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Joined: 10 August 2009
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Joined: 10 August 2009
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Joined: 10 August 2009
The temple of Goddess Durga was situated at one end of the city. It was a very beautiful temple made of white marbel and had the perfect religious aura with multifarious shops selling items required for worshipping the deity and the hustle bustle of the religious minded people who came to visit the temple or worship the deity. The temple was located on a high platform and a series of some fifty steps from the ground led to the courtyard surrounding the temple and after crossing the courtyard there were some 10 or 12 steps which led to the main temple. Now an auto entered the alley, which led to the steps of the temple and was crowded with the shops for the items of worshipping the deity on each side. The auto came to a halt after going a little inside the alley as it was heavily crammed up by the people who came to worship the deity, most of whom were women, making it implausible for the vehicle to move any further. Stepped out of the vehicle a young girl clad in a very simple yet beautiful white salwar kameez with matching white glass bangles. Her black, silky, shiny hair was set loose over her back and kept coming on her face, concealing her fair face from view in the same manner as the dark clouds keep concealing the crystal clear sky. She leaned to have a clear view of the auto-driver and smiled sweetly: "Thank you bhaiyaji. I am already going late. Here you go."
And handed over to him the fare. Then she stood upright again. A strong breeze blew just at the moment and caused her hair to flow back revealing a very beautiful, angelic face. She had a pair of large, black and incredibly beautiful eyes in the depth of which any man would love to drown and never come out. Her rosy cheeks added even more charm to her beauty and her pink and glossy lips were every man's desire. She possessed the angelic beauty which had the capability to drive the sanest of menfolk crazy with passion.
As the vehicle reversed and moved out of the alley, the girl smacked her palm on her head lightly and muttered to herself: "Oh no! Today is my interview and I don't wanna be late. I should better hurry up or else they will kick me out of the office even before they meet me. Oh ma durga! Plz plz plz help me na. plz do some miracle na that they will select me. After all it's the biggest and most popular business organisation of the country. Oh no! look here once again I have started my blabbering. If I keep going in this pace I'll end up being there towards the end of the interview."
Saying this he strode off towards the very familiar shop to buy the necessities for worshipping the deity.
The elderly man, who was the owner of the shop, grinned at her.
Shopkeeper: "How are you riddhima beta? Today you are late. Is everything all right? I mean your health and all. "
Riddhima smiled sweetly at the concern of the elderly man: "Don't worry my sweet kaka. I'm absolutely fit and fine. Actually today I got up late in the morning. I just forgot to put the alarm and look now today is my interview and still after visiting the temple I have to go to the mall to bring some necessities for masi. She'll b w8ing. So I should better hurry up."
Shopkeeper: "But if you are having such an important appointment than why don't you skip going to the mall and ask your Masi to do the shopping herself for once."
Riddhima smiled: "And why should I do that? Kaka you know very well that she had been the support and family to me when I needed her the most. And now its my duty to look after her and do all necessities for her. She is not of the age now to go to the mall and bring all the stuffs all by herself. As far as the job is concerned, if I loose this one I can get another one but if I loose my masi who has always been a mother to me, I wont get her back. You know kaka I will never stake my relations, my honesty and my self respect for a progress in life."
The shopkeeper smiled: "Well I was expecting this kind of reply from you bitiyaan. Infact I knew that this will be your answer. I know you from two years now since you came here and you have remained just the same as I first saw you, the same nave, sweet and charming girl who never can see anyone in trouble or grief and extend a helping hand to anyone and everyone. You are the sweetest girl I have ever met in my whole life."
Riddhima smiled at the old man's praise: "Kaka you yourself are so sweet that you never ever see any fault in any person and everyone appears to be immaculate to you. That's why they say probably that those who are good themselves see goodness in every person. I'm not that good and I'm pretty naughty too."
She smiled mischieveously. The elderly man smiled and shook his head. He knew that she would never take a compliment but would rather try to convince the person that the person was so good as to praise her and that there was no credit of her own in all that.
Riddhima glanced at her watch and now it struck to her again that she was wasting time unnecessarily: "Oh no! See kaka I have again got myself engaged in blabbering. Oh God what should I do to get rid of my blabbering habbit. This habbit of mine will get me killed someday soon."
And handing him over the money she just grabbed the basket of the items required for worshipping the goddess and ran for it, leaving behind a smiling elderly man.
The shopkeeper shook his head and prayed to the deity: "Maa, plz give her all happiness and success that she deserves and keep her safe from all dangers."
