Tuesday, 24 February 2015

part 41:I will bring my basket back

Few days went by and now it was necessary to prove that Rishab wasn't really innocent in anyway. Riddhima's statement would have marked the end of story but Armaan knew that she wasn't in a state to make a statement against anybody.
Atul, Muskaan, Sameer and Anjali had come over to their house to see her and talk to Armaan about the issue. Since Riddhima was having her nap; Armaan went out to the adjacent room with all of them so as to not disturb her. Usually she would never wake up atleast for an hour once she would sleep after having her medicines; so he thought it was okay to let her be on her own.
At: Ab kaisi hai Ridz?
A: Hmm...she's much better now. Thoda bohot kha leti hai bhook lagne par; doesn't sit quiet as before. Agar kuch poochu; toh jawab de deti hai; aaj kal khudse kuch baatein bhi karne lagi hai. Par abhi tak khulke hasti nahi hai. Shayad vo sab dheere dheere bhul rahi hai; I guess kuch aur waqt main theek ho jaayegi.
An: I hope so. I miss my little sister yaar.
S: It's okay Dr.Joshi; I guess Armaan kaafi achi tarah khayal rakhte hai unka. I am sure vo jyaada der tak aisi mayoos nahi rahenge. Armaan ka pyaar jaldi unhe theek kar dega; I am sure.
M: Bilkul; tu hain na uska hero uske saath. Tu theek kar dega use.

A: Vaise aap yaha kaise Dr.Sameer?
S: Haan vo main Sanjeevani aaya tha kuch files collect karne; toh socha aap se milta chalu. Darasal Dr.Riddhima ko dekhne aaya tha; par vo so rahi hai khair...Rishab ke bare main kya socha hain aapne? I mean Dr.Modi bata rahe the ki Rishab ke khilaaf jaldi hi statement dene ki jarurat hai!
A: Haan vo Riddhima ka statement baaki hai na. Actually that would make like a solid proof.
S: Par maine already statement de diya tha toh fir...
A: Ya but ye police... they just need some strong evidence. I swear I felt like killing that bast*** right away jab uske bail ki appeal hui thi. Par agar jyaada dino tak kuch proof nahi mil paaya toh they will have to bail him out taaki use rehab main bhej sake as per his lawyer's appeal!
S: I guess aapko Riddhima se baat karke dekhna chahiye Armaan!
A: About what?
S: Statement dene ke bare main.
A: Nahi Sameer; of course not. Is waqt main soch bhi nahi sakta usse is sab ke baarein main baat karne ki. Vo thodi bohot un yaadon se bahar aayi hai vohi bohot badi achievement hai filhaal!
   An: Par Armaan I think Sameer is right; tumhe ek baar baat karke dekh lena chahiye.
At: Nahi; mere khayal se Armaan sahi hai guys. Vo bechari pehle hi bohot stressed hai. Usse is sabke barein main baat karna theek nahi hoga.
M: Arey yaar Atul par aise kaise chalega. Vo humesha ke liye aisi udaas hoke nahi reh sakti na us kameene ki vajah se. Us khote; jaanwar ko bhi toh saja honi chahiye na uske kartuton ki.
A: Guys mujhe is waqt Riddhima se badkar kisi cheez ki parva nahi hai!
An: Toh kya tum Rishab ko chutne doge?
A: Nahi par...
S: Armaan I understand what you are saying; par humare paas waqt nahi hai. Riddhima ka 1 statement; sab theek kar sakta hai. Aap shayad Riddhima ko kuch jyaada hi protect kar rahe hai!
M: Haan uski ek gavahi us Rishab ko  saja dilwa sakti hai. Tu baat kar na usse Armaan; ho sakta hai vo teri baat maan jaaye. Usse manane ki koshish toh kar.
An: Haan...aur ek baar usne statement de diya toh ye case close ho jaayega and she will be free na. Aur fir kahi na kahi Ridz galat kar rahi hai na aise chup rehkar. Use is sabke khilaaf khade hona chahiye!
A: Tum log samjh ...
R: Sahi toh keh rahe hai sab Armaan!
All of them turned around and saw Riddhima standing at the door.
A: Riddhima tum? Tum toh...main bas vo...
