Sunday, 23 July 2017

PART 8: : Ehsaas




Riddhima was still tremulous after her first kiss. She had never been touched like that before, or for that matter felt that way in her life. She was dazed and confused, Padma's voice was still echoing in the background, but Riddhima's legs felt paralyzed, unable to move.


"Kahan ho tum? Main kab se dhoondh rahi hoon….yeh rahi…..baahar kya kar rahi hai?" Padma came out and saw Riddhima standing in the middle of the backyard staring at the swinging rear gate.



"Kya hua? Sab theek tho hai na?" Padma got worried.



Riddhima flustered, "Oh..maa…wo main yahan paudhon mein paani dene aayi thi, bas ek billi ne mujhey daraa diya the….chaliye main baaher se saamaan le aati hoon…."



Padma followed Riddhima, but was not satisfied with her answer. It was not unusual for stray animals to intrude into their backyard from time to time, but what she saw on Riddhima's face was not fear from an unknown animal-it was a strange expression of heavenly bliss mixed with a trance-almost an out of world expression which she had seen on people's faces in the temple, after they claimed they had seen "God."



Riddhima helped her mother with the groceries. Padma found it strange that her normally boisterous daughter was so quiet. On a regular day, Riddhima would bombard Padma with questions after her trip to the bazaar, "maa aaloo kis bhaav miley? …..Bania ke paise de diye?…..Maa, us Hari Prasad se tho kabhi aata mat lena, wo usmein milawat karta hai…..," she would go on and on. Padma would have to shush her most of the time.



Suddenly Padma saw something on the kitchen counter, "Dr Malik apna stethoscope yahin bhool gaye?"



Riddhima startled, "Oh….haan wo aaye the aap ko check karne, par aap nahin thi tho wapas chale gaye."



"Kuch chai-wai pilaai thi unhey? Kahin aise hi tho nahin chale gaye?" Padma smiled to herself, as she knew his reason for the visit.



"Haan pooncha tha maine….par wo bahut jaldi mein the." Riddhima lied.



"Theek hai tu baad mein jaakar unka stethoscope de aana…..arre main tho bhool gayi, aaj Tamanna aane waali hai….keh rahi thi aaj raat ko bhi yahin rukegi…" Padma remembered that her niece, Tamanna had called that morning.

Riddhima remembered that Armaan had asked her to come over that evening; she decided to stay back with Tamanna-her head was still giddy from the kiss and she needed sometime away from him to collect her thoughts, "maa…aap maamaji ke yahan khaana de aaiye aaj, main Tamanna ke saath ghar reh loongi…aur aap hi Dr Malik ko yeh stethoscope de dena."



"Theek hai…waise bhi Dr Malik mujhey dekhney hi tho aaye the…." Padma lifted Riddhima's chin and teased her. Riddhima turned red as a beetroot and just turned her face away, "nahin maa…mera matlab haan….naa…haan….," her confused mind could barely utter any words; she ran to her room and buried her head in her pillow.



Later that evening, Armaan waited impatiently for Riddhima, but she did not show up. Padma came and dropped off his stethoscope and food for the two doctors. Padma could see Armaan's crestfallen face when she showed up without Riddhima. She did not need any more proof; she was determined to talk to Dr Misra about a possible alliance between the two lovers. Armaan had to attend to a few emergencies that evening, and by the time he got back, it was already past midnight. He tossed in bed all night, craving for Riddhima's touch….he could still feel her lips and tongue….her racing heartbeat….her fragrance….her curvaceous body pressed against his……he was sure she was as crazy about him as he was for her…..phir aayi kyon nahin…..kahin phir se naaraz tho nahin ho gayi?



NEXT DAY:



Armaan started his day early at the clinic after a sleepless night. Around 11 am, there was a lull at the clinic; he could not wait any longer-he had to go and see Riddhima!

Riddhima was teaching a 3 rd grade class when the recess bell went off!

