Sunday, 1 March 2015

part 4:Life out of control(season 3)

Her mother praised Armaan as she looked at him, then her daughter. Armaan could not bring his voice out of his throat as he stared ahead at the figure that stood rigid behind Muskaan’s parents. Riddhima was shocked to the core at what she had just seen and heard. Armaan and Muskaan? What the hell was happening?

“Ridzy…” Anjali saw her and called her over. Riddhima on the other hand still couldn’t remove her eyes from Armaan’s. What was happening?

The rest heard her, and looked to where Anjali was looking at. Sure enough, Riddhima was there in her jeans and t-shirt, with a few files in her hand, staring at Armaan. Armaan had suddenly become numb and couldn’t help but gaze back at her, forgetting everything around him.

“Ridzy, tum hospital mein? How are you feeling? And your ankle?” Riddhima came out of her trance, and replied to Anjali,
“I’m fine Di, don’t worry.” She gave her a half hearted smile and went to Muskaan’s parents, wishing them a good morning.
“Riddhima bitya! Kaisi ho?” Muskaan’s Mum asked, framing her face with her hand.

“Main theek hoon.” Riddhima took another glance at Armaan, who was still staring at her, his blue eyes portraying guilt.
“Yaad hai, voh humme Sapna ki shaadi mein mili thi?” Muskaan’s Mum asked her husband, who’s face split into a wide smile.
“Arre yaad aaya! Dr Shashank ki beti?! Riddhima!” She smiled and went over to touch his feet.
“Ladkiyan jhukti nahin aise.” He stopped her then continued. “Toh Riddhima, tujhe pata tha ki Muskaan aur Armaan ek dusre se pyaar karte they?” He asked, over-joyed at the situation he was in, oblivious to the real tension behind it. Riddhima looked at Muskaan, who’s eyes looked teary and she shook her head, indicating her not to give away anything. Riddhima then looked back at Armaan, who was still looking intently at her, trying to say tones through his eyes. Only now, it was impossible for her to figure it out, as her head was emerged in so many other thoughts. Not being able to remove her gaze from his she replied,
“Mujhe nahin pata tha.”
“Oye Muskaan puttar. Tune tumhaari dost ko nahin bataya? Kaisi gaal hai puttar?”
“Pa-papa…voh m-mauka hi ka-kahan mila?”
“Ooh jee theek hai. All’s well that ends well jee. Abh Sab ko pata chal gayya. Armaan puttar, abh tumhaare maa baap se kabh milwaoge? Shaadi ki tayariyan karni hai humein! Humaari ek lauti beti ki shaadi hai, Punjaab ki sabse badi shaadi hogi yeh!” Her father shouted out in delight, while everyone else cleared their ears.

Atul was looking at Riddhima and Armaan. None had removed their eyes from each other and it seemed amazing that with all the tension in the atmosphere, he could still see innumerable amounts of love between them. What had happened? Why were they so much together, yet not together? He looked at Rahul, who was busy staring at Muskaan’s parents in shock. Wow, another problem had turned up. But it seemed impossible to solve. Quickly, his mind started churning for possible solutions. Maybe they could put Armaan in bad light in front of her family. Or they could put Rahul in an even better light. Or maybe Riddhima and Armaan could get married first. That was out of the question, sasurjee would probably skin each of them alive before they even started step one!

“Muskaan puttar. Tu meri ek baat maanegi na?” Muskaan’s mum made her way forward to Muskaan, pulling Armaan with her. “Aap dono court marriage karlo abhi ke liye.” Armaan’s eyes widened as soon as he heard that. What the hell?? He looked at Muskaan who was equally shocked and was staring at Rahul, who seemed like his muscles had frozen. What the hell? Her Mother went on to explain how they had never thought that Muskaan would fall in love, and always wanted to get her married the proper, Punjabi style once she became a doctor. But now that she already had chosen someone, it would not be right to hang around with him, and spend time with him without marriage. “Kuch ulta seedha hoagaya toh sab kya kahenge?” And plus if they had a court marriage now, they could always get married the proper way when they finished their internship. On their way to Mumbai, she and her husband had already talked it through, and thought it was the best way. The alternative of course, was to get married in Punjab as soon as possible, i.e. in a few days’ time, depending on when they got their leave.