Riddhima was practically running through the way and then she hastily started to mount the stairs, exchanging greeting with alomost everyone as everyone seemed to know this sweet and chirpy girl and liked her a lot, well now who would not like a sweet girl as her. She reached the open courtyard of the temple and taking her shoes off she went inside the temple. As the priest turned to see her, an affectionate smile crept onto his lips.
Priest: "Arey Riddhima beta, why are you so late today?"
Riddhima smiled sheepishly: "So sorry Panditji. Actually I woke up really late today. And see now I'm late for everything. Today I have an interview and I don't wanna be late for it. I hope I wont be late for it atleast."
The priest smiled at her innocent anxiety and assured her: "Don't worry beta! Durga ma is with you. You will make it on time and also you'll achieve success in it. My blessings are with you."
Riddhima smiled gratefully: "thank you so much panditji."
The priest smiled: "God bless you."
Riddhima bent down and touched the old man's feet and he put his hand on her head and prayed for her success .
Now riddhima stood back upright again and as the priest turned back and walkedaway to perform his religious chores, she stepped forward and approached the inner sanctum of the temple where the idol of the deity was situated. She experienced a strange serenity and tranquility and a peace of mind as soon as she stood in front of the Goddess. The very sight of the deit, she felt, imbibed in her a strong sense of determination. She joined her palms. She could speak her mind out in front of the goddess. She could reveal her innermost woes and worries ,which she could not share with anyone else, to the deity.
Riddhima: "Ma, plz bless me and provide me the strength and determination, so that I can achieve success in my aim. I'm really nervous about the interview. I have heard that this man , the CEO of the company, is the wierdest of menfolk and an extremely arrogant jerk. Now don't think I'm afraid or anything. Why should I? As if he's gonna devour me at first sight! But ya I'm a little nervous. But I know you are with me and so everything's gonna be just fine. If you are with me I can face any wierdo."
(parking zone of Mallik empire)
Armaan and Rahul approached an elegant and stylish black car. Rahul pulled open the door the driver's side and got in while Armaan sat on the passenger's seat next to the driver's seat.
Rahul: "Woohoo! So finally the greatest workaholic of all times MR. Armaan Mallik is out of the office and away from work. You just wait buddy. I'll make this day a memorable one for you. I'll take you to some of my favourite enjoyable places and ….."
However his merry blabbering was interrupted by a sullen Armaan: "Ya right take me to one of your so called fun filled places which I detest so much and make sure you wont live to repent it."
Instead of scaring Rahul away this threat only resulted in gearing up his laughter as he very well knew his friend, his best buddy. He knew pretty well that no matter how much he hide behind that shell of rudeness and arrogance, he had a real golden heart and was so much caring and most importantly all that he kept on saying to Rahul were mere threats and Armaan never really would do any such thing. So basically in spite of all the vicious threats rahul is safe from Armaan and, even more importantly, with Armaan.
Rahul (still giggling): "Arey my oldy grandad, my monster buddy, don't worry yaar. I know it pretty well that you possess an out of the world aversion for all that a young man of your age would go crazy for. (he rolled his eyes) Man! How can you survive without thinking about the beautiful fairies around. Wow!!! (He sighed) hey you saw that girl in the party last week? Wow man she was gorgeous! Did you see her…"
He was again interrupted by an impatient Armaan: "Rahul I so am not interested in ur reverie. I went there to meet the clients and not to gawk at every other woman. Who the hell cares if she was gorgeous or not. I got the deal cracked and that's what matters."
Rahul shook his head in exasperation: "Oh God! What should I do with this businessman? Cant you just think of anything else than business Armaan? I mean common yaar. What the hell are you going to do when you'll b in love? Well let me guess. May be you are going to ask your girl 'hello gentle lady would you mind waiting till I crack the next deal.' " (he laughed out)
Armaan: "Was that supposed to be a joke? Well let me clarify then it was pathetic."
Rahul: "And so are you. You know what unkle is really right. You really are a hitler."
Armaan's lips twisted a little into a smirk: "thank you. I'll take it as a compliment."
Rahul: "And it suits you really well. You know what Armaan I don't know why but my instincts are telling me that this journey's gonna be memorable. May be you are gonna meet your soulmate today, may be you are gonna fall in love at first sight, may be…."
