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Maslow's hierarchy of needs #3 pt 40 page 56 (Page 4)

bernard shaw Goldie
bernard shaw
bernard shaw

Joined: 10 December 2008
Posts: 1376

Posted: 05 July 2009 at 2:46pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by na2339

okay so i've never commented... been a silent reader for like... EVER but seeing this 3rd thread being opened had me so excited i had to say
 
YAY Wacko YAY  Silly YAY Dancing
 
lol sorry about the momentary madness, can't wait to read more of this story.
 
Lubna Embarrassed
 
 
Hi Lubna, am SO glad that you decided to break your silence and comment!
 
Welcome to the thread and hope to see you here more often........ I am glad that you have enjoyed the story so far....shall update soon!
bernard shaw Goldie
bernard shaw
bernard shaw

Joined: 10 December 2008
Posts: 1376

Posted: 05 July 2009 at 2:47pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by SaziArmaan

CongratulationClapClap
for da new Thread SAM!
 
You totally deserve it...
 
and your ff id even more amazing...
 
Please cont. ASAP!
 
Luv SAZ!
 
Thanks sweetheart, that was so sweet....shall update super soon!
bernard shaw Goldie
bernard shaw
bernard shaw

Joined: 10 December 2008
Posts: 1376

Posted: 05 July 2009 at 2:59pm | IP Logged

Part XXXVI

 
It had been three weeks since Shashank had been moved from the ICU and tonight he was finally coming home. Ridhima and Muskaan had left school a little early and spent the afternoon getting the house ready for Shashank and decorating the house a little bit to welcome him home. At around 5 o'clock Muskaan had pushed Ridhima out insisting that she needed to be with her mother to get Shashank home. Muskaan would make sure whatever else needed to be done got done.
 
 
Armaan and Rahul had picked Ridhima up and Muskaan had been tempted to go with them if only to try and talk to Rahul. Ever since his unexpected admission the other day, he had maintained a distance between them. No, it wasn't as if he ignored her or walked away when she came over, in fact on the contrary it was almost like they were back to being freshers living through their first week of school. He joked with Ridhima and her, pulled their leg, did tea breaks together, sat with them in the library but underneath all of this she sensed an aloofness which saddened and irritated her by turns.  It was almost like he was deliberately holding back, though on the surface he was the Rahul that she had met as a fresher. What had he said the first day that they met when Ridhima and she had been nattering away "I can see I am going to be the silent partner in this three some". So true, well at least in involvement if not in words, Muskaan thought ruefully, a smile playing on her lips as she remembered Rahul on the stage playing the saxophone.... Charlie Parker! Who would have thought their lives would take such a turn? That they would fall in love with each other, so unlike yet attracted, and yet unable to admit to and accept each other. One too stubborn to back track and the other caught up in her insecurities and irrational anger. They made a fine pair!
 
 
She had tried to find an occasion to get Rahul alone to talk to him but there never seemed to be an opportunity or perhaps Rahul manipulated situations so that there were none or perhaps, if she was fair, sometimes her nerves failed her. What would she tell him? That she had not been angry? That she had been lost for words hearing him articulate something that had occupied her waking thoughts for a while now. She didn't know whether Ridhima had noticed the change in the nature of Rahul and her interaction and she had been sorely tempted to confide in her but Ridhima had her own share of pre-occupations and it was not fair to burden her any more than she already had.
 
 
As she showered, Muskaan wondered how Ridhima had dealt with the Anjali issue with Armaan. She was sure Ridhima would not have made a mess of things like she, Muskaan, had. But then Ridhima was far more mature and balanced than she was, and Armaan? How had he dealt with it? Knowing that Ridhima was just a little insecure about Anjali? Had he also said a lot of things to Ridhima, only to repent at leisure or had he been sensible about it? No, Armaan wouldn't let something like this come between them. What had he said that day at the steps? "We all want to fall in love. Because that experience makes us feel completely alive. Where every sense is heightened, every emotion is magnified; our everyday reality is forgotten....It may only last a moment, an hour, and an afternoon. But that doesn't diminish its value because we are left with memories that we treasure for the rest of our lives....so why would you not want to grab that chance at happiness?"
 
 
Armaan's words were still going through her mind as she stepped out of the bath to get ready. Armaan had been right. Why would you not want to grab at a chance at happiness? Did she not care enough about Rahul to try and force this barrier between them to disappear?  Couldn't she force Rahul to at least talk to her? What if he turned around and told her he didn't care? Oh God, this was too complicated, she didn't know what she would do, but she needed to do something, at least talk to Rahul. If nothing else, she looked nice, she decided looking at her reflection critically, as she got ready to go down and wait for Atul to get the cake that they had ordered.
 
 
***************                        
 
 
 Ankit smiled as he watched Ridhima pace up and down outside the hospital room as she waited for her father to be sponged and changed. Se had fussed around him so much that Padma had finally shooed her out.There was something very childlike and endearing in her ill-concealed impatience. He could sense her excitement, at having her dad finally come home, warring with her impatience for this to happen at the earliest. He had been ambivalent about coming to the hospital, hesitant to impose his presence on what would obviously be a family occasion but finally his desire to be with Ridhima had won. His fears were put to rest by her pleasant surprise on seeing him. He explained that he had to visit a relative who was admitted at Breach Candy ' she'd just had a baby ' so he thought he would drop in to see her dad. A flimsy excuse, he had to admit but that was the best that he could come up with. He could hardly tell her that he had come for her, could he?
 
 
Rahul had gone down to ask them to prepare the bills and as he had expected Armaan was there, but wouldn't he be? He, Ankit was there because he wanted to be there with her at such a big moment so wouldn't Armaan be there? But that still didn't take away the twinge of regret and helplessness that he felt. Had Anjali been right? Was he being a fool to not give himself a chance? Didn't he owe himself a chance at happiness? Did he have the courage to tell her that he loved her and take the consequences, whatever they may be? He couldn't be worse off than he was now, minus the woman he was in love with! 
 
