Thursday, 27 July 2017

PART 10:: Ehsaas

Riddhima reached home, intoxicated with love. She noticed Padma talking to someone on the phone very intently. Riddhima just shrugged her shoulders and went to her room. She took out a beautiful wooden box, which had her name carved on it. Her father had gifted this to on her 16th birthday; since then she stored all her precious memories in that little box. She opened it and saw the dried petals of the roses; Armaan had given her over the last few months. She was about to place her 'proposal ring' in it when Padma walked in from behind.

"Yeh tumhara student accha hai…kabhie murjhaaye huye phool deta hai….tho kabhi yeh foil ki anghoothi!" Padma intercepted the ring and looked at it.

"Maa! Aisi koi baat nahin hai! Yeh tho bas aise hi…."

"Haan tere chehre ka rang bataa rahi hai ki yeh tho bas aisi hi bekaar ki cheez hai…haina?" Padma teased her.

"Nahin maa! Bekaar nahin…par kuch khaas bhi nahin!" Riddhima was annoyed at her mom's queries.

"Theek hai! Abhi Dr Malik ki behen ka Bangalore se phone aaya tha…..apne bhai ka shagun lekar Saturday ko aa rahe hain…..tere liye koi khaas baat nahin hai tho Tamanna ki baat chalaa deti hoon unsey….aakhir itni umeedon se aa rahe hain…," Padma turned around, anxiously waiting for Riddhima's response.

"MAA! Tamanna se? Aapka dimaag tho kharaab nahin ho gaya maa? Wo Tamanna se pyaar thode hi karte hain, mujhsey karte hain!" Riddhima bit her tongue after she realized what she had just blurted out.

Padma turned around and caressed her daughter's face, "Ab aayi na line par! Kitne din se mujhey pagal banaa rahi hai…main teri maa hoon……mujhsey kuch nahin chupta! Samjhi?"

Riddhima blushed and buried her face in mom's shoulder, "…..please ab chidhaaiye nahin…"

"Main bahut khush hoon beti…itna achha rishta ghar baithe baithe hi aa gaya…..teri kismat bahut achhi hai…." Padma had tears of joy in her eyes.

"Ho sakta hai maa, unki kismat zyaada achhi ho?" Riddhima hugged her mom tightly.

"Wo tho hai! Meri jaisi beti unhey duniya mein nahin milegi! Is Saturday ko aa rahe hain, aur sagaai bhi karna chahte hain…chal bahut kaam hai…sirf 3 din hi tho reh gaye hain…." Padma hurried downstairs as she mentally started jotting down her to-do list.

Padma informed Dr Misra, Lovely, Tamanna, Atul and a few close relatives about the good news as soon as she could.


Armaan was finishing up with his evening patients, when Dr Misra walked in.

"Badhai ho…badhai ho!" Shashank patted Armaan's back.

"Sir aap?" Armaan got up from his chair

"Tho hamari pyaari laadli ko chura hi liya hum se?" Dr Misra settled in a chair opposite Armaan, "baitho…baitho…"

"Oh..wo? Lagta hai aapko khabar mil gayi….Keerti di se raha nahin gaya…" Armaan blushed a little.

"Bhai dekho doctor sahib….ishq aur mushq chupaae nahin chupte…..humein tho bahut pehle se pataa tha, par jab tak tumse nahin sun lete, hum ne socha hum chup hi rehte hain." Dr Misra smiled.

"Sir….aapko koi aitraaz tho nahin?" Armaan hesitated, as he knew that even if he did, it would not sway Armaan's decision.

"Aitraaz tho yeh hai ki tum usey humse door le jaaoge." Dr Misra became a little emotional.

"Nahin aisi baat nahin hai sir! Actually, mujhey yahan kaam karna achha lagta hai…..I feel I am making a difference in people's lives here….aur phir Riddhima bhi aap sab ke bahut kareeb hai…..main soch raha hoon ki apni surgery training khatam karne ke baad yahin practice jamaa loon." Armaan said.

Dr Misra could not believe his ears, "beta agar tum sach much aisa karoge, tho mujh sey khush koi nahin hoga…..God bless you son!"

"Thank you sir! You have been a great inspiration for me…I hope I can fill your shoes someday." Armaan thanked the senior doctor.