The words flew over Riddhima’s head as she heard the suggestion. Armaan was really getting married? But his shocked face also suggested that he had no idea what so ever of what was happening. She looked at Rahul, who was still dumbstruck, and refused to believe that Muskaan and Armaan were ever in love.

“Sid can you SHUT UP!” Rahul roared out of irritation, which set Sid into deeper fits of laughter. Anjali and Atul were paged for an emergency while Nikki and Abhi went to help them once Muskaan’s parents had left. In the mean time, Muskaan explained everything to Riddhima who didn’t show any emotion at the whole event, then went outside to call up her parents and ask for another alternative. Sid burst out laughing when every single detail of the day hit him. Muskaan loved Rahul and Rahul love Muskaan. Riddhima loved Armaan and Armaan loved Riddhima. But Armaan and Riddhima were distant with each other because of a break up they had had just over two months back. Muskaan and Armaan were about to get a court marriage all because of a simple lie from Muskaan. This left Riddhima and Rahul in a situation way out of their control! In all honesty, this confusion had to the most hilarious thing ever!

However the four involved did not see the humour. Obviously with Riddhima, she refused to react completely. Armaan had just way too much on his mind to find anything amusing. Even if Sid suddenly decided to put on a strip show in the hospital, or was rejected by all the nurses! He wondered what he could do to cheer people up. Date Lovely Ji? No now that was going wayyy tooo far! He wasn’t that much of a nice person! But coming back to the muddle, from an outsider’s point of view, it was full blown comedy and entertainment!

“Kya karenge hum? Yaar, Armaan tu kuch bata na yaar.” Rahul begged, ignoring Sid.
“Mujhe kuch nahin pata mere baap! Problems kam thi meri zindagi mein joh yeh tumhaari Girlfriend ne aur khadi rakhi hai mere liye?” Armaan grumbled.
“Tu Muskaan ko kuch matt keh. Had you never left this idea would have never popped up in her head!”
“Meri majboori thi! She could have thought of anything else!” Armaan said standing up.
“Yeah, like what.”
“Uhmm lets see.” Armaan scrunched up his eyes in mock consideration. “Maybe, ki voh TUJHSE pyaar karti hai!”
“Guys guys, aise ladne se kuch nahin solve hoga.”
“Sid tu chup reh! Already mera dimaag hass hass kar kha gaya hai tu.”
“Main aapki madad kar raha hoon.” Sid replied, making an accusing face as Rahul snapped at him. “Ridzy, tujhe kya lagta hai?”
Riddhima looked up, when she called upon. She had been sitting on the bench immersed in her thoughts. Her files, which she came to drop off were already in her locker, and she could be heading home now, but somehow, she didn’t want to. Why, it was an impossible question for to answer.
“What about?” She asked.
“Arre yaar. Tu kahaan khoyi huwi hai? In this whole situation!”
“Uhmm…” she frowned slightly, “Mujhe nahin pata,” then looked at Armaan and said determinedly, “Maybe they should get married.”
“Kya?” Rahul asked as his head shot up to glare at her. “Aur meri band baj jayegi. Vah Riddhima, tujhe teri doston ki itni fikr hai.”

Armaan just looked back into her eyes, trying to read them. What was going through her mind? It was so difficult to figure her out! Sometimes, she was solid as rock, not letting him even close to her emotionally, and sometimes she just gave in completely, like this morning, and the previous night. Riddhima looked away, afraid that Armaan could put the pieces of her mind together. True, she had let him close to her many times. But she resolved not to do that. Then why was it that she shattered those very conditions she had set for herself in front of him?