R: Hmm...I know; tum mujhe isi liye vaha kamre main akela chodkar aa gaye kyunki tumhe itni jaruri baatein jo discuss karni thi!
A: Nahi Riddhima; aisa kyu keh rahi ho? Main sirf...
R: Tumhe baat karni chahiye thi mujhse Armaan! Mujhe kyun nahi le gaye tum police station; hume sab bata dena chahiye sabko.
A: Riddhima shant ho jao tum. Chalo mere saath.
He held her hand and tried to take her out of the room but she pushed him away.
R: Nahi Armaan; tum samajh nahi rahe ho mujhe police ke paas jaana hai sab batana hai. Chalo na we are getting late!
At: Ridzi...tum kya bol rahi ho. Hum toh bas...
R: Atul mujhe jana chaiye na. Kyu di...mujhe galti nahi karni; sach nahi chupana chahiye! Hain na? Chalo Armaan sab ko bata dete hai kya hua tha; police ko jaakar sirf yahi toh batana hai na ki Rishab kya karna chahta tha; mujhse sunna hi toh chahte hai na vo log toh...
Armaan held her through her shoulders tightly as she was freaking out. He tried to control her as he knew she was hurt by their convo; but as he tried to cool her down she was just going on and on.
A: Riddhima chup ho jao. Koi tumhe kahi nahi le ja raha tum kuch galat nahi...
R: Come on Armaan; don't be a spoilsport now. Sach hi toh kehna hai jaakar; us main kaunsi badi baat hai. Tum mujhe vakai bohot jyaada protect kar rahe ho Armaan.
A: Riddh...tum meri... he tried to interrupt and held her face but she was just not letting him speak; and as he tried to hold her close she was just pushing him away not even letting him hold her hand.
R: Mujhe jaana hai. Abhi jaakar sabko batana hai ki kis tarah Rishab ne mere saath jabardasti ki; usko saja milni chahiye Armaan. Usne kaise mujhe chua yahi toh saabit karna hai na; kaise main madat ke liye chila rahi thi yahin toh batana hai. Vaise bhi kaunsi badi baat hai; bas ye sab kehna hi toh hai na. Aakhir itni bhi badi baat nahi hai that you are trying to protect me. Vo kya kar leta...bas jyaada se jyaada mera balaatk... SLAP
She held her cheek and went mum once and for all as a thundering slap came across her face. Everyone including Armaan was surprised as he himself slapped her hard. All of them except for AR gasped as nobody had ever even thought that he could even think of hurting her; not even Armaan himself.
But the way Riddhima had lost her control over herself and was going on and on with all the non sense he had to do something to bring her back.
Everyone's eyes held tears as they could feel Riddhima's pain after listening to her. At the same time they were well aware why Armaan slapped her and how hard it must have been for him. Now that he had hurt her he cursed himself under his breath; and the moment he had slapped her he crashed a vase on the floor and started hitting his palm on the wall so as to punish those hands that had hurt his Basket.
He knew that the engagement ring that he wore in his hands had hurt her lips and they were bleeding; and this fact did no good to him. But Riddhima was now back to her senses thanks to his slap and seeing him bang his hand against the wall could no more stop her tears. Anjali came and placed a hand on her shoulder but she shrugged it away and walked upto him.
As the tears rolled down her cheeks she placed a hand on his shoulder to see his own tear striken face. She knew her words had hurt him as much as they had hurt her. She held his hand which was now all red due to all the banging and pleaded;
R: I am sorry Armaan...pa...par...mujhe...ka...kahi nahi jaana. Mu...mujhe kisi...ko kuch saabit...nahi karna Arm...aan...please... she said between her hiccups trying  to hold her breath. Mujhe bas tumhare...paas re...rehna hai.
She hugged him gripping his shirt tightly. All of them felt guilty as they heard her plead and understood very well what Armaan was trying to say.
Armaan embraced her and caressed her back letting her sob on his chest.
A: Tum kahi nahi jaa rahi Riddhima. Tumhe kisiko kuch batane ki jarurat nahi hai. Tum yahi rahogi mere paas. Maine kaha tha na tumse jab tak main hu tumhare saath tumhe ye sab kuch sochne ki koi jarurat nahi!



