

"Riddhima...hum late ho rahya hain beta....wapis aa ker batati hun na tujhe....chal ab jaldi ker...sab wait ker rahay honge,' And before Riddhima could catch her again, Padma walked off, leaving Riddhima wondering what was troubling her mother.

Shrugging off her own worry, Riddhima started walking out of her room when her cell-phone beeped. Knowing who it was, she picked her mobile and started talking, 'ARAHI hun Armaan...tum main patience naam ki koi cheez hai kia?'

'Riddhima...i need to tell you something...jaldi ao!! Anji agai hai, why aren't you here,' A clearly distressed Armaan spoke quickly into the phone.

'Arahi hun na baba...Mom ke saath ana tha, iss liye late ho gayi....aur kia baat kehni hai? Batao na!,' Riddhima inquired, curious to know what it was.

'Abhi nahi...tum ao to batata hoon...its a surprise..!! Come quickly princess, im waiting for you.' And with that, he put down the phone while Riddhima was left staring at her own for a seconf after the call ended, then she her forehead with her cell phone, muttered something that sounded like 'pagal' to herself and walked out of the house, wondering what Padma and Armaan both were hiding from her.

*******************************

The small apartment that was, till yesterday, a typical bachelor's dome, was now set beautifully with flowers and other adornments that the newly wedded couple had been able to put up in the small time they had been given to decorate. Rahul looked at the setting and refreshments arrangement as Muskaan, totally unlike herself, was looking after the food and other small necessities. Looking at his beautiful wife, Rahul felt such strong affection for her that he walked over to where she was standing, clad in a typical red saree, and hugged her from behind. Flustered, Muskaan turned and looked at him...

'Rahul...what are you doing? Kafi log already achukay hain!!,' she giggled, as he kissed her earlobe and then lightly pinched her nose.

'Ahem ahem...kafi log nahee...it's just me!,' Armaan popped out from the kitchen, eating an apple as he walked over to the couple. 'And yes Muskaan, that is a very good way of telling me again and again that i'm early.'

Muskaan rolled her eyes and took the apple from his hands, 'THAT is going to ruin your appetite...and I didn't go through so much trouble of making the food if you are not going to eat it..and no, it doesn't trouble me that you're early. In fact, now that you are, why don't you and Rahul go and put those tables at the corner...?'


Dismissing the two guys with the work given to them, she walked away haughtily to the kicthen as Armaan stared at Rahul and then whistled, 'Dude, you are so gone. She will soon turn into the Bride of Frankenstein.'

'Yeah, you are not further off too, dude. Your one already shows signs of Lady Dracula. Sharp nails, i tell you.' Rahul grinned back at him and Armaan laughed, as they both set off to work.

Soon, people started coming in, bringing with them presents and bouquets to congratulate the newly weds. Armaan waited near the door restlessly, every now and then checking whether Riddhima had reached or not. Rahul and Muskaan were busy fending to the guests, and Atul and Anjali, who had somehow disappeared since the time they had come, were nowhere to be found.

Armaan was busy pouring drinks in glasses for everyone, for this party had no exclusive waiters to look after everything, so he had been allocated the role of 'waiter' for the evening. As he filled a glass with Coca-Cola, he looked up yet again at the door to see Riddhima coming in, looking astonishingly pretty with the green saree on. He instantly noticed that she wasn't wearing any other jewellery except the petite emerald ring on her left hand, their engagement ring. He grinned to himself and handling the tray of his drinks, walked over to her.

'Drinks, madam?'

She turned immediately at his voice and grinned widely as she saw him serving her a drink, and haughtily picking up a glass, she threw an arrogant 'Thank You' at his face and turned back again. Knowing him, she knew he would make her turn again, and sure enough, within seconds, Armaan had somehow disposed of the tray in his hands and putting both of them around her waist, he twisted her around so sharply that she bumped into him.

'Armaaan!!! Kia kar rahay ho?' she hissed at him, trying to get away from his strong hold.

'Riddhima, its been almost 2 years i have been doing this, tumhain abhi takk samajh nee aya main kia kar raha hoon?' he replied cheekily, winking at her as she gave him a glaring warning signal. Armaan frowned at her expression and gently put his thumb to her forehead, creasing out her frown, 'Aissay ghussa nahee kerte Riddhima...pehle hi tum Lady dracula ke naam se mashoor ho gayi ho!,' he chuckled at his own lame joke, and was instantly hit in his ribs by her elbow as she pushed him away. The reason for her action came forward in the shape of Anjali, who came and stood next to them.

'Oh...hi Anjie...!! KIDHAR chaley gaye thay yaar tum log??,' Armaan managed to say, still rubbing his ribs and glaring at Riddhima, who gave him a sorry look. They both then noticed how disheveled and fumbled Anjali looked, and Riddhima decided to inquire, 'What's up Di..? Ap itni flustered kyun lag ree ho?'

"Err....nahi Ridz, esa kuch..,' even before she could complete her sentence, Atul came and stood next to her, and Anjali at once became quiet. The sudden transition in her composed demeanor to that of a confused, blushing bride was new to both Armaan and Riddhima, and they noticed, at the same time, the close proximity in which Atul and Anjali were standing, next to each other. Something clicked in Armaan's mind before anything could registered in Riddhima's and he smiled widely.

'Hey Armaan...Hey Riddhima!,' Atul greeted with a happy tinge in his voice that had long gone missing. Riddhima greeted him back and was about to continue a conversation with him when Armaan excused for themselves and steered her away to a lonely corner of the house, a corridor which led to the guest room and was for now, empty.

'ARMAAN!! I was talking to Atul...tum na..!!,' Riddhima ranted him, sorting out her sarri and looking up at him. He lightly bent down and kissed her cheek, softly. 'Did i tell you how beautiful you look today?'

'NO, you didn't. But I will take that as a compliment,' Riddhima chuckled back as Armaan fiddled with the hair clip holding up her hair at the back of her head and pulled it out, then nuzzled in her hair, lightly touching her neck as she shifted in her place and moaned very slightly.

'I love you...!!,' he whispered into her hair, so lightly that she felt his lips form against the skin of her neck rather than hear them herself. She pulled his head down with her hands that were resting on his neck as she heard it, and then suddenly she remembered something and she pulled back.

'You had to tell me something important,' she blurted out as Armaan looked at her, a little put off at being pulled back. His expression softened as he heard her statement and then he bent down to kiss her forehead.

'I just did.'

"What? But you didnt...,' Riddhima stopped in her tracks as she realized what was that important thing he had to tell her. She smiled at him, and then lightly hit his forhead, 'You are mad.'

His words formed on her lips as he bent down to kiss her, and she didnt require any more words then...