 
Troubled by thoughts that warred with his sense of fair play and friendship, he wasn't prepared for the jab of jealousy that shot through him as Armaan placed a hand on her shoulder interrupting her pacing, shaking his head imperceptibly, but enough for Ridhima to acknowledge with brief smile and a nod, evocative of emotional intimacy. She sat down on the bench in the corridor as Armaan stepped out for a moment. It was not the act itself as much as the underlying obvious comfort and familiarity in the exchange that he envied. What else had he expected? Isn't this what he had always conjectured? Yet why was he so affected by it? These were two people whom he cared about  - one his closest friend and the other the woman he was in love with - could he really hurt them both by an admission of his own feelings? Wouldn't it destroy two dear relationships forever? Was he willing to gamble two existing important relationships for an improbable wishful one?
 
 
Lost in his thoughts, he did not realise that he had been staring at Ridhima till she raised her head questioningly. Flustered, he just shook his head when Ridhima surprised him by asking him to come and sit next to him. "All ok?' she asked quietly.
 
 
"Hmm" he nodded not wanting to pursue the conversation.
 
 
"Liar...the frown on your face told a different story" she whispered knowingly as he smiled and looked down, "but if you don't want to talk it's ok..."
 
 
"No, it's not that I don't want to talk, it's just something that I need to clear in my head ...a battle between what is the right thing to do and what I really want to do....often they are different and while traditional wisdom and norms say choose the right, I am not sure it's so easy to actually follow..."
 
 
 
"Sometimes I think the difference between right and wrong is only perspective.....so I guess...'
 
 
 
"Ah but then there is no dichotomy, no ambivalence, no doubts and no wrong because if the perspective is yours, everything that you do is right, right?"
 
 
 
'Theoretically yes" Ridhima acknowledged, "but there is a small question of sphere of influence and impact...which needs to temper perspective" Ridhima looked surprised as Ankit broke out laughing, 'What did I say?"
 
 
"Are you ever lost for words or an argument?" he asked smiling, 'and I think your dad must be ready by now, you better go and check" As he watched her jump up and head inside the room, he had to admit she was worth fighting for. He was glad that he had turned down her invite to join them all at home. It was born out of politeness on Ridhima's part and not only would it have been presumptuous of him but more importantly he had to clear his head ...to be or not to be? Perspective indeed!
 
 
**********************                 
 
 
It was almost 10 o'clock before everyone decided to call it a day and head back home. Shashank had been surprised at the effort that Ridhima and Muskaan had put in, to welcome him back home and the smile that wouldn't leave Padma's face spoke volumes of the anxiety that she must have suffered while he had been in the hospital. After an hour or so Padma and Shashank had decided to call it a day, not wanting Shashank to tire himself out. Padma had insisted that the kids all stay back for dinner and Atul had suggested ordering Indian in. Surprisingly Muskaan had firmly refused to do so, ordering Chinese instead, knowing that it was Rahul's favourite cuisine .....a peace offering of sorts...an effort that did not even elicit a smile or an acknowledgement from Rahul much to her chagrin....
 
 
The five of them had sat around chatting; pulling each other's legs till a yawning Muskaan had declared that she needed to get back home at the earliest before she passed out. While Ridhima had insisted she spend the night here, Muskaan had declined ..... she had too much to think through and figure what she wanted to do, when and how. Rahul had continued to be friendly at a superficial level but stayed aloof otherwise. She had tried to talk to him a number of times, but she was unable to penetrate the mask of geniality and politeness that he wore. She could sense the restraint in him, almost like he pulled back whenever he was around her, and that feeling irritated her the whole evening slowly building into an irrational resentment of Rahul's behaviour with her.
 
 
Refusing Armaan and Atul's offer to drop her, Muskaan had been surprised when Rahul offered to drop her. She shook her head vehemently, indicating that she preferred to go home alone .....she was a big girl in case Rahul had not noticed but she could look after herself.
 
 
'I wish.." Rahul had muttered under his breath, guiltily looking away as Muskaan turned to give him a murderous look as she heard him. Ridhima, Armaan and Atul thought it was a very sensible idea, and, Muskaan gave in, too tired to argue.
 
 
As they drove back home, she saw the street lamps flash by in a haze, there was a part of her that wanted to reach out and talk to Rahul, that told her that there wouldn't be another time like this but she was too tired, emotionally and physically to deal with another confrontation or long explanations right now. All she wanted to do was to curl up in bed and sleep and she walked up to her apartment with Rahul almost sleepwalking. She looked at Rahul's questioning look before she realised that she needed to fish her keys out to open the door. God, why didn't she have a purse that had neat pockets? Why could she never find things when she needed them? She rummaged around impatiently in her bag, Rahul looking on with a bland expression, while she struggled to find her key. God, now he must think she was incompetent as well! Curse him, who had asked him to drop her home, she sulked all her irritation, irrationally getting focussed on Rahul.
 
 
"Give me your key" Rahul said at the door, as he watched her trying to fit the key in.
 
 
"I don't need you to open the door...."she declared childishly as she fumbled with the key trying to fit it into the lock, "For your information, I am tired and not drunk". Darned these silly Godrej locks in Bombay, she cursed under her breath. Why couldn't they have an old fashioned latch lock and key! Finally managing to fit the key in, she turned it to open the door, all the while looking at Rahul defiantly, daring him to utter a word. "Thank you, as you can see I have managed to open the door without any mishap and should be able to find my way in" she said sardonically resting a hand against the door frame, "and oh yes, thank you so much for dropping me home". She must have left a window open somewhere in the house creating cross ventilation, because before Rahul could say anything, a draught of wind flung the door back, catching Muskaan's fingers in between as she yelped in pain.
 
 
"Look what you have made me do now!" she burst out in childish outrage, holding the fingers of her right hand in her left, alternately blowing at them and sucking them in a bid to ease the pain. Seeing the fingers beginning to turn blue and blood beginning to ooze a little on one of the fingers,  Rahul tried to reach out for her hand,"Muskaan just let me have a look.....please.....you'll need an ice pack.."
 