Armaan interrupted: "May be I'm gonna kill you with bare hands or may be I'll just giftwrap you and present you to the starving tigers or may be… . Cant you think of anything else? Does this only keep on roaming in your mind all day long? Soulmate and love at first sight? Ya right! Both only exists in fairytales. Though soulmate does exist in some cases in real world like my mom and dad but this love at first sight thing never does. I mean common yaar I just cant understand how exactly can a person fall for another at first sight, without knowing anything about the other? Its just impossible."
Rahul: "Oh common yaar! I'm just a normal young and handsome man. And you just cant expect everyone to be a saint like you, can you? Every other girl drools over you and what you do? Just ignore them and restrict their advances with those murderous glares. And about that impossible thing of yours, well it just happens and one cant plan it you see. And by the way mister do you even know what it is being in love and when can you say you are in love?"
Armaan: "no and neither do I want to know."
Rahul: "you really are hopeless! There's no point talking to you about it. It just wont penetrate your thick skull."
Armaan: "Wow so finally you got the message. Congrats. And now if you are done with brooding over me and trying to make me understand, than shall we leave. I have to be back by … (He glanced at his watch)…. 12 I think. There'll be an interview and I don't wanna get late for it."
Rahul shook his head: "Aargh! Just look at this man! Again work! Ufff! Fine lets go then."
With this he started the engine of the car and they kicked off at a high speed.
(Starqueen Shopping Mall)
The four storeyed mall was really beautiful and captivating. In the first storey, there were shops for groceries, vegetables, fruits, confectionaries and other edible things. In the second storey there were shops for garments, both Indian and Western. In the third, there were shops for gifts and other showpieces which were masterpieces of art and were stunningly beautiful. In the final and fourth storey, there were shops for jewellery, ranging from reasonable price to extremely costly stuffs.
Riddhima was busy buying some necessary groceries for her landlady whom she called maasi and who was more than a mother to her. She was deciding on what to take and what not to and was checking time and again the list clutched in her free hand. Her back was turned towards the main entrance to the mall as she was on the ground floor of the mall. Suddenly the door was pushed open and stepped in an extremely handsome young man with features that would strongly remind one of the Greek God, closely followed by another good looking young man. As soon as he stepped inside the mall crossing the threshold of the entrance gate, riddhima felt something strange, something really weird, something which she had never ever felt before and just at the moment a gush of wind blew through the glass door as it opened to give entry to that extremely handsome young man and passing through his body it blew through her as if connecting them in some strange way. A strong yet sweet fragrance hit her as if surrounding her like a shield, a shield which would protect her from anything and everything. She turned back as she felt that someone strangely familiar had stepped in but alas, till the time she turned back the man was already gone. Riddhima could see noone there except random men and women and some kids entering the mall. She giggled at her own stupidity and smacked her palm onto her forehead as she thought it was all her imagination.
Riddhima: "Stupid you riddhi. This only happens in fairytales and nothing such happens in real life. Got it you dumbo! But why that sudden weird feeling crept onto me and that fragrance. (but as soon as the question arose she reasoned herself) oh come on rids it was all your imagination and the fragrance was perhaps of some random person. Come on now get a grip on yourself and get going with the task in hand. Remember silly girl you have to make it fast. Interview, remember interview. Come on now cork up your stupidity."
And as usual her self admonishment worked pretty well and the practical girl again landed in her practical world. She picked up some groceries and went to the counter to pay for them.
(Inside a garment shop in the first floor)
Rahul was trying one after the other t-shirts and throwing them almost at the face of the salesman. They had reached the mall after they went to their fav. Caf and had their breakfast. For the first time that day Rahul saw Armaan a bit, well not really happy, but contented and as a bonus that sulky expression on Armaan's face, though not fully, reduced much.
After selecting a shirt, he asked without turning: "hey Ammyboy, what do you think? This will suit me,wont it? I just luv this color and I think Sheena will love it too. What say? (However he did not get any response whatsoever) Ammy? Armaan?"
And he turned back only to see that Armaan was missing. He was not there on the shop.
Rahul : "What's going on? Where the hell has this Armaan gone? Mannn! What am I supposed to do with this jerk? Cant he just inform if he's going somewhere!"
(the zone for indian outfits)
(A beautiful shop)
Armaan was engrossed in selecting some sarees and kurtas. The sales girl was just drooling over him as usual.
Armaan picked up a white saree with beautiful embroidery: "Hmm! This will look good on Bua. (Without turning ot the sales girl standing beside him and, well, gawking at him) So what did you say the price of this saree is?"