Riddhima looked at her watch, as it was still 20 minutes to recess. Before she could stop the kids, they were on their way to the playground!


Riddhima was baffled; she checked her watch, "ghadi tho kaam kar rahi hai…phir aaj ghanti jaldi kaise baj gayi?" Suddenly she felt two hands blindfolding her eyes.

She felt the hands and instantly recognized the fingers which had been working on her wounds for the last 1 month, "tho yeh maazra hai?"


She turned around and saw her handsome doctor standing in front of her, smiling mischievously.


"Yeh kya tareeka hai Dr Malik? Jab aap apne patients dekh rahe ho, aur main beech mein aa tapkoo, tho aapke kaisa lagega?" she asked.



"Bahut accha lagega! I would love that! Batao kab aa rahi ho?" Armaan pulled her closer.


"Armaan….kya kar rahe ho? Yeh school hai!" Riddhima was mortified

"Main bhi tho tumhara student hoon….mujhey bhi tumhari attention chahiye!" Armaan smiled, leaning his head on her shoulder.



"Armaan! Koi dekh legaa!" Riddhima clenched her teeth.


"Dekh ne do! Agar tum apne vaada thod dogi, tho main kuch bhi kar sakta hoon," he pulled her by her waist.



"Maine koi vaada nahin kiya tha….kal meri cousin Tamanna aa gayi thi….," Riddhima explained.



"Chalo mere saath paas waale dhaabe mein lunch karne," Armaan insisted

"Lunch? Abhi mera ek period aur hai."



"Kya Basanti? Tumhara Veeru itni door se tum se milne aaya hai, aur tum ek period ki chinta kar rahi ho. So what? It is just an elementary class….ek din bacche kam padhenge tho koi farak nahin padhega….chalo mere saath..," Armaan grabbed her wrist and started walking.



Riddhima tried to free herself, a little offended by that comment, "Armaan….aapke liye ek maamooli class hogi, but this is my job, I take pride in my work as much as you do in yours!"



Armaan saw the indignant expression on her face; as usual he felt bad for his offending comments, "sorry Riddhima….i understand….yeh lo..my apologies…..," he took a rose out of his pocket and held it in front of her.


Riddhima was amused, "yeh rose hamesha aapki pocket mein rehta hai?"


"Kyunki tumhari naak par hamesha ek makkhi baithi rehti hai….iss liye main hamesha prepared rehta hoon," Armaan grinned.



"Aapki," Armaan put a finger on her lips, stopping her in mid sentence, "No aapki…just tum…OK?"



Riddhima smiled as she felt a sudden tingle from his finger on her lips, 'OK," she said softly.


"Chalo ab lunch par chalein? Maine principal se baat kar li thi…..he has given you permission to have an early lunch."



"Wo kaise maan gaye?" Riddhima was perplexed, as the school principal was normally very strict.


"You know chote sheher mein doctor ko bhagwan ki tarah pooj te hain….meri baat kaise taal te?" Armaan grabbed her hand again and started walking outside.


"Mujhsey poonch na chahiye…yeh bhagwan kitne shaitaan hain!" she laughed as she picked her bag.


They drove to the nearby dhaaba and ordered some lunch. Armaan sat across from Riddhima, grabbing her hand at one pretext or another.



"Armaan…please yahan mujhey sab jaante hain….aur ab tho tumhey bhi jaante hain….please haath chhodo…," Riddhima felt awkward as she noticed everyone was staring at them.


"Nahin chhodunga!" Armaan teased her


"Jaante ho ek doctor ka ek patient ke saath itni nazdeeki ka anjaam kya hota hai?" Riddhima asked, still trying to free her hands.


"Kya hota hai?"

"Barbaadi!"


Armaan smiled and came closer. He gazed into her eyes and said, "shaadi ka doosra naam bhi barbaadi hota hai…..aur main poori tarah barbaad hone ko tayyar hoon!"


Riddhima was startled. Did she just hear "shaadi?"


