Friday, 20 February 2015

part 31: An Arranged Love Marriage

Sun rays peeped inside the room as he opened the curtains. As they hit her ; she instantly opened her eys a little uneasily due to sudden brightness. But the next moment she felt the rays subsiding a little as he figure stood right in between. She rubbed her eyes and opened them properly to find Armaan standing in front of her.


She sat up straight on the bed and saw him sitting next to her. He smiled at her and kissed her forehead;
Good morning Riddhima! Chalo jaldi se uth jao aur tayyar ho jao. We are getting late.

R: Par hum jaa kaha rahe hai?

A: Batata hu sab; pehle tum fresh toh ho jao. Jao jaake naha lo tab tak main dekh ke aata hu if the breakfast?s ready!

She came out fresh from the shower; though she was surprised at his sudden back to normal behaviour but nonetheless happy about it!
He entered the room with the breakfast try and placed it on the table. The tray consisted of all fruit salads and all nutritious and light things only; which told her that he must have had a talk with Dr.Modi as all these things were suggested by him for her in last appointment.

She tried to ask him about where he was taking her this early morning but he just kept avoiding any talk. She quietly had her breakfast as he fed her just like last night. But once that breakfast was done and he grabbed the keys to leave she could hold herself any more.

Armaan aap jab tak mujhe nahi batate ki hum kaha jaa rahe hai; main yaha se ek kadam bhi nahi hilne wali!
She had by now figured out that all his behaviour had something to do with her tests.
A: Riddhima why can?t you just come.....just trust me and come along.
R: Aap mujhe hospital le jaa rahe haina tests karwane? Isi liye kuch nahi keh rahe; right?

A: Haan Riddhima....he sighed seeing her still adamant.
Agar jaanna hi chahti ho toh sun lo; main tumhe abhi isi waqt tests karwane le jar aha hu; aur jitni jaldi ho sake tumhara operation bhi karwa raha hu! Sun liya? Ab chalo!
He held her hand and had just walked two steps when she jerked his hand away.

Armaan chodiye mujhe. Main aapke saath kahi nahi aa rahi! Aur jaisa ki maine pehle bhi kaha tha main ye operation nahi karvaungi!

A: Riddhima apna pagal pan band karo; apni ye jid chod do. Tum samajh kyun nahi rahi ki aisa jaruri nahi hai ki jot um soch rahi ho vaisa hi ho. Ho sakta hai sab theek rahe; ho sakta hai operation poori tarah se successful rahe! Tum negative hi kyu soch rahi ho?

R: Par agar aisa NAHI hua toh kya? Agar vohi hua jo main soch rahi hu toh kya?

A: Agar aisa hota bhi hai fir bhi mujhe farak nahi padta Riddhima! Mujhe bas tu......

R: Main jaanti hu; aapko nahi padta; par mujhe toh padta hai na!

He sighed hard and rubbed his forehead to keep his cool.
Dekho Riddhima; please ye jid chod do; tum galat kar rahi ho!
He settled her down on the bed and sat down near her feet holding her hands.

A: Agar main keh raha hu ki main tumhare saath hu; main kuch galat nahi hone dunga toh tumhe dar kis baat ka hai? Agar main khud tumse keh raha hu ki mujhe agar kal tum ek pita hone ka sukh nahi bhi de paayi tab bhi main tumhe apnane ke liye tayyar hu toh maan kyu nahi jaati is operation ke liye Riddhima?

He held her chin and wiping her tear made her face him;
Please meri baat ko samjho Riddhima. Aise impulsive decision mat lo. Aur dekho agar jaisa tum soch rahi ho vaise agar ho bhi gaya; tab bhi kuch badal nahi jaata Riddhima. Jaruri toh nahi ki vo baccha tumhari kok se janam le.

Adoption is always an option isn?t it? Hum jab waqt aaye toh adopt bhi toh kar sakte hai na! Aur ye saari baatein bohot dur ki hai. Abhi toh humari shaadi ko sirf 4 mahine hi hue hai! There?s a lot more time to think about starting our family na Riddhima.

Agar God forbid; is operation ke waqt kuch galat ho bhi gaya toh aane wale waqt main hum uske liye treatments bhi toh karwa sakte hai ! Sab theek ho jayega; tum kyun apni is jid pe adi rehna chahti ho?

