Joined: 03 October 2009
The DVD player in Armaan's room softly crooned a song as he sat on the couch with Riddhima, her head lightly resting on his shoulder and her hand clasped in his. Ever since their sudden confession and passionate kiss, they were totally lost in a world of their own. Life had suddenly taken on a new meaning for both of them. Everything felt different now and along with it came a sense of peace and completeness they could only have imagined earlier.
"Riddhima'" said Armaan tenderly as tightened his hold on her hand.
"What have you done to me?"
Riddhima sat up with a surprised look on her face, trying to decipher what Armaan meant by this strange question of his. With that confused expression on her face, she was looking so cute that Armaan couldn't help giving her a quick side hug and a peck on her forehead.
"Sorry dear, I couldn't help it" he said with a smile.
"Armaan, you were saying something.......what did I do to you?" asked a still confused Riddhima.
"Just tell me what you didn't do Riddhima. Earlier I was a man who thought life was only about winning and trying to be the best in whatever I did. Besides my work and family, there was nothing I even remotely cared about. I used to think that pride was something that was totally justified if you are worth it, but didn't realize that I was sub-consciously using it as a tool to distance myself from everyone and everything. In that process I had also forgotten to smile and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Indeed, I had gone so far on the path I chose to tread that it would have been impossible for me to return, had it not been for you. Once you breezed into my life, I have realized that it is indeed something very beautiful and should be lived to the fullest. No longer am I a cynic who rarely used to let people come close to him. I am now in love with life Riddhima, in love with you, the most wonderful and beautiful woman in this world."
Two big drops of tears fell from Riddhima's eyes as she heard Armaan say those words. She always knew him to be a man of very few words and to hear him bare his heart out in front of her simply overwhelmed her, the love and care shining in his eyes holding her mesmerized.
"Good lord, I guess no one can have a more enviable record than mine" exclaimed Armaan, "I made my lady cry twice after confessing my love. Sorry honey, I never meant it that way" he added as he gently wiped those tears away.
Seeing him get all hyper, Riddhima just put a finger on his lips and said, "Armaan, please don't stress yourself out, you are still not fully fit. I am just a little overwhelmed by the sudden change in my life, that's it."
Seeing her nod, Armaan added with a mischievous smile, "I hope you are not regretting the drab manner in which I confessed my love to you. You know what, I was planning to make this confession a grand affair with just you and me at a very fancy place, but I guess my emotions got better of me today and I just couldn't hold myself back"
"Armaan, I don't think there could have been a more beautiful way to confess your love"
After a slight pause she added naughtily, "Moreover, I never thought there is such a romantic side to you. You have indeed exceeded all my expectations Armaan"
"Ask me about it Riddhima, neither did I have any such expectations from myself. If anyone would have told me a few months ago that I would end up behaving in such manner, I would have thought that person fit for the mental asylum. But I guess that's what love does to you, right?" said Armaan, gently tucking Riddhima's hair behind her ear.
This suddenly brought another thought to Riddhima's mind.
"Armaan, can I ask you something?"
"Of course, you have all the right to do so"
"At the risk of sounding like a teenager, I still wanted to ask ....... when did you realize that you love me?"
"Hmmm, that's a very interesting question you have put up for me coz I myself don't know when I started. Let me think.........."
Armaan's thoughts were however disrupted by the loud ringing of Riddhima's Blackberry. He shot an exasperated look at the device before Riddhima picked it up from the side table.
"Yup Riya......... they have already reached? Ok, start the initial screening process for all the interviewees....... Yes, I will be there to take the final round of interviews...........schedule them after an hour and block my calendar for the rest of the day"
Armaan watched in wonder as his shy lady love suddenly transformed into the astute professional she was. Indeed, this woman was an enigma he would admire till his last breath.
"As you just heard, I am going back to the office now. I will see you some other time then"
"What a way to end a romantic interlude" thought Armaan wearily as he nodded. Being a very dedicated professional himself, he knew how important it was to be honest to one's work.
With a lot of entreaties that he would take care of himself and have all his medicines on time, Riddhima bade him a reluctant goodbye.