The gang left as they thought it was best to leave them alone for a while. He told them that they would talk about the case the next morning. Settling her on couch he took a piece of cotton and cleared the blood off her lips. He held her chin to examine the cut while cursing himself under his breath when she held his hand.
R: I am sorry Armaan. Mujhe vo sab nahi kehna chahiye tha. Mujhe...sss...
    She hissed as he tried to clean her wound. He stopped and gazed at her for a while and then got up crushing the piece of cotton in his hand. She held his hand and stopped him as she was observing his every act. The nerve that had tightened up on his forehead had not gone unnoticed by her.
R: Tumne kuch galat nahi kiya Armaan. Main jaanti hu tum khud ko is waqt kos rahe ho; par mat karo aisa. Tumne jo kiya bilkul sahi kiya.
Mujhe tumse koi shikayat nahi Armaan. Mujhe hosh main laane ke liye ye jaruri tha. Uske liye khud ko aise chot mat pohochao please. Mujhse baat karo Armaan. Kuch toh kaho.
A: Riddhima I am...sorry... he held her cheek and caressed the tip of her lips as they were now swollen.
Main tumhe hurt nahi karna chahta tha Riddhima...par tum bina soche samjhe kuch bhi...
He took a deep breath and held her chin up.
A: Bohot dard ho raha hai?
   She nodded her head in No as a small tear trickled down her eye. Somehow her answer did not satisfy him; he wiped her tear and bending down to her level held her closer through her waist.
Pecking her lip lightly he licked the wound softly so as to soothe her pain. She shivered hard as he did that since it was after a long that his lips met hers.  It was just a small peck which was given to heal the wound but with that she did receive his love and care too.
   Late afternoon once they were done with the lunch and she had taken her medicine for the day; she slept tucked in a blanket. He sat down besides her caressing her forehead as usual. Thinking about the little changes that had come in her; for the last days few days he did feel a little happy; but the fact that the case was at a standstill as she couldn't give the statement tensed him up.
   To worsen the situation; the sleepless nights that he had been having from so many days were giving him a headache.  Massaging his forehead he looked around the room drowned in his own thoughts when his gaze fell on a security alarm. As if on a cue his hands reached out for his cell phone and he dialed Abhi's number.
A: Of course why didn't I think of it before!
     Abhi and Atul reached Mallik mansion within no time. Armaan did not leave the room as he did not want to petrify her again by leaving her alone in the room.  He sat right next to her but had covered her properly as Abhi and Atul sat on the couch in front of him; while he had held one of her hand in his to keep his presence known to her. He informed them about the security cameras that were been set up in his house.
Ab:  Par Armaan tere ghar ka camera kis kaam ka? I mean usne job hi kiya vo toh vaha...un mills main rakha than a usne Riddhima ko. Toh...
A: Haan par...that ba***** had tried to force her twice. Vo pehle bhi koshish kar chukka tha!
At: What??
A: Shh...don't shout yaar...mushkil se toh thodi der so paati hai Basket.
At: Sorry vo main thoda...par kaise?
Ab: Haan Armaan...Ye kya keh raha hai tu? Tere ghar aakar? But how? I mean...kab? Tere ghar pe hote hue vo kaise...
A:  Nahi main ghar pe nahi tha tabhi toh itni himmat ki us kameene ne!
     He told them how he had left her home after her duty even after her retorts and was been forced by him and ran out of the house in attempt to save herself but had unfortunately got hit by his car.
At: Toh isi liye Ridz ne apni yaadash khoyi thi...without any head injuries?
A: Haan...vo bas us hadse ko bhulana chahti thi lekin us condition main shyad itni traumatized thi ki...sab bhool gayi.
      The security tape did contain enough proofs to prove Rishab's sinful deeds. Billy Mallik too made sure by using all his contacts that no mercy was shown on Rishab while his punishment would be declared. At the same time the police very well made him spill out the beans about all the bruises on her body that he had given. Finally as the sun went down; Armaan could take a sigh of relief as now there was no scope for Rishab  to be out of jail atleast for 8 years.
         Today he would be able to sleep atleast for a while with mere satisfaction that Rishab would finally be punished for his deeds. But as usual maybe destiny wasn't on his side. He had informed her about Rishab's statement and had expected that maybe that would give her some relief; but probably that had just opened up some of her wounds.