R: Nahi Armaan; aap acchi tarah jaante hai ki iske liye koi treatment is not possible. Aur aap adoption ka raasta kyu apnayenge jab you can very well have your own kid! Meri vajah se aap kyu ye khaali pan bardaash karenge?
Nahi Armaan.....main soch chuki hu; aapko jarur aisi koi ladki mil jaayegi jo aapko khush rakh sake; aapko har vo khushi de sake jo main nahi de paungi! Aapka saath meri zindagi main shayad kuch hi dino ke liye likha tha Armaan.

A: Agar aisa hai bhi toh tum operation kyu nahi karwati? Tumhare operation ke baad; theek ho jaane ke baad bhi toh main kisi aur ladki ko dhund hi sakta hu na!

R: Kyunki tab theek hone ka koi bhi faayda nahi hoga; jaan toh bach jaayegi par aapse alag hokar vaise bhi us zindagi ka koi matlab nahi hoga!

A: So tum mujhe kisi aur ke saath dekhna bardaash nahi kar sakti; but still you expect ki main khushi khushi kisi aur ko apna lu! Ek baat batao Riddhima; agar tumhari jaga main hota toh tum kya karti? Tab bhi tumhara faisla yahi hota? Tum mujhe chod deti......mujhe mar jaane......

She covered his mouth not letting him complete his words.
Armaan please; aisa mat kahiye.

A: Tum har vo baat jo sunna bhi nahi chahti kaise expect kar rahi ho ki main kar paunga Riddhima? It?s fair if you ask me to let you die; par main apne marne ki baat tak nahi kar sakta? Kyu Riddhima?

Kyun agar pati ko kuch ho jaye toh patni ki zindagi khatam ho jaati hai; aur agar patni ko kuch ho jaaye toh pati par koi asar nahi padega? Kyun usse umeed ki jaati hai ki vo apne liye koi aur dhund le?
Meri baat sun lo Riddhima; mujhe tumhari koi bakwaas na sunni hai; naahi toh manjur hogi. Mujhe bas tum sahi salmat chahiye ho! Is liye tum chup chap mere saath ch........

R: Nahi Armaan; main aapke saath nahi chalungi! Aap chahe meri baat ko samjhe ya na samjhe main ye operation nahi karwaungi! Kyunki aap agar mujhse naraj hue; is decision ke liye mujhe kabhi maaf na kar paaye toh vo main seh bhi lu; par agar is operation main vohi hua jo nahi hona chahiye toh bhale hi meri jaan bach jaayegi; par uske baad har ek din main til til marungi!

A: Toh tum meri baat nahi manogi? Tum apna operation nahi karvaogi??

R: Na.....nahi!

A: Riddhima tum har baat manva leti ho mujhse; har baar tumhari jid ke saamne main kuch kar nahi paata. Par ye samajh lo ki agar tum jiddi ho toh main bhi jid karna acchi tarah jaanta hu! Agar maine apna faisla suna diya toh bohot pachtawa hoga tumhe Riddhima; is liye phir se keh raha hu.......soch lo. Yahi tumhara aakhri faisla hai?

R: Haan......aapka koi faisla mujhe operation ke liye nahi mana paayega!
A: Theek hai.....

He left her hand and stood up with a determined look on his face. She sensed he was upto something!
Agar tumhe aisa hi lagta hai toh ab mera faisla bhi sun lo Riddhima. Tum agar ye operation nahi karwa sakti toh.......

he looked at her firmly while she awaited his words. She saw him looking down at her neck and back to her face; before she could understand what was happening the next moment she could feel the ground shake beneath her as he did the most unexpected! He SNATCHED THE MANGALSUTRA OUT OF HER NECK in a swift move.

It felt like he had ripped her heart straight out of her.  Placing her hand against her neck she sat frozen trying to digest what he just did.

Riddhima.....agar tum mera khud ki zindagi par itna bhi haq nahi samjhti; ki main tumhare baarein main koi faisla tak le saku; toh main tumhe ye mangalsutra pehenne ka haq nahi de sakta! Ye rishta mere liye isi waqt khatam ho jaayega; agar tum apni isi jid par adi rehna chahti ho!

