Posted: 20 April 2010 at 6:40am | IP Logged
A heavy downpour drenched her...seeping through her soft black hair and right through her delicately sequinned baby pink chudidaar. Her pretty pink and white slippers were getting outlined with a faint tinge of red....
She could see the stream of a dark red blending with the water, mercilessly pouring forth with no stoppage....
His white tee-shirt was soaked in red........Red for Love...........Red for blood...
Her heart muffled a beat....no that couldn't have happened....
She refused to let the reality before her sink in...
"Armaan!!!!" she screamed with her greatest might hoping that he heard her anguish....
He lay there bleeding, torn and lost....Her knees folded and she fell to the ground two feet away from him....
The rain washed.............Her tears.........His blood....
The identifier of her tears even in the heaviest of downpours lay there...his blood getting more and more unidentifiable in the fury of the rain.......
Riddhima jerked awake from her nightmare , her head throbbing with one name.."Armaan" , and in the arms of her reality-Siddhant!
"Riddhima, kya hua?" he asked concerned. His hand involuntarily switched on the lights. The white light washed her scared and tear-stained face and she was visible to his view.
She sobbed into his chest...her tears ceaselessly flowing and searing his chest where he had once upon a time tightly reined all his feelings for her..............until finally he had let loose of them and confessed to her how deeply he loved her.....He remembered how she had smiled and accepted his love.
"Sid....I am scared!" she looked into her eyes after controlling the further outburst of her emotions. She dearly loved this man now who had given her life back...who had redesigned her torn fabric called life.
She owed her heart to him and she didn't need to force herself to love him. He was a entirely believable and instantly lovable man. She loved him already....."What about Armaan?" her heart ruthlessly questioned her.
"What about Armaan....he was the man who taught me to love....I'll never be able to forget him....but I love Sid...." she reassured her heart.
One had taught her to love and the other her taught her to live......ONE alphabet difference....it had been upto her to decide between the two...LOVE.....or .....LIVE ....and she had chosen the latter....the more important aspect according to her.
Riddhima closed her eyes tight letting her thoughts vaporize till sleep settled.
Sidhhant carefully removed his hand from her grip and got up. He looked at himself in the mirror.
SIDDHANT MODI-son of Naresh Modi, a brilliant student, a good friend and now a wonderful husband. He had attained those degrees....He smiled to himself...remembering those painful days when he had to bear the 'love of his life' loving someone else.
But at the end of the day.....he had always known that LUCK would be on his side. He remembered lovingly the details of that day when Riddhima had thunderously told Armaan she didn't need him in her life.....She had chosen him instead....she had chosen Siddhant.
The following day had again stirred his insecurities when he saw her bawling over his bleeding body in the hospital after having ordered him to leave her life. He remembered the deep sensation of anguish when he saw her wailing over Armaan. He knew that she still harboured feelings for him....he was scared what if she changed her mind?
But he was relieved when she had begged him to take her away from that city that very night....leaving an hospitalized Armaan to battle for his life all alone.
Siddhant never had a bad feeling for Armaan.He just had a good feeling that Riddhima loved him more than she had ever loved Armaan. He had felt guilty about leaving Armaan in that hospital,but his insecurities of losing Riddhima overpowered any other feeling that took birth in his heart that night.
He had immediately taken his car and bundled an shaky Riddhima into it and drove away into to the darkness of the night never to return to Mumbai.
That had been the end of his heartaches.
Riddhima had been a dutiful wife , a wonderful friend and a fabulous love....She never let any thought of Armaan drift in through the windows of her mind into their happy household. She had taken up the incharge of his Dad's orphanage while he had resumed his Dad's business. Everything was perfect.
He had a quick bath and gulped down his breakfast. Riddhima was still asleep....today was her day off. He looked at her lovingly and then sped off to his workplace.
Riddhima awaoke when the sunlight that tumbled into her home scorched her exposed cheek. She glanced to the empty side next to her...tears rimmed her eyes....her honey-tinged eyes.....It had been precisely 3 months ,8 days since she had left Mumbai...left Armaan to die at that hospital...when in actual she had left him so that he could live.