Dr Misra sighed and looked up, "You have to make your own space and your own identity son……I have confidence in you that one day you will not only fill my shoes, but reach the stars and achieve what I have not been able to….I am proud of you Armaan!"

"Thanks sir!" Armaan said humbly.

"Aur haan! Jahan tak Riddhima ka sawaal hai, main usey bachpan se jaanta hoon…..usey zindagi mein kuch nahin chahiye….bas tum usey ek boond pyaar doge tho wo tumhey poora saagar-bhar pyaar wapas degi…..she is like that…..tumney uski baahar ki khubsoorati mehsoos ki hai ab tak, par uskey andar ki khubsoorati ko ek baar pehchaan jaaoge, tho tumhey ehsaas hoga ki YOU ARE THE LUCKIEST MAN ON THIS PLANET!" Dr Misra got up and congratulated Armaan again.

Armaan pondered on Dr Misra's comment. He thought, 'Riddhima mein kuch tho hai, jis wajah se main itna diwaana ho gaya hoon uska…..shayad Dr Misra theek kehte hain…..maine zindagi mein bahut khubsoorat ladkiyan dekhi hain, par Riddhima ki baat hi kuch aur hai…..she is different…..she is soft on the outside, but very strong on the inside…..she respects herself, but not arrogant…….she is simple but elegant…….she is very genuine, down-to-earth, very loving and caring……but above all SHE IS VERY BEAUTIFUL AND HOT!!! AND I AM CRAZY ABOUT HER!"

Armaan got up and had an intense craving to see Riddhima. He left the clinic and drove to Riddhima's house. He was disappointed to know that she was not there, "wo aur Padma bazaar gaye hain…," a neighbor informed him.

Armaan turned around and headed for the main bazaar of the city. After parking the car, he wandered around searching for Riddhima. Good thing, everyone knew who Riddhima was-the shopkeepers were able to direct him where she might be.

Riddhima and Padma were at a sari store. They sat on a low sofa as the shopkeeper presented various samples of saris to them.

"Bhaiyya…wo laal waali dikhana.." Padma asked

"Maa…laal waali nahin….bahut bold lagegi.." Riddhima complained

"Chup! Tere pe laal rang bahut khilta hai…." Padma shushed her.

"Haan…laal waali hi dikhaiye bhaiya!" Riddhima and Padma turned around and heard a familiar voice. Riddhima's face lit up when she saw Armaan standing right behind them.

Armaan sat down next to Riddhima and started checking out all the saris.

"Chalo achha hua tum aa gaye beta….ho sakta hai tumhari pasand isey zyaada pasand aa jaaye……meri tho sunti nahin hai!" Padma smiled and looked at Armaan.

"Hmm….waise sab kehte hain ki mera taste bahut achha hai!" Armaan squeezed himself closer to Riddhima; his thigh pressing against hers. He leaned over to check the saris out, purposely brushing his arm against Riddhima each time. Riddhima tried to pull back, as she was a little embarrassed with Armaan's obvious flirtatious gestures. Armaan grabbed her waist from behind as she tried to move away. He slowly slid his hand under her kurta behind her back. Riddhima retaliated by stomping on his foot with her sharp heels and crushing him into pain.

"AHH!," Armaan winced in pain but could not yell in public. He looked at Riddhima with pleading eyes.

Riddhima gave him a dirty look warning him to keep his hands off in public!

Armaan's pride was at stake; he was not one to surrender or accept defeat that easily. He had always been a winner in life and he was more determined to provoke Riddhima now.

He bent down, pretending to massage his foot, but instead ran his finger from Riddhima's foot all the way up to her knees and under her kurta to her thighs!

Padma wondered why Riddhima looked so pre occupied and lost, "kya hua Riddhima?…bataa yeh sari pasand aayi ya nahin?" Riddhima's face was turning red; the higher Armaan's fingers traversed her thigh, the more she shivered inside. Armaan was leaning, pretending to show interest in the saris, so no one could tell where his hand was, "Haan…auntie bas pack karwa lee jiye…bahut sunder hai…," he said giving Riddhima a longing look.