Bohot kehti ho na ki ye rishta; ye shaadi; main; tumhare liye tumhara sab kuch hai. Toh saabit karke dikhao! Baatein karna bohot aasan hai Riddhima; prove things if you really mean them! Agar vakai mere tumhari zindagi main kuch bhi maayne hai toh meri baat maan lo; aur ye operation kara lo!

Ye faisla; main poori tarah tum par chodta hu. Tum socho tumhe kya karna hai; tumhare liye kya jyaada jaruri hai! Agar sach main is rishte ko sabse badkar maanti ho toh surgery karva lo; main peechli sari baatein bhula dunga. Jo bhi tumne kiya; mujhse jo bhi jhut bole; sach chupaye....... sab kuch bhulkar tumhe maaf karne ke liye bhi tayyar hu. Par agar aisa nahi chahti; toh main bhi ek aisi ladki ke saath is rishte main nahi rehna chahta jo apni ek jid ke liye kisi bhi had tak jaa sakti hai!

So decide; kal subah tak ka waqt hai tumhare paas; mere saath tests karvane ke liye chalti ho toh theek varna main divorce papers tayyar karke rakh dunga!

He was about to walk away but again turned to her and continued;
Aur haan; ye mat sochna ki divorce ke liye haan keh dogi toh tum chut jaogi. Uh huh; agar divorce de bhi dun tab bhi I?ll make sure you go through the surgery; fark sirf itna hoga ki us waqt chahe surgery ke baad jo ho main tumhare saath nahi rahunga; tumhare paas nahi paogi mujhe!
Toh surgery toh honi hi hai; bas itna socho ki mera saath chahti ho ya nahi!

He left the room leaving her in a pool of tears. She still sat with her hand caressing her neck which no more had her mangalsutra. His words rang in her ears like a siren. She couldn?t feel, hear or think anything anymore. She was numbed. No emotions were left within her. She felt as though he sucked out her life; her soul and walked out of the room. Her limbs refused to move an inch; eyes refused to blink; mind refused to think but still her tears refused to stop!

Armaan instantly sent Sophia to his room under the pretext of cleaning the room with strict instructions to be with Riddhima and never to leave her alone for a second till he was back. In such a situation; after an horrendous act of his; he couldn?t afford to let her be alone for even a micro second! Clutching the mangalsutra tighter he started walking away but four steps down and his knees gave up. He sat down in the middle of stairs and held his head.

Her face flashed in front of his eyes and he almost felt it hard to breathe remembering the hurt and pain that he had just caused. He had died a million deaths after he had muttered that rubbish up there. But even though what he did was wrong; he knew HE was right! He did it for her own good; and was hoping for the best!

1 baar Riddhima; bas 1 baar tum theek ho jaaogi; uske baad tumhare sara dard; takleef, dukh, sab kuch mita dunga. Tumhari shikayatein, naarajgi, sab dur kar dunga! Main jaanta hu ki is waqt Riddhima ko meri sabse jyaada jarurat hai; mere saath ki jarurat hai. Bas use apni baahon main chupa lu aur jee bhar ke roo lene du yahi chahti hogi vo.

 Par jo maine abhi kiya vo jaruri tha. Mere paas waqt bohot kam hai Riddhima and I couldn?t just sit and watch. Mujhe maaf kar dena bhagwan; I have hurt her in the worst possible way; par bas main use theek hota dekhna chahta hu! Mujhe aur kuch nahi chahiye; kuch bhi nahi.

He had kept the mangalsutra safely in his pocket right near his heart. Calling back at office he informd that he won?t be available for a few days so whatever work; they could contact him only through mail or calls!

Around lunch time he heard some familiar voice and instantly walked towards the living room. He found Rahul walking in with a widest smile possible! Approaching Armaan he was about to hug when he felt a sharp slap against his cheek; followed by strong puches coming his way.

Never ever in his life had Armaan raised his hand on Rahul! They had fought; but just like kids; not any intentional harm. He was his best friend; more likely a brother to him! Armaan grabbed his collar and pulled him up to his level mercilessly while Rahul stared at him unbelievably. Holding his nape he was about to punch him straight in his face but somehow couldn?t bring himself up to do so!