***********************

Anjali sat on the hammock in the garden, taking in the quietness of the night as a cool breeze blew and she unknowingly played with the pendant in her neck. Lost in some thought, she smiled to herself and cuddled herself up as she felt slightly cold, and only when a shawl was wrapped around her and a cup of hot coffee was thrusted in her hands did she realize that she wasn't alone anymore. Riddhima sat down on the steps near the hammock, lifting the cup of coffee to her lips and smiled at her elder sister.

'Aaj ki party achi thi na Di? I still cant believe it, Rahul and Muskaan are MARRIED." Riddhima started off a conversation, and Anjali nodded back.

'I knowww...it's so weird na...itni jaldi sab kuch ho gaya...in fact, main aur Atul uss din yehi discuss ker rahay thay keh teri aur Armaan ki shadi sab se pehle hogi,' Anjali stopped as she saw the sly look on Riddhima's face at the mention of Atul, and frowned, 'What?'

'Diiiii....agar ap se kuch puchon, to sach sach bataogi?,' Riddhima questioned, an innocence developing in her voice which always came on when she was around her elder sister. Anjali rolled her eyes, and evern before she could ask anything, replied, 'Ridzi, agar tu Atul aur mere barray main kuch...'

'Di, main janti hoon things would be difficult for you...after Dev and all...but Atul apse sach main bohat pyaar kerta hai...' Riddhima started off earnestly, and Anjali cut her off.

'I know Ridzi...main janti hoon. I dont know tujhe kahun ya nahee....but I have started feeling for Atul too...wwoh mera itnaaa khyal rakhta hai, meri harr choti choti baat ka...ke mujhe realize hi nahee hota I'm with someone else....he just seems, someone so familiar and special...' Anjali gazed off into the stars while she spoke about Atul and Riddhima giggled with delight.

'So Di, bola apne Atul ko? That you love him?,' she implored, inching closer to the hammock. Anjali looked at Riddhima and smiled at her childish earnestness.

'Ridzi...Atul aur main...we are not like you and Armaan...it's so different. For us, we don't need to say it out loud...i think he knows. The way I have known it for so long...tujhe kia hua?,' She stopped as she saw a childishly furious look on Riddhima's face.

'Di, what do you mean main aur Armaan different hain? Hum bhi bohat special hain, acha!!,' she replied, and Anjali laughed loudly in spite of herself. She got up from the hammock and hugged Riddhima tightly, taking the latter with surprise.

'Tu hamesha bachi hi rahegi Ridzi...meri choti behen!,' Anjali said as she hugged her, and Riddhima smiled to herself and hugged her back. It was a moment that bonded them together, one of the several they had shared since growing up, yet it made both of them feel assured of the fact that nothing could ever cross family. Those bonds, they always tie together, no matter what.

********************

'Dude, i love Riddhima.'

This sudden proclamation came from Nikki as she plopped herself down next to Armaan on his bed, as he went through some files. It was night time, and they had just gotten back from Rahul and Muskaan's wedding party. Armaan looked up from his files and smiled widely.

'Err,i love her too...but she's committed, so sorry Niks...kahiin aur haath maar' he replied, getting a slap back from Nikki.

'Idiot, I love her because she gave me her saree, for today's evening...and I looked gorgeous!!!,' Nikki stood up and posed in front of the mirror, blowing herself a kiss as Armaan laughed at her stupid antics. Pulling her hand, he made her sit down in front of him.

'Niks...do you think Dr. Shashank will agree for our marriage?,' Armaan asked her, a sudden seriousness in his tone. Nikki looked at him and rolled her eyes.

'Yes, freak, he will. Stop worrying!! How many times do we have to do this again?,' she asked, an annoyed look crossing her face as she crossed her arms.

'Its just...I'm not having a very good feeling about this, since mom and dad left. I need to know Nikki, why is he delaying it so much?,' he questioned yet again, and Nikki sighed, preparing herself for another good pep talk session.

'Look Armaan...it's his daughter we are talking about...he needs to be reassured of the fact that you ARE the guy for her and you will keep her happy. He's her father, you know how they are...he's taking some time, and I say he has the right to do that,' She set off again, as Armaan nibbled on his nails. 'Armaan, I know you love Riddhima and you dont want to lose her...but..."

She was cut in between by Armaan, who whispered back, in a suddenly very low voice, 'I CANT afford to lose her Nikki...she's everything there is. Even the thought of her not being in my life tomorrow is so scary that I dont even want to get up in the morning....I'm so scared, all the time.'

Nikki looked at him, a tender look coming back to her eyes as she remembered her own likewise vulnerability towards Abhi when he was still in her life. No one knew this fear better than her. Without any further word, she held his hand in hers and whispered back, 'Aren't we all?'

**************************

Riddhima sat on the floor, getting her hair massaged by Padma after a long, tiring day at work. This was one of her stress-busters; she would come and sit down in front of Padma, who'd lightly oil and massage her hair while inquiring about the day and Riddhima would rattle off. It was one of those times she actually had only to herself and her mother, and she thoroughly enjoyed these sessions. However, today she felt Padma a little lost and absent from their discussion, and at last Riddhima turned and held her hand.

'Mom, what's wrong? Ap mujhe kitne dinon se pareshan lag rahi ho...sab theek hai na?,' she inquired, and Padma sighed. It was time to tell her everything.

'Nahin Riddhima...kuch theek nahin hai. Beta, mujhe tujh se aik bohat zaroori baat kerni hai.' She said, and instantly saw the color drain from Riddhima's face as she held her hand tightly. She sensed what was coming.

'Riddhima...tere papa teri aur Armaan ki shadi ke liye nahi maan rahay.' This one statement was enough for Riddhima's heart to stop; she let go of Padma's hand and stood up in a daze, but Padma turned her around. 'Beta listen to me. Maine unhain bohat samjhanay ki koshish ki, par pata nai unke mann main ki baat hai....he does not want to get you married into that family. Especially after meeting his parents.'

'Mom...main...Armaan...,' she lost her way into the sentence, so confused and puzzled was she that she couldn't say anything. Padma made her sit down on her bed and stroked her hair.

'Riddhima, I know. I can understand beta...tu uss se bohat pyaar kerti hai...par...tere papa nahee manainge beta.' Padma felt her heart torn from inside as tears formed in Riddhima's eyes.

'But Mom ap to janti hain na....I cant live without him. Ap papa ko samjhaiye na...woh apki baat to suntay hain!,' Riddhima implored in front of her mother, who sighed again, helpless.

'Riddhimaaa...tu janti hai na Shashank ko...jab koi baat soch lete hain to bass wohi kerte hain...maine unhain bohat samjhanay ki koshish ki hai par....meri aj un se baat hui thi...unhon ne mujhe kaha hai ke main tujhe yeh baat sahee se samjha dun...ke woh teri aur Armaan ki shadi kabhi nahin honey deinge.'