She got up from her bed and streched herself pulling the curtains apart so that the golden light bathed her room. She hurried through her daily chores and plopped herself onto the chaise lounge settled in the middle of their main hall.
She punched the numbers she had been dying to puch the entire week. It was only for these calls that she waited the entire week....She heard the hello tune at the other end....KK's baritone flowed through her cordless....."Khuda jaane ......"
"Hello...Ridz!" a chirpy voice greeted her
"Hi Niki!" she gushed....
"Armaan bilkul theek hain....he has taken his daily tablets....and has stopped asking about your whereabouts....a definite improvement!" Niki finished with a bitter taste in her mouth.
"Yea a DEFINITE improvement..." she mumbled...wondering why it hurt her like hell. Wasn't this what she wanted...him to forget her and move on in life....
"You wanna hear him ?" Niki asked sensing the anguish in her silence...
"hmmm.." she nodded striving to keep her pain out of her voice.
Niki held her cell phone towards Armaan who was deeply in conversation with a little kid....
"Magar Armaan uncle...hum rainbows par slide kar sakte hain?" the lil' kid asked him
"kyun nahi....rainbows par zaroor slide karne jayenge magar pehle tum lunch karlo phir shaam ko hum jayenge theek hain?" his voice swept through the phone and reached Riddhima's ears....
How she missed his smile, his laughter....his cute expressions....his love....How she missed him...
"I love you Rainbow man!" the lil' girl's voice sounded through the phone.
Niki spoke again bringing back Riddhima to the present...."Why ridz?....why dont you tell me why are you doing all this?....Telling Sid you love him, leaving Armaan, forcing and begging me to care for him, seeing that he is fine....and still giving him the impression that you no longer need him in your life....Why this whole mess?"
Riddhima gathered her courage to open up to Niki , atleast Niki deserved to know why she was the one taking care of Armaan's needs and not Riddhima......it was a fair question and Niki had every right to know why she had done this Niki's best friend but......"Niki goodbye..." was all she could muster.
She hung up...."Rainbow man" had no doubt filled her life with all colours....colours she could never erase.....
She had convinced herself that she loved Sid. She got in the morning remebering that she loved Sid, she slept at night in his arms to convince herself that...this was what she wanted, she smiled laughed and told him over and over again that she loved him.....trying to get it into her system.....but why...why even after three months of forced thinking and living with the feeling of 'LOVE FOR SID' did she feel empty and hollow from within....He had taught her to Live no doubt and she had forced herself that to live was more important than to love...but why in heaven's name did it still hurt her to think of Armaan...the man who had taught her to love......She closed her eyes and sighed.....as the answer gurgled out of her heart ...
"CAUSE TO LOVE IS TO LIVE......"
3 YEARS AGO,1st OF AUGUST......SUNDAY, FRIENDSHIP DAY
The reputed medical institution -Sanjeevni saw a new batch of bubbly and enthusiastic interns streaming in. The students were steered into the large and dull auditorium where they were to be sorted into groups and oriented. As they took their seats they exchanged shy hi's and hello's getting to know each other.
Riddhima glanced around the room and found one friendly face glancing her way and throwing her a extra large smile....she reciprocated the smile and saw the girl walk upto her.
"Hi...I am Nikita." The girl streched out her hand for a friendship-shake!
"Riddhima ." With that she took the girl's warm hand into hers and sealed their friendship.
Niki seated herself next to Riddhima and stuck up a conversation with her.
"Tum Mumbai ki rehne waali ho?" she asked.
"Main Shimla se hoon....Sanjeevni mein kaam karne ka hamesha se sapna tha....." her voice turned slightly teary but she froze the memories of that fateful night when her mother had left her in this very hospital ....Sanjeevni....She had resolved to come here as a doctor one day and work here....Her sentiments were attached to those last yet everlasting memories of her mother that still lingered in the corridors of Sanjeevni.
"Arre Niki tum yahaan ho...main ne kahan kahan nahin dhoonda....yeh lo tumhara coat aur haan Mom tumse baat karna chahti hain...."