Ra: Tu paagal ho gaya hai kya Armaan......ye kya kar raha hai? Aise jaanwaro ki tarah kyu peeth raha hai mujhe?

But all he got in return was a hard; cold glare!
Hearing all the commotion Ananya had walked out of the kitchen and gasped as she found Armaan holding Rahul by his collar.

An: Armaan kya kar raha hai....chod; chod use!
Armaan left him with a jerk due to which Rahul fell flat on his back.
Ab: Armaaan.....ye kya battamasi hai. Tera dost hai vo; ye koi tareeka.........

A: Abhi isi waqt dafa ho jaa yaha se Rahul; isse pehle ki main apne hosh vakai kho du! Aur dubara mujhe apni shakal bhi mat dikhana.
Rahul who had come all happy about the deal; and expecting a warm welcoming hug was stunned by Armaan?s words.

An: Armaan tum.....tumhe pata bhi hai tum kya keh rahe ho! Tum abhi ghusse ain ho; upar jao; baad main......

A: Main poore hosh main hu Mom; par agar aap sunengi ki is kameene ne mere saath kya kiya hai toh aapke hosh jarur ud jaayenge! Jise main apna sabse acha dost samjhta tha; usne itna bada dhoka diya hai mujhe ki........

An: Par hua kya hai Armaan?

A: Isne mujhse jhut bola hai Mom......ek bohot bada jhut.
Ananya helped Rahul get up and looked at Armaan all perplexed by his behaviour.

An: Armaan use apni baat rakhne ka mauka toh......
Armaan walked towards Ananya and tried to drag Rahul out of her hold but Ananya did not let him do so. She had always taken Rahul as her second son; and trusted him as much as she trusted Armaan. She could bet her life that he would never hurt Armaan!

A: Mom aap nahi jaanti isne....ye......
Aapne hi mujhse pucha tha na ki Riddhima aaj kal bohot thaki hui si lagti hai; bohot khoyi khoyi rehti hain; jaanti hai kyu mom? Kyunki vo.......
she is suffering from Cancer; Mom!

Aur ye behuda shaks jis par maine itna bharosa kiya tha; usne sab jaante hue mujhse sara sach chupaya! Mujhe kuch bhi nahi bataya. Mujhse ek ke baad ek jhut bolta raha!
Ananya was stumped by the revelation. She couldn?t believe her ears.

An: Ca.....cancer?

A: Haan Mom....... itni badi baat Ridhima aur mere is so called dost ne mujhse chupaye rakhi thi peechle 2 hafton se!

Ananya settled down on the sofa as she felt sick. His words immediately brought tears to her eyes as she now understood Riddhima?s changed behaviour and the reason behind her pale face!

Rahul who was standing still; felt his collar grabbed back by Armaan; but this time he did not defend.

A: Nikal ja yaha se Rahul; abhi isi waqt chala ja. Isse pehle ki main apne sabar ka baandh tod du tu......

Ra: Is waqt tu ghusse main hai; meri koi baat nahi samjhega Armaan. Par trust me is waqt mujhse jyaada khush aur koi nahi ho sakta! Mujhe bohot khushi hai ki tujhe sach pata chal gaya Armaan. I am finally relieved!

Armaan just threw him out of the house shutting the door on his face. He cared less about any of his words anymore. He loathed himself that he trusted all such people who always ultimately hurt him.

Entire day he kept hoping and praying that she would just give in. Ananya had tried to confront her but she never spoke anything. With great difficulty she had fed Riddhima some food and after having medicines she slept for few hours. Armaan had stared at her endleesly while she slept; but the moment she stirred a little in her sleep he had walked out of the room.

Armaan had purposely avoided her as he knew that talking to her or any kind of interaction with her could have made him weak at his decision which wasn?t affordable. But as the dinner was ready; Ananya was about to take food for her as per Armaan?s instructions; when they found her walking towards the dining table. She settled on her place silently; no expressions on her face. She kept staring deeply immersed in her own world.

Armaan gulped hard as he knew he was responsible for her state. He cursed himself as she sat with a blank look and quietly kept gulping the bites that Ananya forwarded; like a formality. She wasn?t even in senses enough to realise what she was doing; or what she was eating!