   He could see her lost in those memories for the rest of the evening so he tried to be there just by her side and kept on talking to her about their old days to bring her out of her revive which did help to a great extent though not completely.
    After their dinner he thought to take her out for a stroll hoping that fresh air could be of some help. He walked inside the room to find it empty. He checked the washroom but even that was empty. He thought of checking in the guest room but as he saw the balcony door open he peeped out and found her standing out watching the sky; having her silent conversation with the moon and stars.
    Walking towards her he placed a hand on her shoulder which she shrugged away harshly and turned around making him stumble.
R: I am...sorry...vo; tum achanak aa gaye toh main...
A: It's okay. Sorry I didn't mean to startle you. Tum...tum yaha  kya kar rahi ho?
R: Vo aise hi kuch der...yaha thandi hawa aa rahi thi toh; I was feeling good here.
A: Hmm.
 A piece of leaf was stuck in her hair so he raised his hand to remove it when she moved back abruptly holding her hand up in  front of her face as a shield. Her act came as a reflex very much unintentionally; but it cut his heart deep.
   Her single step that she had taken back had pierced his heart. Her gesture did remind him of his slap and that just killed him. The fact that "he" himself made her flinch with fear was suffocating.
    Fisting his hand he took it back and strode inside towards the room. She felt really bad as she had not intended to do anything as such.
      She wanted to talk to him rather apologize but he just dropped the topic off and went off to sleep on the couch.
     The next morning as he came over to her and woke her up for the breakfast when she woke up and gave him a weak smile to make him feel that she was fine. She knew he wanted to see her smile and happy so she just faked one for his sake. But that just hurt him as he could very well understand that; that was a fake smile that she was giving.
       Within sometime; Shashank and Padma came over to visit Riddhima. But as Padma noticed the new wound on her lip she started interrogating her.
P: Par kal tak toh ye chot nahi thin a Riddhima. Aur ye sujh bhi gaya hai.
Sh: Haan Riddhima...Tumhe ye chot lagi kaise?
       She looked up at Armaan who looked guilty than ever; she did not want to hurt him further as she knew he wasn't wrong. But these questions were just torturous and she knew how badly they must be hurting him. She grabbed his hand and caressed it.
R: Maa...vo...main gir gayi thi toh...
 A: Riddhima...
     Armaan cut her in between and indicated her through her eyes saying not to do so.
A: Tumhe jhooth bolne ki koi jarurat nahi Riddhima.
R: Armaan main...
A: Sir use ye chot meri vajah se lagi hai.
Sh: Tumhari vajahse matlab? Aur Riddhima tum kya chupa rahi ho?
R: Armaan...pleeease...
A: Maine... he looked away as he couldn't look up into their eyes and bowing down he took a deep breath as he confessed.
      Maine haath uthaya tha uspar; usika nishaan hai ye.
Sh: What? Aapne...aapki himat kaise hui meri beti par...aapko sharam nahi aati ye kehte hue.
P: Armaan ye tum...
R: Maa please. Papa isme Armaan ki koi galti nahi hai.
Sh: Riddhima tu pagal ho gayi hai? Usne tujh pe haath uthaya aur tu ab bhi uski tarafdari kar rahi hai. Vo bhi teri is haalat ke bavajut!
P: Maine tumse ye umeed nahi kit hi Armaan.
    He just kept mum and kept listening to all the things that they said.
R: Papa please meri baat suniye Armaa...
 Sh: Bas mujhe aur kuch nahi sunna; tu abhi isi waqt humare saath chalegi ghar. Agar isne tujhpe aisi haalat main haath uthane ki behuda harkat ki hai toh isse mujhe ab aur koi umeed hi nahi bachi.
A: Actually sir main bhi aapse yahi kehne wala tha. Riddhima ko shayad kuch din aapke saath ghar chale jaana chahiye!
R: Ar...maan?

R: Armaan?
She couldn't believe her ears. She knew he was hurt and guilty too but that didn't mean that he was supposed to just push her away. He knew she needed him still he was doing this.
P: Par hua kya hai Armaan ye toh bata do beta? Tum aisi harkat bina vajah nahi kar sakte; main jaanti hu.
Sh: Padma tum bas Riddhima ko tayyar karo aur cha...