"Guess I will have to start faking illness to get you here more often" said Armaan with a grin.
"Do you even think I would have come and spent an hour in your room if Smriti aunty was here?"
"Not likely, but certainly worth a try"
Riddhima was taken aback for a moment.
"Guess I will need some time to get used to this new Armaan" she smiled silently to herself.
Looking up at his smiling face, she really wanted to stand on her toes and kiss those devastatingly attractive dimples, but she wasn't bold enough to do that yet. So with a light touch on his cheek, she was gone.
"Muski, yeh tu kya keh rahi hai" screeched Niki excitedly as she hugged her friend. Meanwhile Rahul stood nearby, watching this public display of affection with a little embarrassment. They were sitting at their favourite restaurant, an hour after Muskaan suddenly summoned them for lunch.
"Girls" he said in a hushed voice. "People are looking at us now, please stop this irritating display of fondness"
"Bro, you have no idea what Muskaan just told me" said Niki.
"Muski said something? Kab? Main to yahin tha"
"Yup, but you were busy looking at other people and trying to figure out whether they were looking at us or not"
"So that means I missed something good, right? Girls, this is bad. Ab batao mujhe kya baat hai"
"Pehle baith to le" said Muski.
Once they were seated, the girls still kept irritating Rahul and building up the suspense. They also made him treat them to double orders of ice-cream before they finally decided to relieve the poor guy of his curiosity.
"Ok bro, we have had enough of torturing you now. So it's time to tell you the secret"
"I am all ears Niki. Why else would I be groveling around since the last 30 minutes?"
"Awwwwwwww...........mere bechare bhai ka kya haal ho gaya hai. Shakal to dekh Muski"
"Stop it Niki. Ghar jaake teri jam ke pitai hone waali hai aaj"
Sensing that a war was about to break out any second, Muskaan decided to intervene.
"Stop it guys. Niki, you are not being fair to Rahul. He has every right to get angry as you are not letting me tell him the truth"
As Niki sat back with a glum face and Rahul let out a whoop, Mukaan continued.
"Rahul, all our efforts have paid off!!!!!! Ridzy and Armaan have confessed their love to each other!!"
In response, Rahul could only sit with his mouth open. It was only after Niki gave him a push that the words uttered by Muskaan began to sink in.
In his excitement, Rahul just pulled Muskaan to her feet and enveloped her in a tight hug. Meanwhile, the poor girl was left panting for breath as she tried her best to extricate herself from the deathly grip.
"Ahem, ahem" a voice alerted Rahul and he let go of Muskaan with a sheepish grin on his face.
"Bro, yeh kya tha?" asked Niki amusedly as she passed a glass of water to the almost choked Muskaan.
"Well, it was a way of expressing an extreme state of happiness"
"Oho, main karun to public display of fondness bordering on what not, aur tum karo to it is just an expression of happiness. Tell me more about double standards!!!!!!!!!!"
"Chup kar, main bada hoon tujhse"
"You two, just shut up! Can we get back to the main topic please?" intervened Muskaan.
"Yup Muski" said Rahul, slipping back into the "very excited" mode again. "Yeh batao ki yeh sab kab hua?"
"Yesterday, at your house"
Seeing Rahul and Niki exchange victorious smiles, Muskaan added, "So I guess it was you two who made Riddhima go there in the first place, right?"
"Yup. We left the field open for both, aur kya baat hai, dono ne to is baar sixer hi laga diya" said Rahul with a wicked grin.
"I so love you guys for this brainwave, or else pata nahin yeh dono kab confess karte" said Muskaan.
She soon went on to give them the sparse details provided by an excited Riddhima over the phone earlier in the morning. At the end, Muskaan however elicited a promise from both that they would not reveal anything about their new found knowledge to Riddhima, or else she would be dead meat very soon.
"Let's wait for our love birds to make the announcement themselves" she said and the other two readily agreed.
