Tuesday, 8 August 2017

PART 18: Ehsaas


The next day, there was a knock at their door early morning.

Riddhima woke up at the sound of the knock and put on a robe. She answered the door, "Oh Anjaliji! Aap? Itni subah…..kya Armaan se kaam hai?"


Anjali was dressed in a low cut light blue dress and had her sunglasses on.
She smiled and said, "aapke pati meri van mein apni ek personal cheez bhool gaye the….wo lautaane aayi hoon!"


Riddhima was puzzled, "main aapki baat samjhi nahin Anjali ji"



"Lagta hai aapke pati aapko sab baatein bataate nahin hai! Zara dhyaan rakhiyega Mrs Malik, abhi tho nayi nayi shaadi huyi hai……agar abhi sab kuch nahin bataa rahe tumhey, tho aage?????" she paused and looked at Riddhima's face with a smug expression.


Riddhima was about to say something, when Armaan walked into their conversation. He was in his shorts and was still buttoning up his shirt, "kaun hai Riddhima?"



Anjali's heart stopped at seeing the muscular, bare chested man in front of her.



"Oh aap hain?" Armaan smiled. Anjali was pleasantly surprised to see Armaan greet her with a genuine smile for a change. Looked like her plan was on the right track- Armaan received recognition for his work at a public gathering last night-who would not want that? Even the noblest and humblest of all men would get a kick if their ego was massaged in front of so many people.



'Yes Dr! Main aaj wapas Mumbai jaa rahi hoon….yeh aapka camera meri van mein reh gaya tha…..I am sure you were missing it!" she gave a seductive smile to Armaan as she stared at his muscular chest.


Armaan buttoned up his shirt completely and took the camera back, "thanks Anjali ji…I hope you recover as soon as possible so we can actually see you back on the big screen"


Anjali took out her note pad and wrote something, "Dr Malik….yeh raha mera personal phone number….duniya mein sirf khaas logon ke paas hi yeh number rehta hai…..kabhie Mumbai aaiye tho aapki dinner date yaad rahegi mujhey," she stared at Armaan with her piercing eyes as she removed her sunglasses. Armaan felt a little uncomfortable; he almost felt that she was mentally undressing him with her eyes.


"Thanks Anjali ji…I will remember your offer," he said politely, hoping that she would leave soon.



"Yaad rakhiye Dr Malik….aapke haathon mein jaadoo hai…..you are very talented, don't waste your time in a small town like Ramgarh," she gave a hateful smile to Riddhima as she said that, "you belong in Mumbai…..amongst the best……amongst the elite." She smiled at Armaan again and put her glasses again and walked away with her manager.



Riddhima frowned as Anjali left, "Armaan….yeh kya kehna chah rahi thi? Mujhey aisa laga jaise wo mujhey pasand nahin karti…..lekin maine kya bigaada hai unka?"



Armaan put his arm around Riddhima and shut the door, "aisi kuch baat nahin hai jaan! Is jahan mein koi bhi aisa nahin hoga, jo tumhey pasand na kare….chalo let's go back to sleep…..raat bhar sone nahin diya na tumney?" Armaan squeezed her affectionately and pulled her under the bedcovers. He snuggled with her and was fast asleep within minutes.



Riddhima stayed up, still trying to decipher the exact meaning of Anjali's words and actions. She reached for the camera sitting on the nightstand. She decided to distract herself with the pictures Armaan had taken so far.


Riddhima was in for a surprise when she saw an empty screen as she searched for the photos.



"How is that possible? Armaan ne mujhey dikhayee thi photos….," she shuddered as she thought of the worst possible scenario- THEY WERE ERASED……WAS IT AN ACCIDENT? OR A PURPOSEFUL ACT BY SOMEONE?



There was something about Anjali which made her uncomfortable……right from the way she humiliated her in the van….to the hateful look on her face when she saw Riddhima next to Armaan this morning……nahin, nahin aisa nahin ho sakta……I am just imagining……she is so beautiful and powerful, why would she want anything from us….or from Armaan????




Riddhima decided to get ready for the day. She was picking out her clothes, when Armaan grabbed her from behind, "aaj hum jahan jaa rahe hain, wahan tumhare yeh sari aur suit nahin chalenge….yeh lo main tumhare liye kuch special kapde laaya hoon," he handed her a bag.


"Kahan jaa rahe hain?" Riddhima looked inside the bag, "yeh kapde? Maine aaj tak kabhie pants ya jeans nahin pehni."



Armaan smiled at his innocent wife, "theek hai, phir sher aur cheetah agar tumhare naazuk badan par hamlaa karein, tho sari mein sprint kar lena!" he chuckled.



"Sher? Cheetah? Kya hum kisi jungle mein jaa rahe hain?"



"Exactly! We are going to Mudumalai wild life sanctuary today……agar mere saath chalnaa hai tho yeh jeans aur top pehen lo…..saath mein yeh boots bhi hain…..trust me bahut sexy lagogi ismey bhi," he winked and laughed at her.
After a shower, Riddhima came out dressed ready for the safari, "kyon doctor sahib? Sher aur cheetah se bachne ke liye yeh theek hai na?"