A sudden change was apparent in Riddhima as she heard this statement, for her crumpled demeanor changed at once to a hard-faced, determined expression, and she was lost in some thought. She looked at Padma straight in her eye and asked, "Kia papa meri kisi aur se shadi kerwana chahte hain?'

Padma looked at her, surprised at how her daughter had gotten so perceptive. She had been finding a way to break the news to her. Without saying anything, she just nodded back. Riddhima's slight frown cleared, and she spoke in a voice Padma had not heard before.

'Mom, ap Papa ko ja ker bol dijiyega...ke main agar shadi keroongi to sirf Armaan se....aur kisi se nahee. That's it.'

And with that, Riddhima walked out of her mother's room, regardless of the fact taht this was the first time she had ever spoken like that to her mother. She would, on no account, meet up with someone else to arrange her marriage. If there was someone she was going to marry, it would just be Armaan, and no one else.

As she entered her room, Riddhima was in for another shock as she found, yet again for a second time, Anjali hugging a guy whose back was towards Riddhima. Still dazed by the news her mother had given her, she looked at Anjali and the guy with a surprised look on her face, and as they separated from the hug, she was yet again surprised, so much so that she said it out loud....

'ATUL?'

***********************************
Alright folks, part 81 is up!! This is coming fast even by my standards, but i owe this one to Nij and Sai, who made me believe I needed to do this asap..before i go on a 3 days trip :D so here goes guys!!

Okay..so parts of it i like and tons of it i dont..but anyways...jotted down in one day, with MAJOR breaks in between, and a lot more was added but mom's over my head now...so lateerzs!!

Do comment and bash me all that yuou want...um not here for 3 days...so have fun guys and please stay safe! :)

Kiran.

Edited by Pebblez - 22 October 2009 at 11:49am

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Pebblez

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Pebblez

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Posted: 19 June 2009 at 8:04am | IP Logged

PART 82


Shopping had never been on the top of his most-favorite things to do, and what he detested more about it was how much time was wasted in doing absolutely nothing, other than buying stuff for yourself which might and would prove itself to be unessential at some point of time. Anyhow, like it or not, he was stuck precisely in this very activity that day, for he had been threatened by Nikki to be thrown out of the house if he didn't get the television set fixed that very day. That, and her own shopping spree had landed him into the supermarket, all alone in the electronics section as he got his tv fixed while Nikki browsed for clothes and shoes. Typically her.

Now, standing at the counter, waiting for the salesman to return and tell him what had gone wrong with his tv set now, he flipped open his mobile one more time to see whether there were any messages from Riddhima or not. Disappointed as the last three times he had tried it, he wondered where she had disappeared to and then, on an instinct, called her. Her phone went straight to voice mail, and even before the monotonous lady's voice could ask him to levae a message, he cancelled the call, cursing lightly under his breath. Since two whole days he had not been in contact with her, owing to his own tedious work hours and their timings at the hospital not matching. And the woman had maybe boycotted him, thats why she had refused to talk to him or call him at all, or even reply o the several text messages he had sent her.

Before he could think of any other way to contact his lady love, he was brought back to world with the return of the salesman, who informed him about some technical problem with the television set that would need two to three days for repairing. Fulfilling all other requirements, Armaan finally walked out of the electronics section just bump into someone.

'Anjie...??,' Armaan exclaimed, surprised to have found her here, of all the places, and that too now. He steadied her almost fall by holding her shoulders and smiled deeply at her friend.

'Armaan! Oh God, you have such a long life...i was JUST thinking about you,' Anjali replied, as they stood blocking the way of people entering the shop. She took hold of his hand on an impulse, and dragged him to a side.

'Aheemmm...Anjie, if my reports are correct, you have just declared your undying love to a man who also happens to be my friend...isn't it too late to hit on me now?,' Armaan's not so wacky comment was rewarded by a smack on his shoulder as Anjali giggled.

'Shut up! I was just...thinking about you...and Ridzi...,' her voice faltered a little, something Armaan seemed to have missed out on at the mention of his girl.

'Aaah! Trust me, that name has been haunting my mind since two days itself...the woman needs to stop stalking my mind....where is she?? Is she here with you?,' Armaan asked expectantly, looking around at a second's thought for any sign of the person he most yearned to see right now.

'Errr...no...Ridzi is at home!! I was just here...with...errm..,' and even before she could reply, the object of her conversation and now her affections too made an entry on the scene, as he slapped Armaan playfully on the arm and side-hugged him.

'Wah wah Champ...agayi meri yaad? tu bohat besharam nikla wese!! Larki kia mili mujhe to bhul hi gaya sallay...woh to acha hua Riddhima ne mujhe tum donon ki sachayi bata di, warna mujhe to pata hi na chalta...!!,' Armaan mock-grieved, yet to receive another slap from Anjali this time.

'Stop it Armaan! Itna drama matt kero....and tell me, tum yahan kia kar rahay ho?,' Armaan grinned despite himself at her tone, which had seemed to match her younger sister's exact interrogating tone at the moment.

'Yaar woh Nikki ko kuch kaam tha...woh choro, Riddhima KAHAN hai??,' he asked at last, out of frustration as he waited for the answer. This time, however, he didn't miss the look Anjali and Atul shared, and new couple though they were, he couldn't miss out the bad signals that were being sent out between them. Instinctively knowing somehow it was related to Riddhima, he questioned again.

"What? Kia hua...? Why aren't you saying anything....,' he quietened as a thought crossed his mind, 'She's fine...right? Riddhima...? She's okay....right?,' his voice quivered a little.

'Armaan...she's fine,' the reply came from Atul this time, though he had been expecting it from Anjali herself.

'She's....didn't she tell you?,' Anjali asked, her tone exceedingly low for his liking. As he shook his head, Nikki made an appearance on the scene, laden with shopping bags and oblivious to the situation around her.

'Tell me what?'

********************************************

Armaan didn't know how long he had been sitting there, he didn't realize how cold his whole being was and that he had been staring into the horizon for so long that the colors of sun-set had disappeared into dense darkness and now, there was no specific point his eyes rested on. His mind was a puzzle full of thoughts; thoughts he couldnt distinguish between and ones that wouldnt go away, try as he might. What he had also been oblivious to was the thick lump that had formed in his throat and that refused to be gone, no matter how hard he tried to swallow it. The one thing he did know, however, was that something was wrong and he hadn't heard them right. Something had maybe made their thinking powers weak, had made his resolve to shatter. This could not be happening..this could...

Riddhima! The thought, the name, was the most prominent and distinct one amongst all the thousands that crossed his mind within the fraction of each second, and he knew suddenly, after what seemed like eons but was actually one one hour of sitting on the cold dark beach, that he had to talk to her. He had to get to her, no matter what, he had to talk to her and sort things out. This was all a huge misunderstanding.