R: Main kahi nahi jaa rahi! Armaan mujhe...
A: Riddhima meri baat suno. Mujhe sa...
R: Mujhe kuch nahi sunna Armaan.
Sh: Just forget it Armaan; aur meri beti se jitna dur rehenge utna acha hoga samjhe aap!
R: Papa please! Mujhe kahi nahi jaana. Main yahi rahungi.
Sh: Par Riddhima...
A: Papa please...bas 1 baar mujhe Riddhima se baat karne deejiye. Kam se kam mujhe kuch kehne ka mauka toh deejiye. Please sir!
Sh: Par...
P: Shashank...mujhe lagta hai Armaan aur Riddhima ko baat kar leni chahiye. Please aap chaliye mere saath.
She took him out of the room leaving AR alone in the room.
R: Armaan tum ye kya kar rahe ho?
A: Mujhe tumse is bare main baat karni hi thi Riddhima; par mujhe mauka hi nahi mila.
R: Armaan...I am sorry. Kal jo bhi hua main...
A: Tum sorry kyu bol rahi ho Riddhima; you didn't even do anything. Aur trust me kal jo bhi hua us vajah se main ye sab nahi kar raha!
R: Toh phir kyun? Mujhe ghar kyu bhejna chahte ho Armaan? Jo bhi vajah ho mujh...
A: Basket! 1 baar shanti se meri baat sun lo please!
She went quiet for a moment as he sat down besides her and pleaded.
A: Riddhima it's been more than a month now ki main ghar se kaam kar raha hu. It's been rarely 2/3 times jab peechle mahine main; main Sanjeevani gaya hu.
We both can't ignore our responsibilities completely na baby? Aur agar mujhe Sanjeevani jaana hai toh main ghar pe tumhe akele bhi nahi chod sakta right? Mom dad yaha ruk jaayenge par tum din bhar mujhe yaad karti rahogi jo main nahi chahta.
     Agar tum apne Papa ke paas rahogi toh koi problem nahi hogi. I can go to Sanjeevani without any tension; vaha tumhari Mom hogi nani hongi toh tumhara waqt nikal jaayega. Aur Anjali bhi kuch dino ke liye vaha rehne aayi hai; toh tum mujhe itna miss bhi nahi karogi!
And moreover; kab tak aise ghar pe ek hi room main padi rahogi? Ghar jaaogi; vaha sabke saath baithogi kuch time spend karogi toh tumhe bhi acha lagega; thoda fresh feel karogi!
R: Par Armaan...
A: Shh...you trust me?
She nodded her head at him and blinked her eyes.
A: Bas toh phir jo main keh raha hu maan jao. Vaise bhi main roj tumse milunga na. Sanjeevani jaane se pehle aur aane ke baad; bas tum raat ko vaha soo gi aur main yaha itna hi farak hoga. Bas kuch din basket.
He packed her stuff and she had no option but to agree to him although she knew that work was just an excuse; he had some other reason behind all of this. But she also knew that he wouldn't tell her anything for now so she just followed whatever she was told to do. He himself accompanied her to the Gupta mansion but once that she had fallen asleep he returned back immediately.
The very next day Anjali told Padma and Shashank the reason and situation in which he had slapped Riddhima and Shashank did feel a little bad for him too; as he knew that maybe he would have done the same to bring her back to her senses if he was in Armaan's place.
Sh: Armaan I think I over reacted. Shayad main bhi yahi karta use hosh main lane ke liye. Main jaanta hu tumhe bhi bohot takleef ho rahi hai use aise dekhkar aur...
A: Nahi Papa; aapne jo bhi kaha usse infact mera thoda guilt kam hua. Shayad maine jo kiya vo situation ko sambhalne ke liye jaruri tha; par aapki daant ne shayad mujhe apne kiye ke liye thodi bohot saja mil gayi which I surely deserve.
As he left Shashank did realize the pain that Armaan was going through. He knew though Armaan wasn't putting it in words; but he was cursing himself every other second for her state.
It had been a week now that Armaan would go early in the morning to wake her up and sit with her till it was time to go back to Sanjeevani. Once that he would be done with his duty he would return back to Gupta mansion and return home by midnight once that he would be sure that she was fast asleep.