He just kept staring at her but she was too lost to notice anything. After a few bites she stopped eating. Ananya tried to talk to her; make her eat; but she didnot respond. All of a sudden she spoke;

Armaan......main kal subah aapke saath tests karvane aaungi; aur ye operation bhi karvaungi!

Saying just enough she stood up and walked away back into their room. He had never felt so helpless yet so satisfied by same statement at a time. Where relief had washed him; guilt had gripped him!

She looked no good than a living dead to him. No emotions, no feelings, just mere words. He couldn?t even read hurt in her eyes anymore!
But this wasn?t the time to think over all of that. She had agreed for the operation and nothing could have been better than that!

The very next morning Shashank, Padma, Anjali and Atul had arrived as he had informed them about her surgery. She had kept things under cover but they were her family; and they had equal rights to know; especially when she was going to undergo such a huge surgery!

They tried to talk to her; had hugged her; blamed her for hiding the truth; but she remained mum. She had not uttered a single word since last morning except for her approval of operation. As much as Armaan was happy that finally she was ready for the surgery; he was dieing seeing her turn unresponsive to things!

He took her to the hospital and her tests started. Abhimanyu was glad that she was here and this time WITH ARMAAN; but even he had read the emptiness in her eyes. He thought of confronting Armaan later as he saw the lost look on his face as well. He knew something had gone wrong; but now was not the time to discuss.

Riddhima who usually was scared of needles; tests; had not even left a gasp out of her mouth when a huge syringe was pierced in her veins to collect her blood sample!

Around 7 in the evening all the reports were ready and he informed Armaan that they could operate her the very next morning if he was okay with it. Armaan had signed the papers and completed all the formalities without wasting a second?s time!

Though Rahul had had strongest urge to be there for his Jerry; but wasn?t sure how Armaan would react to his presence. That night Padma stayed with Riddhima and Anjali had tried her best to cheer her; but nothing seemed of help.
Armaan who sat outside watched everything silently. Billy too had come down to Mumbai immediately as Ananya informed him about Riddhima?s health. She had everyone around her; with her; but nothing made any difference to her anymore. She remained unaffected; disinterested in every damn thing; every damn person around her.

As the clock struck 8; she was to be taken to the O.T! Finally gaining some courage Armaan walked into her room as the sisters were getting things set.  He settled down on the stool besides her bed and stared at her. He was at loss of words; had no idea what was he to say?

After looking at her blank face for a while; he just bent down and kissed her forehead and without giving it a thought whispered in her ear holding her hand as she laid silently;
Tumhe kuch nahi hoga Riddhima; sab theek hi hoga! Main tumhare saath hu; chahe jo ho jaaye. I won?t let anything happen to you Riddhima....I lo......

His words were cut by the nurse as it was time to take Riddhima to the O.T! He left her had and she still laid unaffected; he wasn?t sure if she had even heard him! Abhimanyu entered the ward and instructed something to the nurses; and then turning to Armaan placed a hand over his shoulder.

Ab: Relax Armaan........ sare experts is case ko achi tarah examine kar chuke hai. Hopefully sab theek hi hoga; aur tujhe teri Riddhima bilkul sahi salamat vapas dene ki har koshish main karunga; tu bas ab thodi der aaram kar; kal se yaha baitha hua hai.


Riddhima was taken to the O.T and Armaan had just stood in front of the door for a while staring at it. But after a while he walked away and sat down in a small silent corner; which was a praying corner and looked at the idol of Ganpati that was placed in the centre.

He looked at it and then sat staring own aimlessly lost in his own world.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and could sense someone sitting next to him; as he looked up he found Rahul staring back at him.

Ra: Sab theek ho jaayega Armaan......Jerry itni kamjor nahi hai; I am sure vo bilkul theek ho jaayegi!

Forgetting all the fights; anger; grudges Armaan hugged Rahul tightly as he couldn?t hold back his tears anymore! Rahul was surprised at first but as he felt Armaan?s tears wetting his shirt he realized that it was his breakdown! After all these revelations; fights with her; probably this was the first time he was venting out his pain, insecurities!

Armaan sobbed like a kid while Rahul just hugged him back. All the emotional turmoil had been enough for Armaan and the damn had broken. Yes he was strong; but he was a HUMAN at the end. He too had emotions; and ignoring all his feelings and emotions he had just put forward his cards to make her ready for the surgery; and she was devastated. But nobody knew that so was he!