The duo was startled by the sudden jolt of movement from Armaan, who had been sitting so still since they had told him the truth that they had thought he would become a live statue sitting there, and as Anjali looked at a bewildered Armaan walking towards them, Atul gave her hand a final squeeze of what she took to be reassurance and he got up to. Anjali and Nikki, who had been sitting so quietly that it seemed like she hadn't been there all along, followed suit.

A mad man as he seemed to be, Armaan was practically running towards his car, not caring for the three who stood looking at him, taken aback by his sudden reactions. However, he was stopped in his tracks by Atul, who stood the ground firm, literally, in front of him and putting both his hands on Armaan's chest, pushed him back a little.

'NO ARMAAN!,' his voice, thunderous and commanding, stopped Armaan more than his hands could, and he looked at him, a crazy violence in his eyes.

'No...leave me, i have to go...i have to talk to her....he can't, he can NOT do this...i have to..Riddhima...,' even the incoherence of his words wasn't enough for them to not understand what he was saying. Of course, all three were much aware of the shock he was going through.

'Armaan listen...,'

'She's MINE.....he can not take her away from me...i won't let her...she is mine Atul...,' Armaan replied, justifying himself in that being reason enough for his actions. However, this time, he was stopped by Anjali who held his arm.

'Armaan....she's not going anywhere. Aj kuch nahee...Papa sirf ussay kisi se milwana chahtay hain...tum over-react matt kero...aissa nahee hai ke...,' Anjali was cut short by the sudden jerk Armaan gave to her hand resting on his arm as he looked at her angrily.

'Don't you dare Anjie...don't you dare defend him...he wants her to marry someone else, and you are talking about over-reacting? I have to go.' His abrupt turn again left them speechless, and he started walking towards the car again, this time only being followed by Nikki, and the others let her. Maybe only she could knock sense into him.

As they reached his car, Nikki stood in front of the door to stop him from getting in.

'Armaan...meri baat suno please...main tumhain jannay se nahi rok rahi hun, but you do realize that there will be people there...and Dr. Shashank will be there too...you don't want to create a fuss there...'

'I DONT CARE!!,' Armaan shouted out finally, turning on Nikki who was taken aback a little by his loud reaction. 'I dont care, okay? I dont care that there will be people there, and Dr. Shashank will be there...for all I know, he is the one trying to keep my Riddhima away from me....I dont care Nikki...he can NOT marry her off to someone else...even the prospect of her link up with someone else is driving me crazy.....and you don't know him like i do, okay? He wont get me married to her, i know...and i cant let that happen..i WONT let that happen...she has not called me in two days, she's just disappeared..she didnt even TELL me, thats shows what state of mind SHE will be in....I dont care who says what, I am going there...she needs me, and I need her,' and with that, he flung open his car door and sat inside, and within seconds his car had vanished from the scene.

***********************

'Riddhima, beta...please aissa matt kero...please apne Papa ki baat maan jao....Riddhima..?,' Padma's words fell on deaf ears as Riddhima sat in her room, looking down at her floral bed-sheet, along which, unknowingly, her fingers were printing some words she herself wasn't aware of. She wasn't even aware of whatever her mother had been saying to her since the past few minutes, nor of the shocking reality her father had thrown at her face two days ago. Nothing was letting that reality seep into her, and she wouldnt even let it. This was just a dream, a bad, bad dream, she realized.

'RIDDHIMA??? Tum sun rahi ho...?,' At last, her almost-dead eyes rose to look at her mother who stood before her with a worried look on her face and she just nodded, two quick snipes of her face downwards, and then went back to name printing on the bed sheet.

The minutes that followed involved Padma sitting down next to her, caressing her, cajoling her and making her see the logic of her father's decision. A decision that had somehow shaken the belief her mother had in her relationship with Armaan, but a decision that would not let her do the same. Two days ago, her father had informed her that he was getting her married to the son of one of his friend's, who happened to be an accomplished doctor from abroad. Her consent had not even been taken into consideration, for her own choice for marriage had been an enough source of stress and trauma to her parents. She was made to believe that they knew what was best for her, they were her parents and they loved her, and thus she had to do this. They knew best, HE knew best, that was what her father had told her...and she couldn't say a word. She, in fact, wouldn't say a word and had been so since then, quiet, distanced, unrelated to anything that was going on in the house. She had detached herself from her family and work and friends, and she wouldn't talk to anyone, not even to Armaan.

Her mind drifted off to him, and she realized how worried he would be at her sudden disappearance. But she couldn't tell him now, couldn't face him. After all those promises, she couldn't tell him that she was supposedly going to be engaged within a few days, as her father had predicted. Smirk she did now, for her father was unaware of the fact taht she was already engaged to the man she truly loved and who rightfully deserved her, and therefore there was no question of this being a situation. Whatever might happen, she was living through it by the second, not letting it get to her. All she knew at that moment was, that she was only going to marry Armaan. That thing being clear in her head, nothing else mattered.

Now, as her mother finally left the room, convincing herslrf that Riddhima would dress up and come down as per her instructions, Riddhima still sat in the same position, not willing to move. She waited, for she knew what was to come. She waited, knowing that what she knew would happen, would, and no one could stop it. As her fingers printed the name Armaan on the bed-sheet, she waited from him to come. And she knew he would.

************************

'Shashank...main tumhain bata nahee sakta ke AAJ yahan aa ker mujhe kitni khushi ho rahi hai!!,' his long-term friend said with utmost pleasure, true to his words, reflected oin his face as he sat down next to Shashank, who smiled back whole-heartedly as well.

'Haan bhayi...wese to hum hamesha hi atay jatay rehte hain...but aaj yahan annay ki jo wajah hai na, usski khushi main bayaan nahi ker sakta,' he continued, and Shashank nodded gleefully as Padma and Mrs. Jai exchanged similar conversations.

'Sahee main bhai sahab...Riddhima ko bachpan se dekha hai humne...aur aaj uska hi rishta lene aye hain, is se ziada khushi ki baat kia ho sakti hai?,' Nandani expressed her own extreme happiness, as her hosts smiled back at her.

'Bilkul...bilkul sahee kaha apne Bhabhi ji...Riddhima apki beti ki tarah hi hai...aur ab, Bhagwan ne chaha to, jald apki hi beti bann jayegi!!,' Shashank replied, looking over at Padma who had a clipped smile on her face, almost forced.

A similar round of conversation continued over tea as the old people discussed the prospective 'rishta' while the only when left out was the groom-to-be himself. Soon, as it was meant to happen, the to-be-in laws requsted to see Riddhima, and Padma went to beckon her, reappearing 5 minutes later with a smile plastered on her face, saying that she was 'getting ready and would be coming down soon'.

The guy heaved a sigh, of relief or not, it could not be said.