He was there for her; taking care of her; doing everything as before just the things that were lacking were his caresses; his closeness. The day since she had come back to Gupta mansion she had been noticing that he had maintained a one hand distance from her. The only time that he would be near to her was to give her the medicines or to tuck her in the bed.
The entire day Padma; Nani and Anjali would keep her busy with some or the other talks. They would take her out for a small stroll as even her wounds were recovering now.
Next morning around 10 o'clock she could hear someone trying to wake her up. Hoping it to be Armaan as usual she opened her eyes but was disappointed as she saw Padma.
P: Uth ja Riddhima; 10 baj gaye hai beta. Chal jaldi uthke naashta karle.
R: 10 baj gaye?
She glanced at the clock besides her and sat up straight.
R: Par mujhe uthaya kyun nahi? Armaan kaha hai Maa? Aaya nahi ab tak?
P: Nahi Ridhi; aaj vo usko jara jaldi jaana tha. Kuch kaam tha toh vo aaj nahi aa paya. Par usne kaha hai vo sham ko jarur aayega. Tu ab jaldi uth aur tayyar ho jaa. Teri dressing bhi toh change karni hai na.
Instructing her Padma went out of the room but as she left the room Riddhima could no more hold herself back. The tears that she had been holding back for his sake finally spilled out. His every step that he had taken away from her had hurt her deep; but she had never let it portray on her face.
From entire past week he had not once touched her. For that matter if by mistake her hand would brush with his he had withdrew his hand and had moved to a distance so that there was no physical contact with her.
She had no clue why he was doing all of this; but no reasons were strong enough to console her heart. He had stopped dressing her wounds; he wouldn't hug her; kiss her forehead like he usually did while wishing her goodnight or waking her up. He hadn't once caressed her forehead with love when he would see her lost in her thoughts.
She felt drawn far away from him as she remembered past few days. Once that her dressing was done she closed the door and locked herself up. She told everyone that she just wanted to be alone for some time so nobody should bother coming to her.
Padma and Nani had tried to make her eat breakfast but she didn't open up the door. Similarly she had skipped her lunch too. Anjali tried to make her open the door but she never budged.
It was almost 5: 30 pm and still Armaan was seen nowhere. Riddhima opened her wardrobe and removed some of the old stuff that Armaan had gifted her. She came across a photo frame which contained their picture of Sapna's marriage. She caressed the picture remembering their happy moments back then.
She shuffled through some more stuff when she came across the small blue teddy bear that Armaan had once gifted her. Adjusting its bow she hugs him tightly as if hugging Armaan.
R: Kyu Armaan? Mujhse itne dur kyun ho gaye ho? Na mujhse kuch kehte ho; na pyaar se mujhe gale lagate ho; kyu duriyaan bada rahe ho Armaan. Aur toh aur mujhe yaha bhej diya Papa ke paas!
She caressed the teddy and spoke to it considering it as Armaan.
R: Itne naaraz ho mujhse? Bas subah kuch der ke liye aate ho aur chale jaate ho. Fir seedhe raat ko milte ho aur mujhse jyaada kuch kehte bhi nahi aakar; bas khaana khila kar sula dete ho.
Kyu itne khaafa ho gaye ho mujhse? Mujhe chuna bhi nahi chahte ab; meri dressing bhi nahi karte ab toh tum. Pehle toh meri har choti se choti chot ka khayal hota tha tumhe aur ab...
Aaj subah se ek baar bhi nahi dekha maine tumhe! 1 phone bhi karna gavara nahi tumhe Armaan? Kyu?
I miss you Armaan. I miss you... Tum badal gaye ho. Tum mere Armaan jaisa nahi behave kar rahe. Dekho main yaha ro rahi hu; tumhe yaad kar rahi hu; tumhari baahon main khud ko bhula dena chahti hu main Armaan. Par tumhe shayad ab ye manjoor nahi.
Isi liye toh mujhe raat ko yaha akele chodkar chale jaate ho. Aur...subah jab aate ho...toh jaise humesha mujhe sir par good morning kiss dekar uthate the ab nahi uthate tum. Naahi raat ko sote waqt mera sir sahlate ho.
Tum jaante ho na mujhe tumhare begair neend nahi aati phir bhi... Mujhe tumhari bohot yaad aa rahi hai Armaan;main kya karu? I miss you! I miss you a lot!
