Posted: 19 June 2009 at 8:04am | IP Logged
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.
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.
'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.
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....
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! :)
Edited by Pebblez - 22 October 2009 at 11:49am