*******************************

Her chain of thoughts was broken by the one sound she had been waiting to hear all evening long, and as her eyes finally rose to the expected balcony, she saw him standing there, his hair a terrible mess and his whole being disheveled, revealing his state of mind to her. Without a second's thought, Riddhima sprang up from her bed with a dexterity of motion her family had thought her ineligible to possess since the news had been showered on her. Even before he could enter her room, Riddhima had landed herself upon him with an embrace so strong it knocked him backwards, and he balanced himself with one hand on the wall behind him and the other on her back. Soon, his back needed no support as her arms secured his waist tightly and his hers, and they were engulfed in a hug that expressed much more than anything else could have, for her tears wetting his shirt and his, her hair, was enough evidence to know what trauma they had gone through in the past few hours.

Armaan's hands moved upto her hair and nestled there, as he whispered in her hair, trying to calm her down as her resolve broke with the onset of tears so strong they left her hiccuping. Taking a firm hold of her nape with both his hands around it, he made her look up and as she did, he wiped away the tears from right below her eyes with a finality that surprised him himself. Riddhima took a gush of air and tried to calm herself down, her nerves not allowing her too. As she finally spoke up, in a hoarse voice, all she was able to say was, 'You are cold.'

His reply was, in no way, relevant to her signal towards his extremely cold fingers that gently stroked her face right now.

'I am here.'

Riddhima, who had been expecting a much different reply, knew then that he had taken the blow like a man, his resolve had broken but just before her, and he had yet again put his guard up, ready to fight for himself, for their love, for them. She nodded distractedly, taking his hand in hers and rubbing it unconsciously, trying to bring the warmth back to it. Armaan smiled at her concern and kissed her forehead, an act that seemed to spread warmth from the tip of where his lips touched to all her extremities, and as she leaned into the kiss, into him, closer, he whispered onto her skin, again, reassuring her....

'I am here Riddhima...'

***************************


The minutes of waiting were over for the anxious guests as the door of Riddhima's room opened, the creak of which sounded down to the hall and they all became quiet, waiting for their prospective daughter-in-law to make an entrance. However, a scene totally unexpected and uncalled for greeted them as two figures, instead of one, emerged from the room, the other being a guy in the most messed up state ever. Riddhima was still in her normal dress, not in the saree Padma had set aside for her to wear, and she was holding the guy's hand in hers, their fingers clasped around each other so tightly it was difficult to distinguish whose was which. Their descent down the stairs, with looks of determination so strong it was difficult to look at them for long, was enough for the guests to go into an unknown frenzy, as the father and mother of the guy stared at each other with shock written on their faces and the guy himself wearing a very puzzled look. However, the look of Shashank's face was unexplainable, as all color left it to be replaced by an anger and fury so strong it seemed to be bursting out of his veins.

'RIDDHIMA!'

The anger in his voice seemed to shake the very foundation and walls of the house as it ringed through the silence, and everyone waited. Riddhima and Armaan walked forward still, coming to stand before her furious anger, but before either could say a word, another voice, not heard before in the house rang though, this one a question more than an angry exclamation. As the guy turned to look at a sudden rustle of voices that had come from the entrance door, the floor beneath his feet literally vibrated as he heard his name being called...

'Abhimanyu Modi?'

************************************



okaaay guys..part 82 is up! I know, i know...you must be cursing me right now for one, the LATE update, and two, a short one at that...but i guess its the right length i had thought of, had everything i wanted in it...and yeah, three, its coming very close to the end :) i know, kill me all that you can, BUT it has to, and thats the sensibility in it...you knw it and i know it so no point in cribbing :) we take things like they come....and we have to, whether we like it or not!! And yeah, there was an end i had thought differently of, but that wud have been toooo long to cover and again, im not up for writing this now.,..i do not want to extend it to the limit that its no longer interesting...so this is the near-to end...NO, dont die yet...i stil have 1-2 parts to cover...! So umm...comments will be VERY much welcome alongside the galian u guys are gonna throw at me...laterzz guys!

Kiran


Edited by Pebblez - 16 November 2009 at 7:09am

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Pebblez

Goldie

Pebblez

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Posted: 19 June 2009 at 8:05am | IP Logged
*and a last...

'Dr. Riddhima, come to Dr. Gupta's office...Dr. Riddhima.'

The announcement of her name over the PA system made Riddhima smile widely, and putting on her lab coat, she walked out of the resident's locker room and headed towards the said office. Looking around, she couldn't stop herself from smiling, and greeted all the people she met on her way, the people she had known since what she now called, the better part of her life. Reaching the head's office, she nervously adjusted her lab coat and the stethoscope around her neck, just like a new intern and knocked on the door. Hearing a 'come in' in the familiar voice, she smiled and opened the door. On the chair in front of her sat her father, his hair slightly grayed at the sides now, with spectacles on, looking at some random file. She got his attention after clearing her throat, and he looked up, with a smile that reached his eyes.

'Aah, Dr. Riddhima..back on duty, huh?,' he grinned, and Riddhima rushed over to give him a hug. Shashank hugged her back and made her sit in front of him.

'Riddhima, main bata nahi sakta hun ke tumhare is decision se mujhe kitni khushi hui hai...after all, aik doctor ko apni responsibilities kabhi nahi bhulni chahiye, right?,' he rose his eyebrows at her and she nodded back.

'Right, Papa...yehi to ap ne humain humesha sikhaya hai!,' Riddhima, his little young princess, was such a grown up woman now; Shashank mused.

'Okay, so...yeh rahi tumhare pehle case ki file. Hope you flourish and reach the ultimate heights of success, God bless you beta!,' He wished her good luck, handing over the file to her, which Riddhima took and sighed happily.

'Thank you, Papa!!'

With that, she walked out of his cabin, now a resident-in-charge, back on duty after 2 whole years. She couldn't believe it had been so long, for she had taken off since she ha gotten pregnant with Emaan and had not come back since, as a doctor. Now that Emaan was 1 and a half years old, she had decided, along with the consent and happiness of Armaan, that she wanted to be back at Sanjeevani. They had worked out an arrangement for Emaan; she would be at the hospital day care center for the time they spent in the hospital, and both Armaan and Riddhima would keep checking on her from time to time. They had worked out their working hours too, accommodating time according to Emaan's. Riddhima had just arrived at the hospital, after dropping Emaan at the day care while Armaan had been here for a couple of hours already.

As she turned the corner of the cafeteria, she peeked inside to see whether he was around, but couldn't find him anywhere. So engrossed was she in her activity, that she didn't realize when she tripped over her own dupatta and made herself ready for a fall. However, she landed into a pair of arms she could recognize anywhere in the world, and smiled even though her eyes were closed. When she opened them, she found Armaan grinning at her, holding her really close. Winking at her, he said, 'Attay hi girney ki practice shuru? Not a bad start at all, Riddhima!!,'

She smacked him playfully and then stood straight, moving out of his hold, flustered as ever; putting her dupatta in place and trying to hold on to her file too. Armaan looked at her, his head a little tilted, and smiled ever so sweetly at her, with a look in his eyes that made Riddhima blush slightly. He put her hair, customary as it was, behind her hair and lightly caressed her cheek with his fingers. Riddhima suddenly came to her senses when she saw the people passing by them in the corridor, snickering at them. With a slight push, she moved away from Armaan and glared at him.