Armaan could not help admiring how attractive she looked in her hip-hugging denim jeans and red tank top, "hey! As a matter of fact, lagta hai sher aur cheetah tumhare peeche hi aayenge…I will have serious competition now."



"Jaanti hoon!" she gave him a seductive smile and pinched his cheek, "kam se kam yeh sher tho zaroor aayega!" she laughed and kissed his cheek, "chalo let's get ready."



They took a taxi to the wild life sanctuary. On their way, Riddhima told Armaan about the missing photographs. He was surprised too, but shrugged his shoulders saying he might have pressed a wrong button in panic when he attended to Anjali's emergency at the garden, "you know, it's a digital camera…accidents like that happen often. Don't worry, I'll make up for the loss today."



Mudumalai sanctuary is located at the foothills of the beautiful Nilgiri mountains, about 60-70 km from Ooty. Armaan and Riddhima checked into a resort called, "The Jungle Retreat" They put their luggage into one of the deluxe cottages, constructed entirely of bamboos.


They hired a 4x4 open top jeep with a driver for their wild life safari. As they drove along, they spotted deer, bears, antelopes, flying squirrels, and even a leopard. Riddhima clutched Armaan's arm tightly throughout the safari. Armaan could tell, she would get a little tense whenever they approached a wild animal. They were supposed to stay quiet, as noises distracted the animals.



Riddhima accidentally yelled, especially when a tiger came face to face with their jeep.


"Riddhima!" Armaan whispered, "shor machaaogi tho sher bhi bechara darr ke bhaag jaayega, wo meri tarah thode hi hai, ki tum chaahe shor machaao, ya apne naakhoono se mera jism chalni kar do….main phir bhi tumhare peeche peeche hi daudta rehta hoon."



Riddhima realized that her nails had dug into Armaan's arm several times during this excursion and of course they had abused his back every night. She felt embarrassed, and loosened her grip on his arm, "sorry Armaan, I didn't realize I was hurting you."



Armaan put his arm around her and whispered, "Hey…..I love to be abused by my lovely wife."



Riddhima just blushed at his comment as they approached the thickest part of the jungle.



They returned to their resort later in the afternoon. After a spicy hot South Indian meal, Armaan suggested they go for a short hike, "yahan bahut achhe hiking trails hain….thodi exercise bhi ho jaayegi….aur humein tanhayee bhi mil jaayegi."



Riddhima blushed, as she understood what he meant by the last comment.
They packed a bag pack with some drinks, snacks, maps and their camera and headed for the trails.

They held hands and enjoyed walking through the lush green forest.



After walking a few miles, Riddhima started getting tired. She had to keep taking rest at regular intervals. She sat on a rock and finally took off her boots, "Armaan….yeh boots bahut uncomfortable hain…mere pair thak gaye hain."



Armaan sat down next to her, "mujhey samajh nahin aata tum saare din itni ooncho oonchi heels mein ghoomti rehti ho, aur in boots se pair dard kar rahe hain?…..You women!"



"Heels mein hiking thode hi jaate hain!" Riddhima complained, "main yahin baithi hoon…tum baaki ki hike akele hi kar lo…..main yahan intezaar kar loongi."



"Madam…..ek baat jaan lo…..jaayenge tho saath saath hi jaayenge…..koi kisi ka intezaar nahin karta…..agar saath jeena hai tho mere saath hike par bhi chalna hoga." Armaan commanded.



"Aisa kyon kehte ho Armaan?" Riddhima said seriously, "main tho tumhara hamesha intezaar karne ko tayyar hoon."



Armaan picked her boots and tied them to the bag pack. He loaded the bag pack on his back and bent down to carry Riddhima in his arms, "agar tum mere saath chal nahin paaogi, tho main tumhey apni baahon mein uthaa kar le jaaoonga samjhi! Ab kabhie yeh mat kehna ki main tumhara intezaar kar loongi…OK!"




Riddhima circled her arms around his neck and smiled, "tumhey apni baat manwaani aati hai….agar main tumhare kadam se kadam nahin mila paayi, tho tum mujhey aise hi apni baahon mein zabardasti le chaloge? Haina?"




"Beshaq! Kyonki ab main tumhare bina nahin reh sakta….iss liye jaise bhi ho apne saath hi le chaloonga!" He kissed her forehead as they continued their hike.



After about a mile or so, Armaan needed a break; he put Riddhima down and said, "Ah! Meri kamar!"


"Dekha…agar zabardasti mujhey apne saath le chaloge, tho dard tho tumhey bhi hoga!" she said as she massaged his back.


"Tho kya karta? Tumhey wahin peeche chhod deta?" Armaan winced in pain



"Nahin! Maine yeh nahin kaha…..agar

 tum meri rai lete tho shayad main wo boots nahin khareed ti, koi aur comfortable shoes khareed leti….aur na hi itni lambi trek ke liye tayyar hoti….ab one-sided decision liya hai tho tumhey anjaam bhugatna hi padhega….," she continued to massage his shoulders and back.