 
She snatched her hand away, the blood brushing off on Rahul's shirt, as suddenly all her resentment of Rahul's behaviour over the last few days, found a voice, "I attended school, worked to get the house clean and organised the impromptu party...even organised your favourite food..." she said furiously, "what thanks do I get from you? Sweet nothing! Well you can listen now...."
 
 
"When I have done my level best the last thing that I want is indifference from you" somewhere Muskaan knew that she was beginning to get hysterical and a little out of  control but right now, she honestly did not care. It was almost like the restraint that she had been exercising over her emotions, her anger, her despair, her fear and her remorse, all had finally broken loose, "You just walked off that day, said what you wanted to, no make that pronounced what you had to and then decided to walk off....bloody God complex! Didn't even wait to hear what I wanted to say...why should you? As if you care...as if I care!" she pushed Rahul away as he tried to shush her, reaching out to place his hand on her shoulder. The gesture, gentle though it was, irritated her even more and she shrugged his hand off continuing with her tirade, "And today.... you did not talk to me properly even once.....never even tried to...even though I tried so many times..." tears of rage were beginning to form in Muskaan's eyes, "and....and...you.... never even once told me that I looked nice, even though I took so much care over my appearance...but now I am sure you will be the first to tell me how ghastly I look when I cry....and now I have got blood on your shirt and you'll blame me for that too....and...and... I never cry and shout like this, never!"
 
 
Barely controlling her tears of rage, fuming at Rahul who seem to suddenly be the fulcrum of all her woes, Muskaan realised that she had been unaware when Rahul had held her elbow and manoeuvred her inside the house and closed the door. However, with hindsight she thought it was just as well or the whole floor would have been entertained by the spectacle of her crying and ranting in rage.
 
 
Instead of trying to answer her tirade, Rahul put his hands on her shoulders to draw her close. Surprised by his gesture, having expected him to shake and reprimand her for her outburst, she looked up at him to find him looking down on her botchy face with a gentleness and an expression that was beginning to spread a very warm feeling all over her body.
 
 
"Muskaan" he whispered softly with immense tenderness as he kissed her forehead. As he pushed her hair away from her face, she slid her arms around him just as his arms encircled her, resting her head on his chest, finally admitting to herself that this is where she wanted to be.
 
 
*****************                               
 
 
Ridhima flopped into the sofa in the common room. She was feeling really exhausted. They had all theory classes since morning and no respite offered by case study discussions or quant. Thank goodness, classes were over for the day, otherwise she would have fallen asleep in the next class! Rahul had wanted to take Muskaan out for dinner while Muskaan had insisted that Ridhima come with them. No wanting to be an intrusive third, she had feigned work. Wanting to be on her own, she had stayed back in the library to do some work after classes.
 
 
Armaan had left last night for Delhi to attend a board meeting of one of their companies on whose Board he was a director and would only be back tomorrow.  Nepotism, she had teased him mercilessly and he had grinned unabashedly, taking pains to point out that he was finally going to earn his position by making a presentation to the Board. She had been surprised by the unexpectedness of his trip, but it was obviously something he was so used to doing that it had not crossed his mind to forewarn her.  He had been very excited about making the presentation and she found herself crossing her fingers and hoping that things this morning had gone the way he had wanted them to.
 
 
She wondered what Armaan must be doing right now. She missed him and had been surprised that he had not called her since morning till she had realised that her phone battery had run out and she did not have her charger at hand.. Once she got back home she would call him. She hoped that his presentation had gone well, she knew how important it was to Armaan that his dad be proud of him, and while she had no doubt that he would acquit himself well, she was anxious to know how it had all gone.....
 
 
She was lost in her thoughts when she felt someone tap her on the shoulder. She looked up to find Anjali smiling at her, "Where were you lost Ridhima?"
 
 
"I am sorry, did not see you.....was just thinking of random stuff'.."
 
 
"Do you mind if I join you?" Anjali asked indicating towards the empty sofa next to her, "I am surprised that the common room is completely empty at this time"
 
 
"Well,, it's usually the 1st year guys who throng the place at this time, but today was a strenuous day so I think everyone has headed home.........I stayed back because I had some work'" Ridhima explained, "I am going to get myself a cup of coffee, can I get you one too?"
 
 
"That would be lovely, thanks so much"
 
 
"Hmm.....that smells heavenly after a long day...........thanks so much''"Anjali sipped appreciatively at her coffee, "I can see you have settled in well and made a lot of close friends......you have that ability, you know.....people take to you very easily'.....that's a big asset and will stand you in good stead at work........maybe you should look at HR as a stream for specialisation"
 
 
"Thanks.........I just think people's reaction to you is a function of your interaction with them" Ridhima clarified, "but I have been lucky, have met some wonderful people in this college..........as for specialisation, I think I will stick to marketing...........HR is a lot tougher! Too much sensitivity involved!"
 
 
"Not finance?" Anjali quizzed, "Armaan is majoring in finance, with marketing as a minor. He's very good at what he does'."
 
 
"Yes, he is" Ridhima nodded wondering why had Armaan come into the conversation, "I guess each to his own..............whatever you are comfortable with and whatever is the area that you want to work in............He wants to work in a Bank and get a hang of financial structures before he joins his dad, so it makes sense to do a Finance major and a marketing minor............I want to do FMCG, so I'll stick to Marketing............finance actually scares me!" she laughed a little, "What about you? How come you chose Finance?" 
 
 
"Well, I was a little ambivalent about my stream of specialisation but Armaan helped me make up my mind. He actually spent days at end with me explaining the choices available to me for each specialisation and helped me figure what were my strengths. He's been my anchor and support in these one and a half years'..........I can be quite headstrong and he is the only guy who can handle me'"
 
 
"Yes, he is a wonderful guy, and, a great friend, isn't he?" Ridhima responded wondering where the conversation was going. She increasingly felt there was an undertone to Anjali's conversation that she could not get.
 