Armaan finally tore his eyes away from her, and told Rahul directly. “Rahul, Muskaan ke wajah se I couldn’t say anything. Lekin abh bohot ho chukka. It will be better for everyone if I go back to Australia.”
“Yeah…perfect. Run away from situations why don’t you? Like always?” Riddhima looked at him straight in his eyes while her answer shot through his heart like an arrow, piercing unhealed wounds. He looked at her. Just now she wanted him to get married to Muskaan, indicating she didn’t want him to be in her life. Now that he was talking about going away, she was taunting him, indicating that she wanted him stay back? What did she want?! He was ready to do anything for her. Name it! But right now she seemed to want him to go away and stay at the same time. Now that was impossible.

Sid shook his head. These people really wouldn’t learn anything even the truth came and slapped them in their faces!
“Idea!” he said out loud and everyone turned to look at him. Muskaan also stepped into the locker room at that precise moment.
“Armaan, we have to put you in bad light. So, you and Riddhima get married.” Every one’s mouths dropped open.
“Sid kya bakwaas kar raha hai?” Riddhima lashed out at him. How insensitive was this guy? “Guys, main jaa rahi hoon meri patient ko milne. I might head home right after that. So good bye.” She finished and without another thought left the room, knowing 4 pairs of eyes were not leaving her back. But she didn’t care about any. Well maybe except the blue ocean ones that she wanted to drown into once again without any fear. Shaking the thought aside, she went into Sara’s room, the patient with congenital heart defect, and a great friend.

Riddhima’s brows creased as she looked at the reports. The signs did not look good. She had spoken many times to Anjali and Atul, even her father about this particular case, but if Sara’s body was not responding to the medication, the only alternative was a surgery and/or life long specialized cardiac care. Sara was sleeping peacefully on the hospital bed. Why did these things happen to the best of people? She wondered. Quietly, she left the room and shut the door behind her, with the report in her hand. That’s when it hit her. Armaan had taken training from the world best cardiologist! But for that, she’d have to speak to him, spend some time with him going over the case. How selfish was she? Would she really let a patient, no, her friend down due to personal problems? She had to speak to Armaan as soon as possible. Maybe now.

She hobbled to the locker room as quickly as she could. No one was there. Maybe if she tried his cell. Crap, she didn’t have his number. But she had his home number. First she could check the hospital though. She bumped into Atul on her way to her father’s cabin.
“Ridzy, kya ho raha hai?”
“Jeeju aapne Armaan ko dekha hai? It’s urgent.” She asked.
“Whoa…Ridzy, stop rushing around the hospital like that! Aur mujhe lagta hai voh Dr Shubankar ke cabin mein hai.”
“I’ll see him there.”
“No you won’t.” Atul held her before she could rush away. “I’ll get him for you. Sit in my cabin, and rest that ankle of yours!” he scolded her and led her inside, turning deaf ears to her complaints of how fine she was.
“Atul it’s bandaged, it’s got the support I’m really fine.”
“Bandaged doesn’t mean it’s fine. Now shut up.” Leaving her alone, he went to get Armaan, while she settled herself in a chair at Atul’s desk.

“Riddhima, Atul ne kahaan you wanted to see me.” Armaan asked as he entered Atul’s cabin. Atul had gone for a small surgery. She felt her heart beat faster, but ordered it to stop, as she turned in her chair, and motioned him to sit next to her.
“Haan, voh I wanted to discuss a case with you.”
“Riddhima I am no longer an intern here, remember?” he asked a small smile playing on his face, as he sat down.
“Armaan main jaanti hoon. But please take a look. You remember Sara. The girl who has Ventricular Septal Defect?”
“Yeah of course.” He replied getting serious.
“Well, she’s not responding to the medication and she needs a surgery. Lekin it’s difficult.”
Armaan studied the report carefully and with each second, his concentration on the paper in front of him increased.
“We could try VSD repair.”
“So we have to operate on her? But she needs specialist doctors and equipment, which Sanjeevani doesn’t have.” Riddhima replied, begging for any other alternative. Armaan nodded his head as he looked at her. She shut her eyes and put her head on the table.
“It’s dangerous.” She said in a small voice.
“But it’s been successful many times in many Hospitals.” He replied, hesitantly putting his hand on her shoulder. She sat up again, and they discussed the case more, trying to figure out the time Sara had and the reason behind the failure of medication.
“I think that will be the best option.” Armaan finally said. Riddhima nodded. They had to send Sara to Dr Harold. It was their only choice if she didn’t want to be on a hospital bed for the rest of her life. Riddhima sighed and looked directly at Armaan. The sincerity in his eyes gave her confidence that this was the best move, and she could not tear her gaze away from his blues, which were boring into her greens.