Riddhima looked at the guy who spoke the entire sentence without stooping for a breath. He handed the white crisp coat to Niki and slid open his mobile dialled some number and handed over the phone to Niki. She took it and excused herself. It was only then he noticed the girl sitting there looking at him....
Riddhima's sharp eyes had already fitted the image of this fellow in her mind....
His laughter filled eyes, his easy and comfortable demeanour....his unruly black hair that irritated his friendly brow....He was dressed in a cool forget-me-not blue shirt and blue denims. His white coat accentuated his chiselled physique....He looked like some runaway star....
"Hi...." he stretched his hand derailing riddhima's train of thoughts.
"Hi....I am Riddhima." she gave her hand in his ....
He took her hand gifting her with a drop-dead gorgeous smile that sparkled through his handsome features making his devastating handsomeness come alive.
"I am Armaan..." his voice magically reached Riddhima's frozen senses.
A sudden hush descended the entire auditorium as a tall, distinguished figure entered.
Dr. Shanshank Gupta surveyed the gathering and his looks fleetingly caught sight of his daughter shaking hands with a dashing young man. He smiled inwards..if Riddhima was shaking hands with that guy, there must definitely something special in that guy...cause his dear daughter, the epitome of shyness would never have agreed to shake hands with a stranger...and a male at that. Well, he was proud that she had cultivated all the ideals he had meticulously given her. She was his angel......
"Sanjeevni extends a warm welcome to all of you here. You all are here to sharpen your medical accumen and become worthy doctors. Sanjeevni is a temple of healing and we produce sensitive and sensible doctors from whom the society will benefit.
You all have been sorted into groups of 4 and your orientation will be handled by the senior doctors.
I expect you all to work sincerely and hope will give me no scope to call you to my cabin cause that is bad news...." he forced a smile when he saw some interns shift uncomfortably in their seats.
"I entreat you all to strictly follow the rules of Sanjeevni and any breach in the code of conduct here will be dealt with severe consequences. Welcome again...." he ended his address with that note.
Armaan who had promptly occupied Niki's seat whispered to Riddhima...."You know Dr. Shashank Gupta is gay...."
Riddhima swung around in her seat to face him....her eyes had narrowed and anger was bubbling under her satiny textured skin...."What!!?!!..Who told you this rubbish?" she questioned him.
He sniggered and rose from the seat ......all the interns were already filing out. Riddhima was facing him and Niki was struggling to reach them through the crowd. She had entered halfway through Dr. Gupta's address and had to sit near the door to avoid making disturbance.
"I want to which gossip-monger dumped that load of sh** in your ears?" she spat. That was typical of Riddhima...once her temper was unleashed there was no backing out. And here poor Armaan had attacked Shashank's image with a spoof gun......
"Whoa! what language.....that's cool....can you gimme vocabulary classes please?" he made a puppy face , stretching a wide smile across his lips which irritated Riddhima all the more.
"....Listen...Armaan...don't simply go about throwing barbs at people's image ,you could land into a ditch" she warned sensing that probably some uncivilized brat would have joked about this to him and he was playing around the same joke.
"No....I am dead sure Shashank sir is gay!" he said earnestly.
"Kya bakwaas....." Riddhima tried to calm the raging tempest of fury in her voice.
"...I heard that only guys get to visit his cabin that's why!"
He roared with laughter....hi5ing into wisps of air. Niki reached there just then and took one look at Riddhima's face to realize that something was wrong. Armaan's face was tinted pink with all the laughter and he had missed the irritation spitting forth from Riddhima's eyes.
"Armaan tum itna has kyun rahe ho? Come on share the joke with me..." Niki joined them.
"Ask Riddhima to tell you the joke....." he composed himself.
Riddhima just threw him a cool look...and turned her back to the duo.
"Hey kya hua? Was it a poor one?" he asked noticing her icy behaviour.
"A pathetically poor one......." she offered without making any attempt to turn towards them.
She took one step forward and then stopped in her tracks......She rotated to face them.....A puzzled Armaan and a doubly confused Niki.
"Armaan...by the way I am Riddhima Gupta!" she told him not waiting to catch the stunned expression punch his face. She turned on her heel and marched off.
"Oh man!....." he swore slapping his forehead.
He would have to apologize.
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