 
"Indeed he is, and he is a passionate guy, when he gives of himself, he gives completely, that's what makes him so special .......in many ways I am like him.........we're alike..............peas in a pod'.............that's why everyone used to tease us that we were inseparable'"were" being the operative word'.."
 
 
"I know he thinks of you as a very good friend - "
 
 
"We ARE very good friends and I had hoped with time perhaps a lot more'"Anjali looked at her unblinkingly.
 
 
Ridhima had been smiling at Anjali but froze when she heard the last part of the sentence. "I am sorry?"
 
 
"I said that I had hoped that in time we would be much more than friends...........we have so much shared history, a strong bond of friendship, mutual respect and......"
 
 
"Are you......."Ridhima fumbled a little as she struggled to articulate the words, "are you in love with Armaan?" she asked hesitating, dreading the answer that she might get. The silence that followed could have been cut by a knife.
 
 
"I can't lie Ridhima, not any more, especially not to myself.........yes, I guess I am........"Anjali finally sighed in response, " I have been for the last year, and, I thought he loved me too......or would with time....I am going to be completely honest with you..............everyone thought so too......he has never said anything to me directly but I know given time, things could have worked out............at least I hoped that they would....I.............he means a lot to me Ridhima'we used to spend a lot of time together till this year............."Anjali looked at her meaningfully "I know you both have a lot in common, and, I am not grudging you your friendship with him.............I have seen him spend a lot more time with you than with anyone else which is why I am scared Ridhima............I don't want to lose him............you don't understand what I feel for him'."
 
 
"Has ....has...Armaan ever said....that he loved you?" Ridhima asked with trepidation, "anything that he has done that has lead you to believe-"
 
 
"No" Anjali said quite emphatically, "to be fair to him, he has never once said anything, if anything-"she paused drawing a deep breath before continuing, "but I care a lot for him Ridhima...........I have never felt so strongly about another guy..oh I have had my flings but never met someone who made me feel like changing who I was, who made me feel alive when I am with him, who makes the thought of a wonderful, complete life seem real and possible'who makes my heart beat faster just by being in the room'who can make me smile even though my blackest moods, the mere thought of whom can lift my gloomy spirits'...........I have spent the last one year building dreams around him..........and then suddenly it seems to be all slipping away from me............there is an inexplicable bond between the two of you which I cannot even hope to compete with - "
 
 
"Anjali, I - " Ridhima started to say something when Anjali interrupted her
 
 
"Please Ridhima, let me finish what I have to stay while I still have the courage" her voice faltered a little as she looked down to collect herself and then looking up at Ridhima she continued, "I have seen Armaan with other women before Ridhima but they have been passing fancies, a couple of dates, just good fun......but with you for the first time I have seen Armaan show more than a fleeting interest and that scares me.........I don't know if there is anything between the two of you beyond friendship or a casual fling..........I hope fervently there is not'" for a moment there was silence as Anjali's voice broke a little and then she whispered, "I hope not.................cos I have built my dreams, aspirations and the thought of a whole life around him and I don't know how I would cope if they were to come crashing down..............when dreams are shattered, it's very painful Ridhima'...........especially when what you desire is within a finger's grasp  and then suddenly its snatched away................please don't do that to me Ridhima''"
 
 
Ridhima sat, frozen in shock, her mind trying to grapple with Anjali's words. "Ridhima?" Anjali's voice shook her out of her stupor, and she looked at Anjali despairingly, "I don't know what to say Anjali........"
 
 
"Please Ridhima...just hear me out....I....believe me...I.. am not picking a fight with you nor am I telling you off'" Anjali stood up and started to pace up and down, "I guess I am trying to explain to you why I have been the way I have been with you and hoping that you will understand the way I feel..........there is no pain like loving someone and not knowing whether they love you or not and  worse still, living in constant fear that they do not............in the last few months, there have been occasions that I have been nasty or rude to you..........believe me I had no desire to be..............and I am extremely sorry  about and mortified at those outbursts.....but I ...I hate to admit this...but I was unable to control myself..........it bothers me to see Armaan defend you...........and no matter how much I kid myself, I think even I know that if the two of us are hurt, Armaan would probably comfort you.............you don't know how that feels after having shared so much............"
 
 
"Anjali........I .............I don't know what to say...........Armaan and I......" Ridhima struggled to find the words to tell Anjali about Armaan and her.
 
 
"Please don't say anything Ridhima.......please.....I just wanted to let you know what I feel...............there is no pressure on you for anything..........you know there is no greater punishment than jealousy...........no bigger torment'........the jealous are the biggest torment to themselves..."her voice broke and she stopped for a moment trying to control herself, "I would have probably never said anything to you but I saw Armaan saying goodbye to you before he left for Delhi, and, there was something in his voice that I have never heard before............an affection and a longing that I have craved to hear from him............I don't know what is there between the two of you, whether it's just friendship or anything else...........all I do know is that if you had not come in this year, I would not be where I am now.............an emotional wreck willing to gamble her self-respect, a weak lovesick fool who is willing to lay bare her emotions for you to see..........." Anjali wiped the tears that had welled up in her eyes and then softly whispered, "I am sorry..........Oh God.....what am I doing....I am so.. so sorry'....." as she turned and fled out of the common room.
 
 
Ridhima stared after her not knowing what to do and how to react. She cursed herself for not having the courage to tell Anjali about Armaan and her'she had tried but Anjali had stopped her; in any case what would she have said? Thanks so much for telling me all this but hey guess what? Your heart's desire is in love with me and I love him terribly too. Armaan had been right when he had insisted that they tell everyone about themselves especially Anjali cos she was his close friend. She wished that she had listened to him; at least she would not have been facing this alone.
 