“Ridzy, Armaan, aap abhi tak gayye nahin?” Atul came in, breaking their eye-lock.
“Uhmm..yeah we just finished.” Riddhima replied, and got up along with Armaan.
“Toh ghar jaa rahi ho?” Atul asked.
“Haan…aur koi kaam nahin hai.”
“Kaise jaogi?”
“Jaise aayi thi. Taxi mein. Waise bhi sab busy hain. I don’t want to disturb….”
“I can drop you.” Armaan said.
“Yeah that will be better.” Atul replied.
“No it’s fine…”
“Nahin tum Armaan ke saath jaogi.” Atul’s tone had finality in it, and Riddhima succumbed under the pressure.

Armaan was walking when he noticed Riddhima wasn’t beside him. She had fallen a few steps behind in her deep thinking, and he stepped back to tell her to wait at the entrance while he got the car out of the parking lot. She refused and just followed him. So lost in her thoughts was she, that she didn’t notice a car driving forward towards her! She did not hear the blaring of the horn, and by the time she realized, the headlights seemed way too bright on her side, in the, what was once, dim underground parking! Not being able to think, she stood frozen at the spot. Suddenly, she felt someone pull her out just in time as the car screeched to a halt.

When Armaan turned behind him, the sight in front of him nearly pulled the ground beneath his feet! His basket was in front of a car, and not even realizing it! Thankful to his fast reactions, he ran towards her, and before the car could come close enough, pulled her away, into his arms and turned his back to the car. He shielded her from the car, and forced her head in his chest. They both closed their eyes as the screeching of the car continued, and she tightened her grip on his shirt, while he pulled her closer to him. Riddhima snapped back to reality and pulled her face away to look at him, while his arms were still around her. He was breathing heavily, and as soon as their eyes met, he found his voice.
“Pagal ho gayyi ho kya?!” he shouted at her, and her eyes widened in shock. “Meri jaan nikal gayyi thi! I told you to wait at the entrance! But stubborn Riddhima never listens to anyone!” Riddhima remained silent as she continued staring at him. If there was still so much love for her, why didn’t he admit it and tell her?
“Ma’am are you ok?” a young guy asked her, and Armaan finally withdrew his arms from her. Apparently he was a learner and wasn’t focused on his driving. Apologizing profusely to both, Armaan and Riddhima, he left after getting angry glares from Armaan, who was about to blast on him, hadn’t Riddhima taken control and held his hand, forgiving the driver. She was back to her normal state of mind, but Armaan wasn’t finished yet.
“Tum theek toh ho?” he asked gently, framing her face with his hands, and pushing her hair behind her ear. She looked at the features on his face. That care was only ever directed towards her. His eyes, which showed nothing but eons of love for her, were concentrated on her own eyes. How she wished he would take her in his arms again. Unwillingly, she moved her mouth,
“Humme chalna chahiye.” He dropped his hands and nodded, motioning her to lead the way forwards. He closed his eyes taking another deep breath. Seeing her like that had shaken him immensely.