'Armaan...log dekh rahay hain!! Kia kar rahay ho?,' her remark made him grin impishly, as they started walking down the corridor to the nurses station.

'Ridddhimmaaa....yeh to main pichlay 5 saal se ker raha hun...tumhain abhi takk samajh nahi ayi ke main KIA kar raha hoon?,' she blushed profusely at his crass comment and elbowed him slightly in his ribs to make him move away as they reached the nurses station where his interns were waiting for him. Riddhima greeted Sister Lovely and started looking over her file, standing a few feet away from Armaan, who was now instructing his interns.

'....aur Dr. Neha, ap aj OPD main hongi,' as his interns started scuttling away, he stopped them. 'Aik second, interns! I have to make another announcement..,' the interns turned around again and Riddhima looked up from her file, curious to know what the announcement was.

'Aaj humain Sanjeevani ke aik bohat puranay member ne rejoin kia hai...and I want to introduce her to you all..,' he said, smiling widely as Riddhima looked at him surprised, 'She's a very competent doctor, one of the best, and I am sure ap sab bhi bohat jald unke fan ho jayenge, like me...,' he turned slightly and winked at her as she gave him a scandalized look, 'She's none other than our very own, Dr. Riddhima!!'

His interns looked at him, surprised, for they were well aware of Riddhima being his wife but had no clue of her joining back. Riddhima now turned, pleasantly surprised at this welcome, and thanked all the interns who now greeted her. Armaan pulled her arm slightly to make her stand closer to him, and when the interns had dispersed, he moved his head down a little, so that his nose was grazing her ear as he spoke, sending shivers down her spine.

'Welcome back, Dr. Mallik,' Riddhima gasped as he planted such a light kiss on her earlobe that she herself wondered whether it actually happened or had she imagined it. However, even before she could react, she saw Armaan walking down the corridor, smiling at the nurses and the ward-boys as he went. Riddhima looked at his retreating figure and smiled contentedly, speculating how they had come so far; from the day Shashank had nearly brought them close to a break-up to now, when they were a blissfully, happily married couple

****************************************

FLASHBACK:

The knot of their hands slightly loosened as Armaan heard the two words that had left Nikki's mouth, and he gaped from Nikki to Riddhima to the guy standing motionless, facing the door where his best friend stood. Riddhima, confused by the turn of events, turned to look at Armaan and saw his eyes frown, as if he was trying to figure out something he couldn't quite understand. Meanwhile, Abhimanyu and Nikki stared at each other, the former in utmost shock of finding HER here, of all the people, and the latter following suite. It was like a scene picked right out of a Hindi film, a sudden twist of events.

'Abhi?,' His name now fell from her mouth like a gasp, and the person in question took a step forward, towards her, while all eyes followed him. He stood in front of her now, only a few inches away, and moments passed as he looked into her eyes. Then suddenly, he quipped around and looked at his parents.

'Mom..Dad, mujhe Nikki se baat kerni hai....I need to talk to her, alone.'

The sudden revolving of focus from Armaan Riddhima to Abhimanyu Nikki was something his parents couldn't digest well. His father was about to speak up when Abhi turned back towards Nikki, not caring to hear a word of what he was saying and looked at her intently. Without a word, as if she had no control over any action of hers, she quietly followed him to a room at the side of the hall, and everyone else was left gaping. Now that they had left, everyone's focus returned back to the former couple.

Shashank, who was by now shaking with fury, looked at Riddhima and said, in a dangerously low tone, ' Yeh yahan per kia kar raha hai, Riddhima?,' his gaze shifting to Armaan. Riddhima gulped and was about to answer when Armaan started talking.

'Main yahan khud aya hun Sir, mujhe Riddhima ne nahi bulaya hai,' he replied, in a tone that matched Shashank's.

'Dr. Mallik, ap jante hain ke apka mere ghar mein yun meri permission ke bina dakhil hona, ap ke liye kitni barri problem kharri ker sakta hai....I would recommend,in fact, I would want you to leave this very moment.' Shashank ordered with a finality in his voice. However, Armaan stood adamantly at his spot.

'Sir main Riddhima ko chor ker kahin nahi jaunga,'. His comment awoke more fury in Shashank, who stepped forward as if to throttle him, only to be held back by Padma.

'Dr. Mallik...,'

'Armaan, Sir. Mera naam Armaan hai, aur iss waqt main yahan aik doctor ki tarah nahi aya hun,' Armaan replied, his eyes looking up at Shashank, and he felt Riddhima's hand shake in his.

'Yeh sab kia ho raha hai Shashank...yeh larka kaun hai?,' Jai Modi spoke up at last, bewildered at the events taking place before him. Shashank turned an apologetic face towards him and said, 'I am so sorry Jai...can you give us a few minutes? We will just be back.'

Trying to save some face of his family in front of his friends, he moved away to another room, followed by his wife, Armaan and Riddhima. Anjali and Atul, who had followed Nikki, now stood in the hall, astounded by whatever had taken place. They decided to stay in the hall, to at least provide some company to the guests, who were in a misery of their own by now.

***

'Riddhima, yeh kia badtamizi hai?,' Shashank had spoken up as soon as they had reached the room, to which they had excused themselves to. Riddhima looked into his eyes, her eyes now swarming with tears as she tried to speak up, but Shashank wouldn't let her. 'Tumhain meri izzat ki zara bhi parwah nahi hai?'

'Papa, apko meri zindagi ki zara bhi parwah nai hai kia? Ap jantey hain ke main Armaan ke siwa se shadi nahi kerungi, phir ap kyun mujhe iss torture se guzaar rahay hain,' Riddhima spoke up, agitated at her father's behaviour. Armaan pressed her hand quietly, as she started to say something more. He was stopping her? But why?

This time, Armaan interrupted the conversation.

'Sir, main janta hun ke ap mujhe aik acha larka nahin mantay. Mera behaviour, meri harkatain, mera appearance, apko kuch pasand nahi hai...yahan takk ke mere parents bhi. I know all that Sir, but I just want you to know how much I love your daughter. Sir, yeh sab maine apko sharminda kerne ke liye nahi kiya, but I want you to realize what we mean to each other. Apko lagta hai ke ap Riddhima ki shadi kisi aur se kar dainge to woh khush re payegi? Ap khush reh payenge? Sir, aap...'

'Armaan, mujhe matt batao ke mujhe apni beti ki life mein kia karna hai aur kia nahi. Riddhima ki shadi tum se harr giz nahi hogi.'