 
But more than that, she felt a heaviness that she could not explain..........a sense of remorse at her having come between Anjali and Armaan.............Anjali was probably right......everyone had believed that Armaan and Anjali were going around........and maybe, just maybe if she had not come into Armaan's life, this would have been a natural concomitant of their relationship.........except that from nowhere she had popped up and taken Armaan away from Anjali.............but did anyone ever have any control over love? It happened when it did, where it did, with whom it did..........she could not help loving Armaan just as Anjali was helpless in her affections for him.........as Ridhima remembered Anjali's words she felt miserable.........what had Rahul once said to her? That he had never imagined her as a femme fatale or a kebab me haddi.....you don't know how wrong you were Rahul......oh my god, how wrong''.
 
 
******************                                   
 
 
Armaan looked at his watch as the car drove him home. It was about 7 p.m. and he would be in Bandra by 8.30 pm latest, still decent enough time to drop in and say hi to Ridhima before he headed home. He took out his cell and dialled her number and held on patiently while it rang. She must have left it in her room or in the study while she was elsewhere in the house, he thought as the phone continued to ring.
 
 
 
His father had asked him to make a presentation to the Board on the changing socio-economic scenario and what they needed to do to adapt from an Organisation Behaviour perspective with special focus on employee engagement, and he thought he had acquitted himself well. His dad had softly whispered "done me proud today son!" as he had walked past him to deliver the closing address for the meeting. To Armaan that was the biggest validation of the choices that he had made, and his father's obvious pride in him made his choices seem less like a sacrifice'
 
 
 
But the most exhilarating and momentous part of the day had been when his dad had motioned him to stay back as they were leaving the boardroom, , and then in the privacy of the boardroom had hugged him "Every father dreams that his son would be a lot better than him in every single respect.......... It's the only time where a man  willingly relinquishes supremacy..........and today I have no doubt that the son will achieve even greater heights than the father but more than that son, it's the humble appreciation of an old man of a sacrifice that was made unhesitatingly without it being asked for...........what more could a father hope for?"
 
 
As much as his father's words had meant to him, the euphoria had been dimmed without her to share it with him. He had missed her terribly last night, wanting to tell her everything that had happened, his success, the appreciation from the board particularly his father's pride and joy in him; she of all people would understand what this meant to him. He had been restless to talk to her but her cell was switched off while she was in classes and then his parents had hosted cocktails and dinner for all the outstation directors on the company's board and as a director, he was expected to attend. His mom had noticed his restlessness and a couple of times fussed around him wondering if anything was amiss.
 
 
He tried her number again a couple of times but it still kept ringing. Never mind, she lived close enough, so he would drop by on his way home. He desperately wanted to see her and watch the expressions on her face as he recounted yesterday's events.
 
 
Finally at night after the dinner was over, his mom had come into his room to find him smiling at his cell phone. He had been grinning at a simple "MISS YOU" sms that he had found on his cell when he returned from the dinner. Glancing over his shoulder, she had smiled as she sat down on the bed. He had quickly put down his phone and had sat up "er.........it's....was a message.... from one of my college mates..."
 
 
"I didn't ask" his mom had shrugged nonchalantly, " but now that you have opened the Pandora's box, who is she?"
 
 
"She? Who she?" Armaan had feigned innocence. He hoped as hell, his mom had not read the message.
 
 
 "The one who is missing you and who you are obviously missing enough to smile in a besotted manner at even a simple message. The one, in the anticipation of whose message or I suspect call, you were so restless the whole evening...Though, whoever it is, I approve! Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.......simple but eloquent..... but you have not answered my question......who is she? his mom had pulled his ear, At least I think it's a she....or ......?"
 
 
He had dropped down to the floor and had put his arms on her knees, cupped his chin in his palms, and had looked up at her "Ridhima'.........Ridhima Gupta..........she's incredible.......you have to meet her mom'..........you know she has the same passion for books as you do...........she is warm...........intelligent.........sensitive.........unpredictable....'.." and as his mom had looked at him with raised eyebrows, he had softly finished "I love her mom....."
 
 
 His mom had smiled at his admission and had bent down to kiss him on his forehead, "....and I can see that the sentiment is reciprocated if that message was anything to go by.........so have you told dad? When do I get to meet her? Or at least get to see what she looks like? She must indeed be special to have you so completely besotted by her...........I have never seen you so restless as this evening'"
 
 
"Whoa, mom, easy'I have barely let you know and you want to meet her'" he had protested.
 
 
"What else did you expect? It's not every day that my son tells me that he is in love.........hmmm...well now I know she's.....what had you said? Warm, intelligent, sensitive.....hmmm...that sounds wonderful and what does she look like?"
 
 
"She's beautiful ma..........how and when do I describe her?" Armaan's mother had smiled indulgently as she watched her son obviously lost, "What she is when she is surprised by something and there is this delightfully bewildered look on her face? Or when she is pensive and worry lines crease her forehead? Or when her eyes widen and her face is flushed in anger? When you can see a smile chasing a pleasant thought across her lips? When her face lights up in impish delight, when she's just outsmarted me yet again? When she turns every known and some unknown shades of red in embarrassment and all I can do is to stop myself from kiss -" Armaan had stopped turning red as he had realised what he had been about to, well almost had said.
 
 
"All you can do is to stop yourself from doing what? Let me see what it could be'" and that was not the last word from his mom on that subject.
 
 
Instructing the car to wait, Armaan rang the bell at Ridhima's house. Armaan smiled engagingly at the domestic help who opened the door for him.
 