It was a very special day for Riddhima as Armaan was finally coming back to work after two weeks. The last few days had been extremely hectic for her, making it impossible to meet Armaan, who on the other hand was confined to the house. So in other words, their brief meeting at his house was the last time they saw each other. They however made up for it by talking on the phone every night. Lasting till well past midnight, these calls were something both looked forward to every day. Riddhima often found it funny to see herself behaving like a teenager as she impatiently waited for dinner to get over, after which she would quietly retire to her room and dial his number or wait for his call. Shashank and Padma found her behavior a little strange, but didn't pry further. They knew she was a mature girl and would know how to handle her life.
The buzzing of her phone roused Riddhima from her reverie as she sat staring at her laptop screen.
"Di, you are back??? How was the trip?"
"Yup sweetheart, I am back. Even though it was an official trip, it was just awesome."
"That's great! But you know what, Jiju was missing you like crazy."
"I know dear, so did I. That's why I have resolved to make him tag along with me the next time. At least we won't be missing each other to death"
"Awwww, that's so sweet Di"
"That's so sweet ki bacchi. Ek baar pyaar hone de aur uske baad shaadi, then I will see how you can stay away from your guy. I tell you, it's really difficult"
"Hmmm, I know how it feels" muttered Riddhima absent mindedly.
"What did you say Ridzy?" asked Anjali pretending she didn't hear that.
"Huh, I....... no...... I mean I can understand that it must be difficult Di" spluttered Riddhima.
"Hmmm, tu to bahut samajhdaar ho gayi hai. Kya baat hai??"
"Baat? Koi baat nahi hai Di"
"Ridzy, stop pretending now. I have been sensing some change about you since the last few weeks. Out with it."
"Di!!!!!!!! I am in the office right now"
"Ok ok, abhi ke liye chod deti hoon. But I guess tere woh Mr A. se baat karni padegi"
Riddhima gripped her phone on hearing the last few words, as it was almost about to fall out of her grasp.
"Di.....aapko yeh sab???"
"I am your big sis after all sweetie. By the way, tu to abhi office me hai na Ridzy, so you should work and not waste your time on idle gossip" said Anjali wickedly before adding "Accha sun, main abhi rakhti hoon. Will talk to you later kiddo"
Both Riddhima and Anjali were in a pretty agitated state of mind as they disconnected the call. While Riddhima was shocked at Anjali's revelation, Anjali on the other hand was deliriously excited to have finally caught her sister red-handed. She quickly dialed Atul's number to give him the news.
"Atul, I am now convinced that Ridzy is in love."
"Oho, meri detective wife ne finally sacchai ka pata laga hi liya" teased Atul.
"Atullllllll........... I think I know who that guy is"
"To batao mujhe"
"That's going to be a surprise. Till then, keep guessing" said Anjali as she disconnected the call with a giggle.
Meanwhile Atul leaned back on his chair and muttered to himself, "I had guessed the truth long back wifey. Let's see how good your guess is."
Armaan quickly made his way to his cabin, shooting a look at Riddhima's door in that process.
"Doesn't look like she is in her cabin" he thought. "But again, it won't hurt to check" said his heart.
With eager steps, Armaan made his way towards her cabin only to be stopped by the voice of his PA.
"What is it Sania?" asked Armaan, a little irritated at the interruption. However, he suddenly remembered his manners and wished her a good morning. Realizing that it won't be possible to get into Riddhima's cabin at that moment, he started walking towards his own cabin, with Sania following close behind as she detailed him about the meetings lined up for the day. As he was away from office for a long time, there were a lot of things pending and he had to get to work straightaway, starting with an investor meeting in 10 minutes.
Riddhima gave a start as she heard Armaan's voice outside her cabin door.
"So he is coming here" she thought excitedly and waited with bated breath.
However, Armaan's voice soon faded away and realizing that he was no longer outside her door, she went to check.
"Was I just imagining that?" she asked herself with a confused shake of her head.
"Maybe it is because you are missing him so much" added her heart, "Don't worry, he will be here soon" it reassured her.
However, this mushy state of mind was short-lived as there were some urgent meetings lined up for her too.
"Guess I will have to take this torture for some more time before I get to see him. Won't call him as he must be driving" she sighed resignedly before picking up her laptop and walking towards one of the meeting rooms.
"Sania, how many more meetings have you lined up for me today?" asked Armaan in a tired voice.