'Aur Riddhima ki shadi meri siwa bhi kisi se nahi hogi, Sir.' Armaan replied, with a dangerous adamance in his voice. Shashank looked from him to his daughter, and moved forward in a fury to break the knot that was formed by their hands. But he was stopped mid-way, surprisingly, by Padma. He looked at her in surprise.

'Shashank, ap ghalat kar rahay hain....please aissa matt kijiye! Yeh donon sach main aik doosrey se bohat pyar kerte hain. To kia hua agar Armaan ne kuch ghaltian ki hain...hum barray hain, humain mauf ker dena chahiye!,' Padma spoke up and Shashank looked at her, shocked out of his wits by the sudden change in his wife. Padma now stood next to Riddhima, who was crying silently.

'I can't believe this..Padma tum...,' Another interruption came in the form of Anjali, who now stood at the door.

'Dad....Jai Uncle ap se kuch baat kerna chahte hain!,' she said, looking uncertainly from her father to Padma and then at Armaan Riddhima. Shashank puffed out a waft of air, stressed by the events taking place, and strode out of the room. As soon as he did, Riddhima collapsed into Armaan's arms, crying bitterly. Armaan looked at her, worriedly, as he lead her towards the bed and made her sit there, his arm around her as she cried into his chest. Padma and Anjali both hurried towards her, all three of them trying to soothe her down but she wouldn't stop crying.

'Riddhima...Riddhima, please, rona band kero!! Nothing's wrong...kuch nahi hoga, I promise! Main hun na...Why are you crying? Ridddhimmaa!!,' Nothing he said could make her stop crying. She just looked at Padma, held her hand while her other rested on Armaan's chest and cried even more loudly.

Padma looked at Anjali, with a tense expression on her face, and the latter ran to get her a glass of water. She looked at Armaan helplessly, who blinked at her reassuringly.

'Auntie, you should go out...I will take care of her...Dont worry!,' Padma nodded at his comment, knowing that she was wanted outside, whatever was happening, she needed to witness it herself. As she left the two alone in the room, Armaan hugged Riddhima tightly and calmed her down.

"Ssssh...Riddhima! Please rona band kero...you can not break down right now...you can NOT...please, for me..stop crying!,' Maybe it was his words that finally effected her or the hug, he didn't know, but he felt her sobs subside a little and she looked up at him, her face tear-stricken.

'I am....I am sorry Armaan..I shouldn't have...,' she breathed, hiccuping through her words. Armaan smiled at her affectionately, and wiping away the tears from her cheek, he whispered, 'It's okay...it's okay..,'

The glass of water Anjali brought her helped her regain her composure again, and Armaan smiled at Anjali thankfully, while she just nudged his shoulder comfortingly.

After a few moments, that had seemed like a decade, they stopped hearing the soft murmur of voices that had been coming from the hall and there was complete silence now. Armaan looked from Riddhima to Anjali, and they both gave him unsure looks. He nodded at them, as if words were no longer a need to communicate, and they all simultaneously walked out of the room, Armaan's hand still holding Riddhima's.

To their surprise, they found the hall empty this time, for the Modis had left; when, they weren't aware of that. However, Shashank and Padma did fill the room with presence, especially because both were so silent; the silence before the storm, they call it? It was, more like, after one. The only other person in the room apart from them was Atul, who stood behind the sofa, aimlessly looking around, a troubled look on his face. On their entrance into the hall, Padma looked up at them and gave them a small smile. A hopeful one. Armaan's spirits lifted, ever so slightly.

'Shashank...,' Padma whispered, making her husband look up, first at her, then at the trio that had entered the room. As if all the energy had gone out of him, he looked back down, his hands clasped together, his eyes focusing on them. He looked like a man who had lost all battles. Seeing her father for the first time in a state like this, dejected, defeated; Riddhima pulled her hand away from Armaan's and on an instinct, ran towards her father, not even aware of her own actions. Throwing herself into his arms, she broke down yet again.

She herself wasn't aware how many times she apologized to her father; for she had done to him what she had promised herself never to do. It was as if she had fallen in her own eyes, committed a mistake she wouldn't ever thought herself capable of; for she held her father in the highest esteem. To have broken his heart, injured his pride; she couldn't bring herself to accept the fact that she had been the one who had done it, so she apologized. Not for loving Armaan, but for breaking her father's heart, his pride in her. Soon, she found her father englufing her in a hug, patting her hair, and she knew she had been forgiven by him, that very moment. Yet she was also aware of the fact that it'd take years for her to forgive herself for what she had done.

Armaan looked at her, and for the umpteenth time he found another reason; why he loved her. She was this epitome of perfection when it came to relationships; she had this perfect image of herself as the exemplary daughter, sister, girlfriend or friend; whatever role she was playing. He knew how hard it was for her to accept that she had flawed one of her most cherished relationships; but he also knew she would do it again if need arose. His heart melted as he looked at the only girl he had ever loved.

Padma held Shashank's hand as he hugged Riddhima, and as he looked at her through wet eyes himself, she nodded at him. After a moment's hesitance, he nodded back at her too and Padma smiled genuinely. Pulling Riddhima away from himself, he looked at her as she cried, hiccuping. Armaan shifted in his place, unable to see Riddhima like this but knowing it wasn't his place, right now, to say anything.

"I am sorry Papa...I am so sorry! Maine apko...,' she was crying so badly that she couldn't speak now, and Padma patted her hair, while Shashank looked at her affectionately.

'It's okay beta...Abhimanyu ne wese bhi shadi ke liye inkaar ker dia hai!,'

His statement made Armaan jolt back into his senses, and he mumbled 'Nikki...' to himself, knowing things would have worked out between them.He smiled; he was happy for his best friend. Meanwhile, Riddhima looked at Shashank in shock and asked, 'WHAT?'

'Haan beta...aur mujhe lagta hai mujhe aur isharon ki zaroorat nahi hai...Armaan, come here...,' Shashank looked at Armaan who was yet again taken by surprise. Shashank held onto her shoulder and made her stand. Armaan walked upto them, thinking how this seemed exactly like some Indian film he would have seen....how had it become his story?

At that very moment, as Armaan walked towards her, Riddhima knew they had won their battle...she knew the worst was over. And sure enough, the need of some high point climax wasn't required; her father had given in, after seeing the relentless support of her mother towards them, and the undying love they both shared. Not surprisingly, Shashank put Riddhima's hand in Armaan's as he stood close to them, and Riddhima closed her eyes, heaving a sigh of relief. They had won, they had gotten through...now nothing could separate them, ever. They were to be, now and forever, together.

What happened in the next few weeks wasn't unexpected. Riddhima and Armaan officially got engaged, much to the glee and happiness of the whole hospital that was invited, and soon after that, Atul gathered the courage to ask Anjali's hand for marriage. Unlike Armaan, Atul had always been in Shashank's good books, and it didn't take a lot of persuasion from everyone to make him agree. Armaan, meanwhile, was on the ninth cloud, having gotten everything he had ever wished for. He was on his best behaviour in the hospital now, trying to impress Shashank, who would see right through his efforts but still appreciated him for his hard work.