 
"Padma aunty hain?" He asked
 
 
"Nahi hain, sahab ko check up ke liye doctor ke paas le kar gayi hain'abhi aa jayange...aap andar aa jaye Armaan bhaiyya" The girl motioned him inside
 
 
"Ridhima hai kya ghar pe?" Armaan asked her hopefully
 
 
 
"Haan, Ridhima kitabon wale kamre me hain'phir bethi hui hai un kitabon ke sath'chaubis ghante lagi rehti hai kitabon ke sath'..aap jaayen andar'main chai banake lati hun'ya phir aap coffee lenge'"
 
 
"Nahi, thank you'main kuch nahi loonga'bas Ridhima ko hello bol ke ghar jaunga'."Armaan shook his head as he walked in to the study. He stopped at the door at the sight that greeted him. Ridhima was curled up in one of the leather chairs with a book clutched in her hands and her hair falling across her face, asleep. As he neared, he realised that she was holding The Scarlet Pimpernel in her hand. She looked like a complete kid all curled up and asleep, waiting for someone to tuck her into bed. In these two days, he had really missed her, and, there was so much he wanted to tell her but he could wait another night. She looked at peace asleep, and he did not want to wake her up'He leaned over to remove her hair from her face and tucked them behind her ears, when he saw her eyes flicker open and a puzzled look on her face. And then as comprehension dawned, she surprised him by throwing her arms around his neck and hugging him.
 
 
"Hi sweetheart''" Armaan raised his head a little to drop a kiss on her head, "'.hmmm maybe I should go away more often, if this is the reaction that I get!"
 
 
In response, she tightened her arms around him, not even looking up and whispered "I missed you..........."
 
 
"I missed you too" Armaan put his arms around her and pulled her up. To his surprise, she slid her arms around his waist and borrowed her face in his chest.  He had been only gone for two days, and the Ridhima he knew would have quipped back with a rejoinder by now'he stroked her hair, waiting for her to speak'.when she continued to keep quiet holding him, he spoke up "By the way, why is it so difficult to get you on your cell? What do I have to do to get you to leave your cell switched on when I am out of town........trying to get you was like banging my head against a stone wall!" as she continued to remain silent "I was beginning to wonder whether two days away from me had changed your mind and you were trying to give me a subtle message'" he completed teasingly.
 
 
She surprised him with an instant jerk of her head as she looked up at him and fiercely said "I COULD never do that! How can you even say that?" As she struggled to free herself in irritation, Armaan wondered what had got into her. He would have expected her to jump at that opening for a sarcastic rejoinder, instead of which he had got a vehement denial.
 
 
"Got off the wrong side of the chair?" he asked her impishly as he pulled her back into his arms, "Though I must admit you look delightful when you are irritated......your nostrils all flare up, your eyes become wide with anger and cheeks get all red........" He completed as he ruffled her hair. "I was kidding Ridhima........in any case, it's too late even if you do decide to change your mind'you've been signed, sealed and delivered."
 
 
She smiled at his comment "I am sorry Armaan, don't know what got into me. How was your trip?" and then as she remembered, "Oh my God, how was the board meeting? How did your presentation go? Did they like it? More importantly, did your dad like it? Did HE think it was good? I am sure you must have been fantastic! I am sure your dad must have been proud of you'"
 
 
"Whoa girl, take a deep breath and let me get a word in edgeways'.." he smiled seeing her animated expression. This is why he had missed her, and had wanted to share his euphoria with her. Her obvious excitement and eagerness to know how he had fared, and her supreme confidence in his abilities warmed his heart, "it went very well" he made her sit down while he himself sat on the ottoman in front of her, "you know Ridhima, dad was so proud of me yesterday that it made every sacrifice that I had ever made, worth it! He kept walking around with a smile and a he-is-my-son-you-know look. No other praise has meant so much to me than the look of pride and contentment on my dad's face, but it seemed incomplete without sharing it with you...........the only person other than my mom, with whom I wanted to share my sense of achievement, fulfilment, and exhilaration, was you'." and then sighing dramatically, he mimicked, "..but -  the number that you have dialled is currently switched off'please try again later.."
 
 
"Armaan!" Ridhima smacked him lightly on his arm, "am sorry.....my battery ran out and I was not carrying my charger..........I did call later once I got home but the phone kept ringing, though I did send an sms....."
 
 
"I know, and so does my mom!" Armaan smiled ruefully
 
 
"What? You showed your mom my sms? Are you stark raving mad?"
 
 
"Well, she walked in while I was smiling stupidly at a certain MISS YOU.......and she saw the message'"
 
 
"And?"
 
 
"'.....and, she asked me about you......so I had to tell her'"
 
 
"You did what?" Ridhima jumped off the chair
 
 
"Told her there was a very persistent young lady in college who seems to have a thing for me and refuses to leave me alone.....and try as hard as I might - "
 
 
"Oh really, I have a thing, is it-"
 
 
"'I can't get her out of my system........because I love her, though sometimes I wonder why, she can be so dense......" Placing a finger on her lips, he shushed her, "and very irritating when she refuses to let me know what's bothering her."
 
 
Ridhima looked away flustered, "nothing's bothering me.........I am fine" and then turning to him, "I am thrilled that your presentation went well.......I knew it would! Didn't I tell you? I am sure everyone must have been impressed.........am glad your dad was so proud of you..........er...would you like a coffee?"
 
 
"Ridhima, stop blabbering......I am not going to coerce you into telling me anything.....so chill and relax'"Armaan got up and held her hand, "I just hope.......... that you will find it in you to trust me enough to let me know what's upsetting you......" and then smiling teasingly he added, "it would be rather strange if you kept running to the neighbours or your parents every time you got upset! Imagine what entertainment we would provide!"
 
 
"Armaan, does my friendship with Rahul bother you even now?" Ridhima suddenly asked him as he shook his head. "What if Rahul was actually in love with me and confessed to me. How would you react?"
 
 
"Are you trying to tell me something?" Armaan asked with his brows raised, "Is that why you are upset?"
 
 
"Don't be silly!" Ridhima tossed her head dismissively, "I am talking about a hypothetical situation. How would you react?"
 
 
"I would completely understand and empathise with him." Armaan answered sincerely, looking at her unblinkingly, " if I can fall in love with you, how can I grudge someone else feeling the same? You are an intriguing, intelligent, sensitive and beautiful woman, it would be very difficult to not fall in love with you and especially for Rahul, and he has been privy to so many more facets of your persona that I have yet to discover.......I would probably feel great empathy for the man and immense relief that you love me'..."
 