A: Rahul vo theek toh ho jaayegi na.....Agar use kuch ho gaya toh....

Ra: Ye tu keh raha hai Armaan! You were never this weak! Tune toh vo kar dikhaya hai jo koi aur nahi kar sakta tha; use is surgery ke liye manaya hai. Toh ab jab baat yaha tak pohoch hi gayi hai; toh kis baat ka dar. Ab toh sab kuch theek hona hi hai! Ab toh tub hi sab jaanta hai; uske saath hai!

A: Haan uske saath hu par.......

Ra: I am sorry Armaan..... mujhe pata hai ki shayad tu mujhe is galti ke liye kabhi maaf nahi kar paayega; par main majboor tha Armaan. Tujhse jhut bolne ke alwa I did not have any choice!

A: Rahul tu.....maine itna bharosa kiya tha tujhpe; Riddhima pe! Maana ki uska bohot achha dost ban gaya hai tu par ek baar uski jaan ke baarein main sochkar hi mujhe sab bata deta! Tune kaise chupayi mujhse itni badi baat?

Ra: Main majboor tha Armaan. Riddhima ne mujhe kasam de rahi thi!

A: What??

Ra: Haan Armaan; aur tu mujhe jaanta hai; usually main in saare kasamon wadon pe uljha rehne walon main se nahi hu; I?m not that superstitious. Par Armaan yaha Riddhima ki zindagi ka sawaal tha. I did not wish to take any risk!

A: Jo bhi hai; agar mujhe pehle pata chalta toh shayad ab tak uska operation ho chuka hota Rahul. Shayad use ye dard 2 hafton ke liye nahi sehna padta. Mujhse apna dard chupana nahi padta. Ek ke baad ek jhut nahi bolna padta!

Ra: Par tune use is surgery ke liye manaya kaise? Aur vo inkaar kyu kar rahi thi Armaan?

That reminded him of his sinful act and guilt washed over his face which did not go unnoticed by Rahul. But before anybody could say anything Anjali called Armaan.

Anj: Armaan operation ho chukka hai. Dr.Modi kuch baat karna chahte hai tumse.

Wiping his teards Armaan eushed to Abhimanyu?s cabin.
Ab: Come Armaan; have  a seat. Aaram se baith ja kuch baatein karni hai.

A: Kya hua Abhi; sab theek toh hai na? Koi problem toh nahi? Riddhima theek hai na? Use kuch.....

Ab: Armaan shh......will you just give me a chance to speak so that I answeryour questions!

Armaan sighed and rubbed his forehead coming out of his panic attack.
Hmm please; please bol; what?s her status?

Ab: Relax Armaan; surgery bohot achi tarah se poori hui hai. Riddhima is out of danger! Well about her conceiving.....

A: Mujhe us sabke baarein main is waqt kuch nahi jaana Abhi; tu bas mujhe itna bata ki Riddhima ab bilkul theek hai na? Use ab koi khatra toh nahi na?

Ab: Nahi.....now she is completely out of danger. Uski surgery successful rahi Armaan.

Armaan heaved a sigh of relief at his words. Finally he thanked God for settings things right!
Haan par uske aage I can?t say much till she refains her conscious. Use abhi minute observation main rakha jaayega. Kam se kam 2 din ke liye she will have to be here! Ek baar vo hosh main aa jayegi uske baad uske kuch tests honge to see if she is recovering properly; and if she is completely ok. Onece that the reports give a FINAL OK uske baad hi vo discharge ho sakegi. Tab tak we will have to follow up!

A: Th...theek hai. Jo bhi karna hai I?m ok with it. Bas jab main use yaha se ghar le jau tab main chahunga ki bina kisi dark e le jau. Safe and sound dekh saku; bas!

Ab: Bilkul Armaan vo bilkul theek ho jaayegi; par tut oh theek hai na?
A: Haan main theek hu.

Ab: Acha maine tujhe bulvaya tha ye batane ki kuch jaruri medicines aur saline ki bottles hai jo chadhati rehni padenge; toh you will have to ge all of those things. Main tujhe list de raha hu dhyaan se sun ok.

Jennifer

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