"Sir, you mentioned that you wanted to do all important meetings today, which is why I scheduled them this way. Do you think I should cancel the next few meetings?"
"Hmmm, no. Sorry, I forgot that you did this as per my instructions. Anyway, when's the next one scheduled?"
"It has already started Sir"
"Shucks, I will have to learn not to overshoot the given time when there are back to back meetings scheduled. Thanks Sania, I will be off now"
After Armaan was gone, Sania shook her head unbelievingly.
"What is happening? He forgot that I haven't briefed him about this meeting"
A presentation was already underway when Armaan entered the semi-lighted boardroom. He mentally scolded himself for not even asking for a brief before heading for the meeting.
"Well, it is too late now. Better sit down and start listening" he thought.
However, he was in for a pleasant surprise as he soon saw that the presenter was none other than Riddhima. Looking elegant as usual, she was an epitome of grace and perfection as she walked the board members through the master plan for their upcoming office in Bangalore. As the room was semi-lighted and she was too busy looking at the projection, Riddhima didn't realize that Armaan was also in the same room. She went through the whole presentation flawlessly and as she reached the end, there were sounds of approval from the listeners who were now busy discussing amongst themselves.
"Do let me know if there are any questions" she said with a smile before noticing a raised hand.
"Yes, please go ahead"
It was at this very moment that the lights in the boardroom were switched on and Riddhima just stood staring at the handsome face that now stared back at her.
"Oh no, the Mallik vs Gupta battle starts again" whispered a board member to his neighbor. After seeing these two always lock horns during such meetings, these board members were quite used to being mute spectators by now.
"Yes, Mr Mallik" said Riddhima with a smile as she got ready to field his questions.
As expected, there was a volley of questions that Armaan directed at her. To the onlookers, it was indeed a battle of wits, with both sides having an equal advantage, but what they failed to notice were the sparks that were flying all around, the twinkle in Armaan's eyes as he looked at Riddhima and the faint blush on her cheeks even as she confidently gave him all the answers. By the end of it, everyone in the boardroom was convinced that it was really difficult to judge who was better. Even Rahul was a witness to this interesting battle besides being the only one to notice the things the other board members didn't. As the meeting ended and everyone filed out of the room, he shot a glance at the two lovers. While Riddhima was busy collecting her files, Armaan was trying his best to look busy as he fiddled with his Blackberry.
"Guess I shouldn't disturb them now" he thought before silently making his way out of the room.
Once he noticed that the room was empty, Armaan quietly went and stood near Riddhima, who was trying her best not blush.
"Doesn't look like someone has been missing me" he noted as he leaned back on the wall and crossed his arms across his chest.
"What if I say the same?" asked Riddhima, turning to face him now.
"Come on Riddhima, I have been trying to get hold of you like crazy since morning, but you are never in your cabin."
"Oh really? I think you are the one who has been missing since morning. I even went up to your cabin once, but your PA said you are very busy today, which made me realize that Mr Mallik doesn't want to see me"
"How can you say that? I have been dying to see you since that day....."
When Armaan said those words, Riddhima's face turned a crimson red as she remembered the special moments they shared that day. In return, Armaan could only stare at her.
"Do you even realize what you do to me when you blush like that?" he demanded.
In reply to this, Riddhima blushed even more and hid her face on his shoulder. As Armaan caught the wonderful fragrance of her hair, he couldn't stop his hands from going around her waist and holding her close to him. Giving in to the embrace, Riddhima also rested her head on Armaan's chest, taking in his rhythmic heartbeat and dizzying masculine fragrance.
"So I guess you missed me, huh?"
"More than anything in this world"
"Same goes for me dear. However, if you have two devils like Rahul and Niki in the house, it gets a little impossible to miss someone all the time" he added with a laugh.
Laughing along with him Riddhima said, "I think you have some more meetings lined up for the day Mr Mallik, so you better get going or else your PA will come looking for you"
With a grin, Armaan let go of Riddhima and they both headed towards their respective cabins.
"Hello Mr Mallik"
"Yes Kumar, I have been waiting for your call. Do you have any updates to share?"