However, he did not receive any response. Well who was going to reply as the one he asked, i.e, the sales girl, the question was busy gawking at him with an intense yearning in her eyes. However, Armaan, on the other hand, felt weird at not getting any response and he turned back only to see a lost expression in the eyes of the salesgirl who was gaping at her foolishly. Armaan shook his head.
Armaan: "it seems daydreaming is a special quality of these girls. (in a bit louder voice) Hello are you there? Or rather should I say do you need a mental check up?."
With this harsh comment, the girl was brought back with a thud to reality.
The girl fumbled with words (well it was quite an usual scene when it cums to Armaan. Everyone, well almost everyone, used to fumble with words on facing the angry young man): "Umm…wo…Sir…i…I mean…"
Armaan (in the similar cold tone): "ya I'm listening. Tell me what do you mean. I think you mean that this is the way you serve to your customers, isnt that? I must say it's a very commendable way to do so. Do you ask for a reward from me?"
The girl: "yes sir…I mean….no sir….Sorry sir…" (And the poor girl bowed her head down.)
Armaan: "You should better be, silly girl."
And with that he marched away without sparing a single glance to that dumbfounded girl.
Armaan went to the counter and paid the bills for the saree and a bright green kurta that he picked up for his dad and after the salesman handed over to him the two bags containing the two outfits, he walked out of the shop.
(A quite deserted parking zone area outside the mall)
Riddhima hurried down the alley that led to the parking zone. She was carrying two plastic bags, clutched in both hands and was glancing here and there as in search of something with an anxious expression.
Riddhima: "oh God! Why is everything and everyone hell bent to get me late yaar. This Sapna! I'm gonna kill that silly girl! Why the hell does she keep losing her things like that? Now see, again she lost her pendant and here I am, her all time Nancy Drew, searching things for her. Oh god, please help me to find it soon than sooner."
As she was muttering under her breadth and was busy searching for the pendant, she heard some noises from a little distance. Her head shot up as she registered the noises to be human voices. Wondering what was going on, she decided to follow the noises. As she went nearer, she recognised the noises to be someone's pleads and someother people's threats. As she went even nearer and took the turn which was hiding the desolate corner from general view, she was stunned to see the view in front of her and her face was drained of the color.
There was an old man clutching the leg of one of the four other men who had all the appearance of ruffians and was pleading with them, tears rolling down his cheek. But the man whose leg he was clutching appeared to be least bothered about it and seemed merely agitated. Finally it seemed to be crushing that ruffian's patience, well whatever he had, and the man ruthlessly kicked the old, fragile man who fall down on his back and groaned in pain. With this broke down the limit of patience of Riddhima. She just could not see the old man in pain. Hence, she hurried towards the ruffians.
Riddhima: "hey! What the hell are you doing? Stay away from him or else…"
At first the ruffians were shocked at the sudden interruption but they gained control within secs.
The one who looked like their leader sniggered and spoke out while eyeing her badly: "or else what sweety? What will you do to me? Oooo I'm really scared you see. (he sniggered again) What guys? Are you all not scared?"
In reply to that all the other three ruffians laughed.
The leader continued: "you didn't tell me sweetheart what you'll do. But I must say you are most welcum to do anything to me, with me. You are such a beautiful distraction and I wont mind it. Trust me."
Now this was it. Riddhima lost her temper at this heinous comment and being the bandit queen that she was, she stood up immediately and walked up to the man and in the next moment
For a moment it seemed time had stopped. All the ruffians including the old man were hell shocked at the sudden attack. But soon the man regained control and fire flashed in his eyes. Like an injured animal, he reacted immediately. He clutched her open hair in his fist and riddhima shrieked: "Aaaaah!"
The man: "you!! How dare you? You don't know girl how much trouble you have invited for yourself. You are so gonna repent this. I will crush you and that vanity of yours down my foot."
Saying this, he raised his hand to take away her "dupatta". She was struggling to get out of his hold but he was way too stronger than her.
However somehow his hand did not reach her neck. At first neither he nor she realized it but they found that the man's hand had stopped in mid air right by his side and both turned to find out the cause only to find a strong hand holding that man's arm in a strong grip.
Even before they could wonder what was going on a very cold voice spoke out: "Leave her. If you want to get back home in one piece just do as I said."
And a man came out from behind the ruffian, still holding the latter's arm in a strong grip.
The first thing that caught Riddhima's attention was a pair of oceanic blue eyes with formidable flashes of anger.
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