As it came to be known later, Nikki and Abhimanyu sorted out their differences that very day, for he had made her aware of how his family had been going through the most tumultuous time and he had to come back due to financial and personal crisis. Acknowledging the fact that he had been wrong at having left her like that, he apologized fervently, and even though Nikki knew it would take a lot of time for her to fully forgive him, she wanted to give him a chance.

Riddhima and Armaan got married at the end of the year, only a week after Anjali and Atul did. Since then, life couldn't be more beautiful and they couldn't wish for anything more....for they have each other and that was all that they wanted. Their love strengthened over the years, and when their daughter was born, it was Riddhima who decided to name her Emaan. Armaan was so touched by this action of hers that he had been rendered speechless, and had just hugged her for the longest time ever.

*******
Now, as Riddhima stood looking at the photograph in his office, tired after the long day at work she had had, she thought of the years that had gone by and smiled to herself. Lightly caressing Armaan's face in the picture, she thanked God for the trillionth time for having him in her life. He was, in every way, in every part of her life; a son to the Guptas, a perfect husband, the father of her child...what else could she ask for?

The door of his cabin opened and she turned, putting the photo frame back, as Armaan entered the room with Emaan in his arms, talking to her endlessly, holding her back-pack and water bottle. Riddhima smiled and stepped forward; taking her daughter in her arms, she kissed her head and nuzzled in her neck. Armaan, meanwhile, took off his lab coat and stethoscope, and put it on the table.

'Long day, Dr. Mallik?,' she asked him in a cheerful tone, and he grinned at her.

'Yes, sweetheart...All I can think of now is a hot bath and a sexy massage by my very sexy wife...,' Armaan replied in a husky tone, hugging her from the back and nuzzling her neck as she laughed. Pulling away from him, she frowned.

'Yeah right! Your sexy wife stinks of blood and surgeries...tum Muskaan se milne gaye?,' He shook his head at her comment, and her eyes widened.

'ARMAAN! Its been 3 hours...tum AB takk nahi gaye...?,'

'Riddhima...yaar, I was in surgery..back to back! Chalo na, abhi chalte hain...!,' He put an arm around her and they walked out of the office towards Muskaan's ward.

As they entered the room, they saw Muskaan lying on the bed, her eyes closed peacefully as Anjali, Rahul and Atul crooned over the baby crib lying next to Muskaan's bed. A smile spread on both Riddhima's and Armaan's face as they saw the scene in the room, and Riddhima moved first towards Muskaan, who opened her eyes at their arrival, with Emaan in her arms. Armaan, however, moved towards the crib and looked down at its beautiful little inhabitant with awe. He breathed in lightly with wonderment as his eyes landed on the little bundle of joy lying in the crib, sleeping peacefully.

'Isn't she beautiful?,' Rahul mumbled lightly, caressing his 3 hour old daughter's tiny fingers.

'She is...she's....beautiful!,' Armaan breathed out, lightly fondling the baby's head. 'Can I pick her up?,'

His answer came, this time by Muskaan, who spoke, in a tone lower than her usual, 'NO you can't! Not unless you congratulate her mother and apologize for you very late arrival!'

Armaan grinned and moved over to Muskaan, and took her into a big bear hug, kissing her temple affectionately. 'I can't believe you are a mother now...our Muski?,' he chuckled and she frowned cutely.

'Yeah, kind of takes more than nine months for you to get the idea in your head, doesn't it?,' she shot back at him and they both laughed. Then he congratulated Rahul, and asked again, 'NOW can I pick her up?'

'NO! You will drop her...exactly like you were about to with Emaan...wait, let me show you!,' Riddhima said, and putting Emaan down who followed her mother to the crib, she stood next to Armaan. Very carefully picking up the baby in her arms, she settled her in to the crook of her arm and the baby turned her head to rest it next to Riddhima's bosom. She smiled, and turned towards Armaan, who, instead of taking the kid himself, put his arms around Riddhima's, which were holding the kid, and rested his head on Riddhima's shoulder. Emaan clung to Armaan's leg playfully, and he smiled down at her.

Both of them looked at the baby affectionately, in awe at the miracles of nature, and after a few seconds of blissful silence, Armaan whispered into her ear, slightly nibbling onto it, 'What say, Dr. Riddhima?'

He didn't even need to complete the sentence, for she looked at him and gave him such a blushing smile that he couldn't help himself but kiss her on her cheek tightly, which made her chuckle. Moving away from her, he picked Emaan in his arms and twirled her around, laughing gleefully. Turning to look at his friends, and then at Riddhima, he said, 'To a lifetime of happiness...and love'

And to that, all of them replied, with a loud whoop of laughter, 'Cheers!'.

***************************

Edited by Pebblez - 01 December 2009 at 4:57am

The following 23 member(s) liked the above post:

mudipridarshi9deadly-kisschahat_jkd_luvdmg#1inocencemak3mesmileday_lilyARCaskettFanRhea.KaJen..deepu..riddhima1maanudesire_20cutiepreetSunainaTM007LOVE_DMGshonagudiaKaranShilpa:)Ethereal-PathArushiBS-Amby-

riddhima1

Goldie

riddhima1

Joined: 22 September 2008

Posts: 1035

Posted: 19 June 2009 at 8:09am | IP Logged

hey kiran di....congratulations wow its 5th thread tat too on its b'day....its double party time............Party

cont soon

KaranShilpa:)

IF-Rockerz

KaranShilpa:)

Joined: 20 August 2008

Posts: 6562

Posted: 19 June 2009 at 8:23am | IP Logged

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you :D
 
yeah okay so u drew me back here to read it for the third time under circumstances u cant even imagine (my doggiez literally dragging me to take her for a walk n dominoes just bestowed me with what looks like an already eaten full covered with green olives arrggghhhh pizza) Dead
 
Yeah so achcha tha, though it CUD hv been longer *the stern luk reappears* n it definitely CUD hv a precap *raises eyes* but watever little it was *ahem* it was exactly what i wanted to read, so four n a half stars :D
 
I think we shud celebrate birthdayz almost everyday for getting just updates ;)
 
btw, can u think of anything else, my love, to call me...?


Edited by KaranShilpa:) - 19 June 2009 at 11:57am

riddhima1

Goldie

riddhima1

Joined: 22 September 2008

Posts: 1035

Posted: 19 June 2009 at 8:25am | IP Logged

hey di....awesome part dearClap

thx for this fabulous part
woww anji was back to normal
AR kisses r so lovelyWinkEmbarrassed
hope shanky too approves AR relation
cont soon


Edited by riddhima1 - 19 June 2009 at 8:34am

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