 
"You would not feel guilty, like you've come in between-"
 
 
"Have I?" Armaan moved a little closer, a little concerned where this was headed. Ridhima shook her head vehemently. Since it wasn't Rahul, he was sure this was in some way linked to Anjali, the conversation being too familiar to be anything else, but if Ridhima had chosen not to articulate her fears specifically, he would let it be for the time being. Had Anjali said something to her? Could she have? He needed to figure that out but right now Ridhima was obviously upset, and he needed to reassure her rather than try and force anything out of her .....  he had meant it when he had said that he hoped she would trust him enough to tell him what was bothering her, and, he was sure she would tell him in her own time so he was willing to wait...right now he just wanted to allay her fears and misgivings, "falling in love does not work like an annual business operating plan Ridhima'it just happens......just because someone loves us we do not necessarily fall in love with them......and just because we are in love with someone does not mean they have to reciprocate........even if Rahul did love you, I can't stop loving you just  as you can't help being in love with me..........everyone has to bear their own crosses sweetheart..........it can be heartbreaking, and, callous as I may sound, everyone has to deal with their own pain..........we can at best empathise and understand ; be a friend and try and lessen the burden but we can't take it away"
 
 
Ridhima nodded as she looked up at him, "Thank you. You make it sound so rational.....you really are my Boy Scout" they both laughed at the memory of what she had called him when they had first met, and, then taking him by surprise, she leaned forward and kissed him, all her pent up emotions finding a release in the kiss. Armaan pulled her closer, deepening the kiss, as he sought to alleviate the fears driving her restlessness and their conversation. Then slowly as passion replaced the sense of comfort, Ridhima caressed his neck and ran her fingers through his hair, revelling in the effect it had on Armaan as he tightened his hold on her, moulding her body to his. Her need for reassurance, need to purge the guilt created by Anjali's words, to be desired by this man whom she loved and the effect of Armaan's proximity were slowly making her lose control as she slipped her fingers under his open collar to softly caress his shoulder, the feel of her fingers momentarily making him loose control. However, seconds later, to her surprise Armaan broke the intimacy to rest his forehead against her's and whisper softly "Ridhima'" Still craving an assurance, reluctant to let go of him, Ridhima snuggled into him as he rested his chin on her head, "so how come you were reading The Scarlet Pimpernel?" he asked after a while, caressing her back as he sought to bring things back to an even keel...
 
 
"Trying to figure out in what moment of madness did I ever compare you with my hero?" Ridhima quipped back as she moved out of his embrace, grateful to him for having had the sense to pull back as she became conscious of their physical proximity.
 
 
"You mean trying to figure how you got so lucky?" Armaan countered back glad to see her usual sense of humour restored.
 
 
"You wish'" Ridhima made a face at him as they both heard the bell rang, "'..that must be mom and dad' come on I want to know what the doctor said'" and feeling a lot happier than she had been since her encounter with Anjali, she dragged Armaan out with her.
 
 
**********************                                        
 
 
First of all, if you are wondering about Wizard of Oz .....the Id belongs to a dear friend who joined IF, at my insistence, very recently.... My id was giving me some problem.....it kepts giving me an error with the password and I was unable to log in.....I had no idea why because I hade not changed my password...so used her id to type my responses since I have not responded to any of the comments.
 
 
Second of all, I have to be really daft to not figure out the problem. Got my office IT guy to come and check the comp..it took the poor guy 2 hours on a holiday to figure it out (but since I had an urgent credit proposal to send off today I guess I was justified). There was a problem with one of the keys which is why the password kept getting typed incorrectly. The error occurred while writing as well but got corrected in the spell check so I never caught it!
 
 
Delayed, yes I know! Apologies but have been generally caught with zillion things! I have made some friends, discovered lots about the city, visited some more monuments, slogged my back off at work...my house is up and running and I seem to be settling in at work. The Egyptians jokingly complain I am a hard task master but I much rather that than be taken for a pushover!
 
 
Alex was fun...though I did not really connect with the city...in fact if I am honest was alil disappointed...dunno ...maybe was execting too much for the city of the ancient light house!
 
 
Am planning to go to Sharm-el-Sheikh at the earliest opportunity but that appears to be quite some distance away, sigh! By the way went for an off-roading trip to the dessert. It was just AWESOME! If anyone's been sand dune bashing you would know what a thrill this is!
 
 
I think the country is phenomenal and offers you the opportunity to do so many things if you decide to!  But I guess that's true of any place that you stay in ' it's as interesting and engaging as you want to make it!
 
 
I am not sure if you guys will like the part but please, please do comment ' including the silent ones! And guys, would love to see the "reserved" filled up! And for everyone who commented, a BIG BIG hug and thanks!
 
 
Someone PMd me to ask me why I omitted to mention my score on the BBC list, whether the ommission was deliberate.....No it was not, I hadn't scored myself on it till then...since then I have and my score was 44. Not that it's important ' reading is a pleasure which is to be measured by every individual's own yardstick and tastes and not by a list that is so clearly defined by a narrow and limited perspective on what constitutes good books. It was meant more for fun and just to see what all one had read....
 
 
Its late now and close to bedtime since its office tom...will send the PMs tom morning....Waiting to hear your comments
 
 
Love ya
Sam


Edited by bernard shaw - 05 July 2009 at 3:58pm

The following 37 member(s) liked the above post:

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pickytg Goldie
pickytg
pickytg

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Posts: 2280

Posted: 05 July 2009 at 4:02pm | IP Logged
it is my day today....:) i juss got onl!

reserved

CONGRATULATIONS! on your third thread....needless to say...well deserved :)

sexy update...may i say gripping the already aching mind...in good reliefs..!! Ankit's reasoning...to ridz was sumwat interesting..though a lil boring...but it was a needed scene....yes! Anjali's feelings..her fears...thoughts out loud..her ways of wrapping guilt all over ridz...was should i say strongly carried forward...reminded me oh the movie KKHH..and she dint fail to deepen my dislike for her :D....shes annoying..mostly....her "I" and "Mine" in everything...haha someone needs to put out big banners or maybe ballons tied to her arms and legs that say this world aint her alone....LOL!