If I should die before I wake
It’s cause you took my breath away
Loosing you is like
Living in a world with no air

As soon as Armaan switched on the radio in his car, they were met with those lyrics, from the song No Air, by Jordin Aprks and Chris Brown. Riddhima glanced across at him as he concentrated on the path in front of him. How that song had tortured her when he wasn’t around! She remembered endless nights of comparing herself to this song, thinking how pathetic she was being not able to get over him, yet how perfectly the song described her condition.

The song continued playing and Riddhima put her head back, playing the lyrics she knew so well, in her mind. Armaan glanced at her, feeling the song. It was designed for them. When he had first heard it, he had made fun of how depressed people could get. But now, the lyrics were so real! It was so damn difficult to be in Melbourne without her! Just like…trying to breathe with no air!

So how…how
Do you expect me…me
To live alone with just me…me
Cause my world revolves around you
It’s so hard for me to breathe..

The silence prevailed. Cars were hooting in traffic, but none of that made any difference to either of them. They were in their own world wondering, hoping, praying that this agony would end some day. If only they knew what the other was thinking. Life could have been so much easier. Riddhima wondered why Armaan wasn’t Edward! Had he been so, he could have read her mind. But wait, if she was Bella, then he couldn’t have. Either way, her once upon a time obsession for Edward, or Twilight was gone after watching ‘Vampires suck’ with the gang, thanks to Armaan. Armaan again. The song was so right! Her world revolved around him.

“Do you need help?” Armaan asked her quietly as he drew up outside her house.
“No thanks. I’ll manage. Thank you.” She got out of the car, and limped forward. Taking one look at the steps, she knew the job would be hard. Coming down the steps had been easy. All she had to do was hop down. But going up the few steps looked like a problem. Nevertheless, she took the support of the pillar, and tried to climb up. No, it was impossible to put all her weight on that bad ankle. Darn!

Before she knew it though, Armaan was at her side, and he held out his hand. She looked at him, and hated feeling dependant on someone. She put her left hand in his left one, while he slid his right arm around her waist, supporting her fully. Silently, they got up the steps. He made sure she was safely inside then backed off.
“Achcha. Main chalta hoon.”
She nodded. “Bye,” she whispered.
“Bye.” And he turned his back on her, afraid that he might not be able to leave if he spent a second longer with her. What was it about her that kept drawing him towards her?

“Dad aap ghar pe?” Armaan asked as he saw his father at home. It was around 4 in the evening, and he just come from dropping Riddhima home. Wasn’t his dad supposed to be at his office till 6?
“Haan, I took a day off. Can’t an old man enjoy a day off when he wants to?” Jai asked, sipping his coffee he had forced Shanti to make for him. Armaan laughed appreciatively and made his way to his room, however, his father called him down.
“So Armaan, sit down.” He told him patting the space next to him on the thick leather sofa. The Wall mounted TV was blaring with football and Liverpool was playing. Armaan sat down. True he was a football fan, but now nothing appealed to him anymore.
“Dad, are you still bent on seeing Liverpool win?”
“They’ll thrash any team that comes their way.”
“Yeah right.” Armaan wasn’t a Liverpool fan. In fact, he was a Man U supporter through and through which resulted in many playful arguments between himself and his father.
“So kya ho raha hai? I am so proud of your achievements beta.” His father started off, and Armaan just smiled in return. “Lekin aaj kal you seem sort of quiet. Koi problem hai kya?”
“Kuch nahin papa. Nothing at all.” Armaan tried to wave it off.
“Yaad hai, jab tu chota tha, you used to come to me for every problem. Aur hum milkar tumhaari Mum ko satate they.”
Armaan laughed remembering his childhood. Life was so amazing then. No worries about the future. Shanti gave Armaan a coffee at that precise moment and kissed his forehead, then left. Armaan looked at her, then at his father. Something was definitely up.
“Torres bina kaisa chal raha hai?” Armaan asked trying to change the subject.
“Traitors bina kaisa chalega? Perfect!” His dad replied. “Lekin main tera baap hoon. Topic change mat kar. Kya problem hai? Ladki ka maamla?”
Armaan looked at him in amazement.
“Definitley ladki ka chakkar. Did you get dumped?” Though Jai knew the full story thanks to Shanti (and wanted to knock some sense into his son when him and Riddhima separated) he had remained quiet through out, and now wanted to hear it all from Armaan’s mouth.
“Aisa kuch nahin hai papa.”
“Pyaar karta hai usse?” Jai asked simply. He was tired of beating around the bush. Armaan however, had put his brain into 5th gear, and knew this would be coming.
“Aur voh tujhse pyaar nahin karti?”
“Abhi bhi karti hai. But she shouldn’t.”
“Maine bohot badi galti ki. Dad, mujhe Australia wapas jaana hoga.”
“Kya? You’re running away from something you have to face?”
“Papa, aap samjhte nahin hai.”