She hugged the teddy again nuzzling it soaking it with her tears.
A: Par main toh yahi hu Basket...you don't have to miss me!
She turned around startled at his sudden voice and her teddy fell down from her hand; as she found him standing at the door looking at her with pure love. All the while as she had her back to the door she never realized when he had walked in.
She went mum and just kept staring at him as after a long time she found him admiring her.
His eyes had turned misty too as he heard her pour her heart out.
R: Armaan...tum...
He started walking towards her as she wiped her eyes and blinked her eyes uneasily. She looked pale than usual.
A: Are you okay Riddhima? Tum kuch theek nahi lag rahi hai.
R: Main thee...
The next moment lost her balance and was about to collapse down when he ran up to her and held her in his arms.
A: Riddhimaaa? Kya hua?
He patted her cheek to make her open her eyes and look up at him. She blinked her eyes again as if they had turned heavy and held onto his collar for support. Somehow she opened her eyes and stared back into his with a faint smile on her lips.
As he held her he realized that her body was warm. Touching her forehead and cheeks he frowned as she was burning with fever.
A: Oh God; tumhe toh... bohot tez bukhar hai!
Picking her up in his arms he laid her on the bed and tucked her inside the blanket. Wiping her face he cleared the tear stains and switched off the AC immediately. Calling out for Anjali he sat beside's her holding her hand in his.
An: Kya hua Armaan?
A: Anjali...thermometer kaha hai? Aur kisine mujhe bataya kyun nahi ki Riddhima ko bukhar hai?
An: Kya? Riddhima ko bukhar hai? Par...
She came ahead and touched her forehead to find it really warm.
A: Are you serious? Ghar main kisi ko bhi ye baat pata nahi hai? Kyun?
An: Armaan pata toh tab hoga na jab ye kisi ko kamre main aane degi! Subah se kamre main akeli baithi hui hai. Na kuch khaaya hai; na dawai le rahi hai! We tried to call you too; par tumhara number unavailable aa raha tha.
A: What?... Riddhimaa?
He looked down at her accusingly while she just looked away shedding a few more tears.
R: Tumhe kya Armaan...tumhare pas toh subah se mujhse milne ka waqt bhi nahi!
A: Riddhima tum...
Anjali mujhe thermometer do; let me check her temperature at least.
She handed him the thermometer and as it read a 102 degree celcius he immediately told Anjali to get something to eat.
A: Ye kya bachpana hai Riddhima? Aisi jid koi karta hai? Subah se tumne kuch khaaya kyu nahi? Tumhe already dawai chal rahi hai; usmain ye bukhar...
Anjali came up with the food  and Padma and Nani too walked in as they came to know about her fever.
N: Riddhima...meri bachi; kya hua tujhe?
P: Armaan; acha hua tum aa gaye. Hum subah se koshish kar rahe the par ye kuch kha hi nahi rahi. Naahi toh kisi ko kamre main aane de rahi thi.
A: It's okay Aunty; ab main aa gaya hu na. Main dekhta hu kaise nahi khati ye!
Making her sit straight he took the plate in his hands and sat in front of her.
R: Armaan mujhe kuch khaane ka man nahi kar raha .
A: Basket aisi jid mat karo! Please kuch kha lo. Dekho main apne haathon se tumhe khila raha  hu; kha lo please. Mujhe bhi bohot bhook lagi hai Riddhima; par jab tak tum nahi khaogi main bhi kuch nhai khaunga.
R: Armaan sach main mujh...
A: Please Riddhima... Mere liye!
He somehow convinced her and she finally ate a little bit as he fed her with all his love and care.
R: Tum bhi khao na Armaan.
A: Haan Basket main kha lunga; pehle tum ye juice pee lo aur dawai le lo fir main bhi kha lunga.
As she felt really dizzy now; she followed his instructions since she was left with no strength to fight back. As he gave her the medicines and made her lie down; Padma offered him some food too as she knew he too actually must have not had anything from morning; but he just took some juice and drank it in one shot.
A: Nani; aap sab jaaiye thodi der aaram keejiye. Main hu yaha Riddhima ke paas.
P: Nahi Armaan; tu bhi kuch kha le main baithti hu uske paas.