"You cannot really call them updates, but let me tell you that I have got a few leads on the case you asked me to investigate"
"That's great, so what do you think about the information I gave you"
"After analyzing everything, I have no reason to doubt that someone is after your life Mr Mallik"
"So I was right all along" said Armaan as he leaned back on his chair, darting a quick look at the door to make sure that no one was listening.
"Hmmm.........in fact, after looking at the chain of events, I am pretty convinced that even the car incident at Goa was an attempt to harm you"
"I thought so. So what do you suggest now? You must remember that I don't want my family getting involved in this as they might get unduly worried."
"Mr Mallik, I would suggest that you take at least one person from your family into confidence. God forbid, if anything happens to you, at least that person will know....sorry, for being so straightforward"
"That's fine Kumar, I understand what you are trying to say"
"Another thing I would suggest is that you retain the two bodyguards I have appointed for you"
"I know what you are trying to say Mr Mallik. I will make sure that no one gets to know about it. These guys will follow you around, but in a very covert manner. You can rest assured as they have been very well trained for such exercises"
"Sounds good then. Let me know if you come across anything else" said Armaan before disconnecting the call.
Heaving out a sigh, Armaan closed his tired eyes. Yes, he had known it all along that he was being targeted by someone, even though he didn't voice it loud. It struck him the very moment he was attacked in Goa. The way the car was coming towards him indicated that the driver had every intention of running him over. The other attacks that followed further strengthened this belief. Coming to the attack at the parking lot, the way it was executed made it quite obvious that the attacker was waiting for him and no one else. Even his accident was well planned because the truck had suddenly come in front of Armaan's car from the wrong direction, which again was strange. Moreover, they planned everything in such a manner that the truck driver managed to escape very easily, without getting noticed.
All this led Armaan to seek the help of an acquaintance, Mr Kumar, one of the most efficient detectives in the city. At first Armaan just casually mentioned his thoughts to Kumar, but soon he realized that there was much more to it than what met the eye.
"I will have to be more careful now. More than myself, I am worried about my family and Riddhima. Just need to make sure that nothing happens to any of them" thought Armaan.
"Di, yeh kya hai???" asked Riddhima as she walked up to Anjali. "Aap ne to kaha tha ki Jiju bhi aapke saath hai"
"Kaha to tha, but I have changed my plan now sweetie"
"Ab to main gayi" thought Riddhima. "She will start grilling me again"
"Guess we should find a place to sit and talk" said Anjali with a sly smile.
"Hmmm" said Riddhima absent mindedly, not sure what she got herself into.
Anjali had called her to this shopping mall on the pretext of having a small get-together that would include them and Atul. However, Atul was nowhere in sight now and Riddhima realized that she had been duped big time.
"So you ready with the details?" asked Anjali.
"Uh, Di.........see, it's not yet time to provide all the details. We are still working it out" said Riddhima in an uncomfortable voice.
"I realize that Ridzy, so I decided to help you sort this out"
"By inviting your Mr. A here"
"What? Where?" asked a stunned Riddhima as she took a few steps back. She didn't realize that she was standing near a flight of stairs and would have tumbled down had she not fallen into a willing pair of arms. As she straightened herself and looked at her savior, she was shocked to see herself staring into the eyes of Ayush.
"I guess I should give you some time with your Mr A" whispered Anjali in Riddhima's ear before she gave a thumbs up sign to Ayush and disappeared in the crowd.
Life has a knack of coming up with unexpected surprises at every turn, but if you believe in yourself and are true to your heart, nothing can separate you from your cherished goals.
Joined: 17 March 2010
Joined: 19 May 2008
Joined: 19 May 2008
"Life has a knack of
coming up with unexpected surprises at every turn, but if you believe
in yourself and are true to your heart, nothing can separate you from
your cherished goals. "
Joined: 17 March 2010
Life has a knack
of coming up with unexpected surprises at every turn, but if you
believe in yourself and are true to your heart, nothing can separate
you from your cherished goals. [Armaan here]
Joined: 23 October 2008
Joined: 20 May 2010
Joined: 25 August 2007
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