"Kya kaha tumney? Sh..shaadi?" Riddhima thought her ears were ringing.



Armaan pulled his hands away and tore a corner from the foil under the plate of 'naans' and rolled it between his fingers. Then he bent the rolled foil into a ring. Riddhima looked at him strangely.



"Laao haath do!" he ordered, "Come on Riddhima, main khaa nahin jaaoonga!"

Riddhima reluctantly offered her hand to him. He slipped the rolled up foil ring into her ring finger and looked into her dazed eyes, "I love you Riddhima! Will you marry me?"


Riddhima felt like she was in a dream-like state; she stared at him and did not realize that tears were rolling down her cheeks.


"abhi se kyon ro rahi ho? Shaadi ke baad tho rona hi hai!" Armaan chided with her, squeezing her hands.


Riddhima got up from the chair and ran behind the walls of the dhaaba.


Armaan followed her, "kya hua Riddhima? I promise main tumhare liye asli anghooti bhi le aaoonga."



Riddhima was sobbing and shook her head, "Armaan yeh baat nahin hai! Main…main…..I love you too…," she could not speak anymore and buried her head in his chest.


Armaan caressed her thick hair with his fingers, "Tho main haan samjhoon?"


She shook her head and looked up, "tum jaante ho tum kya keh rahe ho? Are you sure? Tum sach much mujhsey shaadi karna chaahte ho?"


Armaan traced his finger on her face and softly said, "never been more sure in my life…..main chahta hoon ki tum meri adhoori zindagi ko poora kar do," he kissed her hand and held it close to his heart.



Riddhima wiped her tears and hugged Armaan tightly; her frail arms encircled his strong neck.



Armaan shut his eyes and cherished the warm embrace; there was something very comforting about her…he knew he could face any adversity in his life as long as she was near him.


"Ab chalein? Tumhare period ka time ho raha hai?" Armaan smiled and helped her back to the car.



As they drove back, Armaan took a detour towards a park in the town.

"Yahan kyon laaye ho?" Riddhima asked

"Abhi tumhari class mein time hai…..chalo thodi der baith te hain," Armaan helped her out of the car.

They sat under a tree with Armaan resting his head in her lap.



Riddhima gently stroked his head and asked, "Armaan…ek din tum bahut badhe aadmi ban jaaoge….tab mujhey bhool tho nahin jaaogey?"



"Riddhima…tum mere andar is tarah samaa chuki ho, ki tumhein bhool ne se pehle mujhey apne aap ko bhool na padhega…par aisa kyon soch thi ho? Shaadi ke baad tho hum hamesha saath hi rahenge," Armaan got up from her lap and brought his face close to hers. He was about to kiss her, when Riddhima sang:



"Ek din….tum bahut badhe banoge…ek din"


enjoy this cute song from "ankhiyom ke jharoke se" as Armaan promises Riddhima that he would always be there for her as long as she is:

http://www.dishant.com/lyrics/song-4216.html


RIDDHIMA:

ek din, tum bahut bade banoge ek din
chaand se chamak uthoge ek din
wil you forget me then?

ARMAAN:
how i can, tel me how i can?

RIDDHIMA:
maan lo kaheen ki shahazaadi
baithi ho tumhaare liye aankhen bichhaaye
aur use ye zid ho ki wo shaadi
kisi se na karegi tumhaare sivaay
wil you forget me then?

ARMAAN:
yes i can, if only you can

ARMAAN :
ek din, le gaya tumhe jo koi ajanabi
gair ki jo ho gai ye zindagi
wil you forget me then?

RIDDHIMA:
gentleman, oh no gentleman

ARMAAN:
saans saans mein tumhaari kushabu
kis tarah jiyoonga bolo tumako bhulaake
dil pe jaan pe kar chuki ho jaadu
jaanati ho poochhati ho phir bhi sata ke

RIDDHIMA:
gentleman, sorry gentleman

they drove back to the school humming and whistling together…

…..to be continued….

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