A: Nahi Aunty main theek hu. Aap log jaiye; Riddhima so jaayegi abhi. Main yahi baitha hu aap tension mat leejiye.
P: Par beta...
Armaan signaled Anjali as he wanted to be sometime alone with Riddhima. Anjali got his cue and somehow convincing both Padma and Nani took them downstairs.
A: Chalo ab jaldi jaldi aankhein band karo aur so jao!
But instead of closing her eyes she tried to sit up.
A: arey kya hua tumhe? Kuch chahiye tumhe?
R: Mujhe washroom jana hai Armaan.
A: Oh come let me help you.
He escorted her to the washroom and sat down on the bed heaving a sigh. He saw the teddy and few pics that had fallen from her hands few minutes back and picked them up. As she walked out and saw him holding the teddy she remembered how upset he was with her.
R: Armaan...tumhe jaana hoga na vapas. Tum jao; maa aur Nani hai yaha pe. Tumhe bohot kaam bhi hoga.
He turned around as she said that and found her staring at the teddy in his hands as she spoke.
A: Maine tumse poocha? Nahi na...so just come and sleep; and let me decide for myself.
R: Haan...main toh bhool hi gayi thi. Tum toh aaj kal mujhse kuch poochte ya kehte hi nahi ho Armaan.
He placed the teddy on the bed as he realized she was really hurt by his distant behavior and it was better to not strain her any further. She walked towards the bed wiping the fresh tears off her cheeks. As she came by the bed he held her hand and turned her around but she kept bowing her head down.
Finally he dragged her closer and wrapped his arms around her taking her into a warm hug surprising her a bit. She just stood still with her hands down as she was taken aback by his sudden hug; so he caressed her back and whispered in her ear;
I am hugging you Riddhima; tum mujhe hug nahi karna chahti?
But still when she showed no response he ordered her;
Hug me back Basket!
She somehow came out of her revive and as the realization dawned upon her. Finally after a long week he was wrapping her in his arms and it felt so nice and relieving. She hid herself into his neck hugging him back tightly as she felt at peace; relieved; secure and at home as she was back in his arms.
Holding her face he wiped her tears away and placing a kiss on her forehead again took her in his arms. Caressing her head he nuzzled her nape and she snuggled more into him.
A: Shh...Tumhe apne Armaan ko miss karne ki koi jarurat nahi hai Basket. Tumhara Armaan humesha tumhare saath hai; aur humesha hoga.
R: Haan hai toh par shayad mujhse naaraz hai. Isi liye peechle dino main ek baar bhi mujhe gale nahi lagaya; mujhe yaha bhej diya aur mujhse dur bhaag raha hai.
A: Aisa nahi hai Basket. Main tumse bilkul...sigh...Forget it ye saari baatein chodo.
He cleared her face and tucked her fringes behind her earlobe. Kissing her forehead once again he caressed her cheek and just admired her for a while.
A: Ab tum aaram karo. Mujhse aur kuch bhi mat poocho; I promise main tumhe saare sawalon ke jawab de dunga. Par abhi nahi. Abhi tum kuch der so jao chalo.
R: Hmm... tum fresh ho jao Armaan. Main so jaati hu.
A: Nahi main...
R: Armaan go; I am fine. Tum kaafi thak gaye hoge. Peechle dino main tumhari kaafi bhaag daud hui hai I know. Sanjeevani se yaha aur yaha se ghar; it must have been really difficult. Tum jao; main so jaungi.
He smiled whole heartedly as after such a long time he could see his Riddhima back. She was actually out of her lost zone and was thinking about things around her; especially him. Kissing her forehead he let her go when she held his hand again.
R: Bas jab main neend se uthu toh tum yahi rehna!
A: Mujhe kahi nahi jaana Riddhima. Main aaj yahi rukunga tumhare paas. Tum saare tensions chodo aur chain se so jao; hmm?
She held his hand with which he was caressing her cheek and gave a small smile.
A: Acha ek aur bohot important baat...
R: Kya?
Pulling her closer he held her hands in his and looked straight in her eyes;
A: I love you Riddhima.
She closed her eyes at once and a tear trickled down her eyes as the words escaped his mouth. She had never thought that he would ever make her yearn to hear these words and they could make her feel so blessed.

Jennifer

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