Riddhima just nodded when Padma looked at her for an answer. Riddhima kept elbowing Armaan to move away. The more she elbowed him, the closer he got to her at the pretext of checking out few more saris.

Padma's experienced eyes noticed that something fishy was going on. She just smiled to herself and said, 'theek hai bhaiyya…yeh dono sari pack kar do….ghar bhijwaa dena fall lagaa ke…..main payment karti hoon……achha bacchon, tum dono thodi der yahin ghoom lo, mujhey kuch aur kaam hai bazaar mein….chalo main chalti hoon."

"Maa….main bhi chalti hoon…," Riddhima tried to get up.

"Arre, Riddhima tum keh rahi thi na ki yahan ek bhel poori ki dukaan hai….please wahan chalte hain..," Armaan intercepted.

"Haan Riddhima….jao Armaan ko Ramgarh ki chaat tho khilwaa do, usey bhi tho pataa chale ki yahan ki chaat kitni chut putti hoti hai…," Padma smiled and gave a parting shot as she left.

Armaan thanked Padma for being so understanding, "Thanks auntie….main Riddhima ko wapas ghar chhod doonga."

Padma looked behind and smiled, "Auntie nahin….maa kaho ab…."

"Yes….maa….," Armaan laughed back

As they left the store, Riddhima was still upset with Armaan and walked ahead of him.

Armaan caught up with her, "Ab kya hua Basanti? Mere paas aaj phool bhi nahin hai."

"Wahan tamaasha karne ki kya zaroorat thi?….sab jaante hai humein yahan…baatein karenge….." Riddhima frowned.

"Madam…..agar apni hone waali patni se flirt nahin karoonga tho kisi aur se karoonga? Tab log zaroor baatein karenge….would you like that?" Armaan put his arm around her and started walking with her.

Riddhima could not help smiling, "Armaan….tum bhi na…..baatein banane mein bahut maahir ho…..maa kya soch rahi hongi?"

"Yahi, ki meri beti kitni khush kismat hai!" Armaan grinned, "what a loving husband she will have."

Armaan and Riddhima went to the chaat stall and enjoyed the local spicy chaat and bhel poori.

Armaan was not used to so many spices, "Haaa..Haaa…Riddhima yeh tho bahut teekhi hai!"

"Maa ne kya kaha tha? Ramgarh ki har cheez teekhi hai…abhi bhi soch lo…," Riddhima teased him.

Armaan wiped his hands and looked at Riddhima devouringly, "wo tho dikh hi raha hai!," he gave her a piercing look from top to bottom as he said that. Riddhima could tell that Armaan had some mischief up his sleeve; before he could grab her, she ran away from him.

Armaan chased her all over the bazaar, till they came into an open field on the outskirts of the small town. They kept running till they were out of breath.

As they stalled to take a deep breath, it started pouring cats and dogs. Riddhima loved the rain and spread out her arms to welcome the fresh drops from the sky.

Before long, they were both drenched in the downpour. Riddhima realized that Armaan was staring at her with hungry eyes. Her kurta was soaked and hugged her body. Her hair fell on her face, clinging to her cheeks.

Riddhima became self conscious and turned away, closing her eyes. She knew that if she kept looking at him, it would be hard for her to resist him too. His well-sculpted physique clearly visible through his translucent shirt was making her heart race at lightning speed. She felt her knees would give away any moment.

Armaan came from behind and put his arm around her. He helped her walk to a shelter in the open farm. It looked like an abandoned barn. He lit a fire in the middle of the barn and helped Riddhima sit next to the fire. He sat beside her and put his arm around her.

Armaan kissed her forehead, sending a chill down Riddhima's spine. He kissed her neck and then her ears.

Riddhima pulled away, "Armaan….we need to leave now. I am not comfortable like this."

Armaan smiled, brushing his wet hair with his fingers, "even me. Our first time will be in a more private place…not a barn….that would be too filmy, huh?" he winked at her. Riddhima heaved a sigh of relief and smiled back, "thanks Armaan."

They both walked back arm in arm and drove home. Armaan knew that he had to control his desires. Riddhima was a very determined girl; he knew she loved him and was as attracted to him as he was, but she would never cross her limits and give in to temptation the way he could- and he would have to learn to respect that.

….to be continued….


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