Armaan finally told his dad the grueling details of the day, everything about Muskaan’s lie, and her parents, and Riddhima. Riddhima didn’t deserve him. She deserved much better.
“Aur tujhe lagta hai that by running away everything will be solved?”
“I don’t know…”
“Armaan, face up to things like that! You’re my son! If I ran away from this town, hoping that my business will take care of itself, we’ll be on the streets right now. If 27 years back, I left the country, hoping mera sasurjee mera aur tumhari maa ka pyaar dekh paayega, then you wouldn’t even be in this world!”
Armaan just stared at his father.
“Face your pain son. Main jaanta hoon apna pyaar kisi aur ka hota huwa dekh ke bohot dard hota hai. But if that’s what you’ve decided, then at least see to it that Riddhima’s happy.”
Armaan stared at him in shock. Of all he had expected, this was something he had not dreamed of! His dad knowing the girl he loved?
“Be the man I know you are. Abh mujhe kuch nahin sunna. You are finishing your internship here. Kitne mahine baaki hain?” Jai asked, oblivious of Armaan’s astonished face, and what he just gave away.
“Three.” Armaan replied.
“Finish it here. My son does not run away from trouble. He faces it and overcomes it.”
“Thanks dad.” Armaan replied, as they both stood up. Armaan went to his room again. His father was right. There no point in staying away and hoping Riddhima would get over him. He could stay here, and see that she had a perfect life. As for Muskaan’s problem, he had just the solution for it. He would no more go away and torture himself under self pity.

“Tu pagal ho gayya hai?!” Rahul almost screamed at him. They were in a small restaurant. Armaan sighed wondering where his planning had gone amiss. He should have at least warned Rahul about this. Armaan had stayed at home the previous night, thinking through everything. In the morning, he called up Australia, confirming his resignation, and had a personal conversation with Dr Harold, who was very sad to hear about his decision. Armaan also discussed Sara’s case with him, voicing the possibilities of transferring her to his care. He had then organized a dinner, and invited Muskaan’s parents over. The earlier this was done, the better.

“Armaan I refuse. Yaar, koi toh wanring deni chahiye thi!”
“Yaar, abh maaf bhi kardo mujhe.” Armaan was almost pulling Rahul to a table, where Muskaan was seated between her parents, and the rest around them. The rest consisted of Riddhima, Atul, Anjali, Abhi, Nikki and Sid, as Armaan had thought with the whole gang to back them up, things would be easier.

Rahul was feeling stifled in his coat. He had been told to be ready for dinner, and for once cursed himself for not arguing back, and asking what it was all about. True, it may have been because the whole day had passed in a daze for him, trying to think of ways to come out of the mess they had been put in. He looked at the two seats reserved for him and Armaan, opposite Muskaan’s parents. If he came out of this alive, he would murder Armaan!

Muskaan was staring fixedly at her empty plate. Neither had she been given a warning about all this. Well, maybe it was time. For the truth to come out. She looked up at her parents who were smiling at Armaan. Hopefully, they would accept Rahul the same way. Hope had a lot of strength.

p.s by punam

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