RM's simple confession took me back to the early days of her dialogue times..i didnt see it coming yetr i cant think of a better fitting scene for the two..i loved muskaan venting her frustration over him....and liked how you left it just there...

AR...were nice...more than satisfactory..i had goosebumps in my stomach...if thats even possible...(yeh it is when its concerning me :P)....i liked tons! :)

great update...


Edited by missypatel - 05 July 2009 at 11:44pm
Pebblez Goldie
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Posted: 05 July 2009 at 4:04pm | IP Logged
*reserved <br>

heyyyaa Sam!!! back here man...though i dunno know um able to still come online and read n comment...!! anyways...muaaah nij for the reserve girl...and sam, i love ya itaaaaaaaaaaaaaa sarra for the update!! man i loved it...specially the AR part...u made me day *hugs tight*

Okay, so yeah, AR were my absolute favorite...the perfect boyfriend-girlfriend....man, it was awesome!! RM i never seem to like much anywhere, but yeah, here in this update, they were good...i likes!! Anjali, oh my god! Can i please smack her head? Like seriously man, i do NOT like her, whatsoever be Armaan's reason for being her friend!! Bass mereko nee pasand....glad Ankit wasnt a kabab main haddi...pair up Anji and ankit and pack them off to the Bahamas please :P

Loved the update Sam...better than last time, i have to say....love ya loads girl, update soonish

Kiran

Edited by Pebblez - 06 July 2009 at 4:45pm

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navtinder

aritzia IF-Dazzler
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Posts: 3383

Posted: 05 July 2009 at 4:25pm | IP Logged
~edited ~

Hi Sam,

I never got much of a chance to interact with you. I did comment on one of your parts in thread #2 , atleast thats wat i believe and think, my memory sometimes ditches me Wink . like amir's in ghajini ..but more on daily basis LOL.

readers always complain that sometimes they never get to see reply to their comments ,certianly not pointing to you , i think i wud make for the worst reader and writer. I never get chance to reply to comments and then feeling embarrased to even update ..thinking abt my readers ... u know the filmsy type" kis mooh se update karu " Wink . Im a unique example of a reader who cudnt make it to read the reply by the writer . Confused 

To begin with , Gosh im so poor with my rhetorics LOL, ( i already beginnedWink )....  10 e^1000 thanks to you and writers like you who introduce me to english literature .   In technical terms as per my proffessor , im not litterate enough Wink..... with absence of english literature from my life .. if only you and  NJ werent there to try and put some of it to my good for nothing head LOL.

And what made me to comment after this long ?  I have an assignment due tonite for which im supposed to write  a narrative essay. And the first thought that struck my mind was you and this ff ( dont worry i wont ask u to write it for me Wink, im not mean Big smile ) . Your writings are going to be such a great help for me . the good part in me told me to atleast thank you for that, thats the least i can do Smile.
And yes i feel so proud to be commenting second time , just coz i beat Lubna in that matters Wink, though she was the one to suggest this ff to me .

Coming to serve the real purpose of this post,   i wil first point out what i didnt like today .
I didnt like the footnoteLOL, that u think we wudnt like the part .

I loved the part and with the sensibility ridhima handled the situation half of the credit goes to anjali for not letting her tell the truth.

I would see that from a positive perspective . Anjali coming down to ridhima to tell her fears rather than turning to her good friends , atul or ankit or armaan. I felt in her words her sense of understanding and realization of the fact that ridhima is a sensible person to understand her feeling without mocking them. And certainly that she is the one who needs to know and not make it a source of entertainment for others or a talk of the group.

Ridhima with her sensibility and maturity and sorted head of whats her priorities and relations, she didnt consider to share the feel of guilt with rahul , may be she knew he wud side her rather than giving an unbiased opinion.

And loved the last part, where they exchanged their ffears indirectly and provided the assurance asked by th time and situation with maturity and sense . And oh my God what an understanding partner , when he said he will wiat till she trusts him enuff to tell him the truth . which on usual situations some ppl might lose their trust on other or get irritated when something that fearing is not shared. 

Truly Said " Some things are better unsaid . "


Clap

Great work once again .

Thanks for this part and rest of the 2 threads .

Kanu
Clap


Edited by KehanT - 05 July 2009 at 5:46pm
SimplyNice IF-Dazzler
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Posted: 05 July 2009 at 5:44pm | IP Logged
hey sam! Excellent part ! Brilliantly done! Ur no doubt a pro .congrats 4 new thread!i dnt hv my laptop,so m using celphone ryt nw.dint get a pm?plz do pm 4m next part.lvya
Alia[B][/B]
Anokhee Senior Member
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Posted: 05 July 2009 at 6:41pm | IP Logged
Oh My God!!!!
As In
OH MY GOD!!!!

This part was so beautiful......
I loved it completely............
I mean by now u would have realised it is more because of the last bit.....
and im glad that u know it...
I loved their conversation so much, u have no clue.....
I always love it whenever u write like this.....
But I found Armaan and his mother's conversation extremely cute....
I love it when mothers can be so excited about their children's love...
that makes me love Armaan's mother....
And as far as Anjali is considered,
I quite didnt understand her...
She knew that Armaan and Ridhima have something for each other...What did she want by confessing it all to Ridhima??
I can only imagine what must have Ridhima gone through....
But Im sure u have something in mind for this random confession from Anjali....
And Im glad that Rahul-Muskaan are getting better...
I mean muskaan was so cute when she was crying and telling Rahul and Rahul did the best thing someone can do to comfort her...
He just gave her a "Jaadu ki Jhappi" Wink
Amazingly Written.....
Enjoyed it throughly and it was the best thing to start my day with
Thanks to the sneezing attack I got at 5 in the morning Wink Smile
Write soon Big smile

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