"Hmm….kaafi hoshiyaar ho! Ishaaron ishaaron mein mujhey lesson de rahi ho….Ok…I guess you are right…I should always consult you before making any major decisions," Armaan chuckled and was about to put the bag pack on his back, when it started raining.


They were both soaking wet in no time. They moved away from the hiking trail as it was getting muddy and slippery, and looked for some shelter. They found a group of tall trees around a grassy area. The thickness of the leaves and branches acted as a shelter from some of the rain.


They put their bag down and decided to wait under the trees till the rain stopped.


Armaan could not control himself and hugged Riddhima from behind. His hands circled her thin waist as he kissed her neck and ears.


Riddhima moaned with pleasure, "Armaan…yahan? Yeh jungle hai….bedroom nahin."


Armaan mumbled, "as they say….when in Rome, be a Roman…..ab hum jungle mein hain….tho….aage tum samajhdaar ho…"




The sun finally started streaming through the trees as the rain subsided. Riddhima was feeling better now and decided to walk bare feet all the way back. Her bare feet were way more comfortable for her than the expensive imported boots!



She held onto Armaan's arm for support and said, "Armaan……yeh jungle hamesha yaad rahega ab."

"Jungle bhi…..aur jaanwar bhi!" he laughed as he put his arm around her.



They showered and changed into dry clothes. As they sat around the fire in their cottage, they could not help laughing at their 'wild encounters' from the afternoon.



"Jaante ho Armaan…..kal hum log wapas Ramgarh jaa rahe hain…par yeh saat din meri zindagi ke sabse haseen din hain….in dino ki yaadon mein main apna saara jeevan guzaar sakti hoon," Riddhima said nostalgically as she reminisced the last seven days.



"Aise kyom kehti ho Riddhima? Bhagwan ne chaaha tho hamari zindagi mein abhi bahut si yaadein banengi aage chal kar," Armaan buried his face in her lap, "abhi tho shuruaat hai."



"Hmm….jaanti hoon…..par honeymoon tho phir se nahin aayega na?" she said as she stroked his hair.



"Jaaneman…hamari zindagi ka har din honeymoon jaisa hoga…OK?" he said sleepily and within minutes was fast asleep. He was probably tired after the hectic day and Riddhima's lap always gave him that extra warmth and comfort- something he cherished more as days went by.



Riddhima tried to lie down and get some sleep, but was restless…..was it the quietness of the jungle? Or was it the intermittent howling of the wolves and jackals at night? The buzzing of the crickets and insects outside their cottage made her jump with fear. Or was it those hateful eyes this morning? She could not tell why she was so frightened……kya main jungle se darr rahi hoon….ya kisi ki nazron se???? Anjali's face kept haunting her each time she tried to shut her eyes.



"Armaan! Armaan!" Riddhima shook him gently

"hmmm?" he said sleepily


"mujhey neend nahin aa rahi….darr lag raha hai!" she said

"Darr kis baat ka? Main tumhare saath hoon na….kuch nahin hoga.." he got up and hugged Riddhima.



Enjoy this cute song from "biwi#1"- "jungle hai aadhi raat" as Armaan tries to reassure and soothe a frightened Riddhima:



http://www.dishant.com/album/biwi-no.-1.html

RIDDHIMA:

Na Na Na Na
Na Na Na Na
Na Na Na Na
Na Na Na Na
Na Na Na
Na Na Na Na
Jungle Hai Aadhi Raat Hai

Lagne Laga Hai Darr
Duniya Ko Bhool Jaon
Kuch Aisi Baat Karr
Jungle Hai Aadhi Raat Hai

Lagne Laga Hai Darr
Duniya Ko Bhool Jaon
Kuch Aisi Baat Karr

ARMAAN:

Darne Waali Kya Baat Hai
Jab Saath Mein Hai Dilbar
Aaja Meri Baahon Mein
Sojaa Rakh Ke Sarr
Darne Waali Kya Baat Hai

Jab Saath Mein Hai Dilbar
Aaja Meri Baahon Mein
Sojaa Rakh Ke Sarr
RIDDHIMA:

Hai, Jungle Hai Aadhi Raat Hai
Lagne Laga Hai Darr

ARMAAN:

Aaja Meri Baahon Mein
Sojaa Rakh Ke Sarr...
Dil Mein Kya Hoti Hai

RIDDHIMA:

Hulchul

ARMAAN:

Beetabi Chaayi Hai

RIDDHIMA:

Pal Pal

ARMAAN:

Gaalon Ki Rangat Loon

RIDDHIMA:

Ley Ley
O, Main To Yehi Chaahati Hoon
ARMAAN:

Tanhai Ka Aalam
Taare Bhi Soyee Hain
Hum Bhi Ek Duje Ki
Chaahat Mein Khoye Hain
Tanhai Ka Aalam

Taare Bhi Soyee Hain
Hum Bhi Ek Duje Ki
Chaahat Mein Khoye Hain

RIDDHIMA:

Bahar Mausam Sardi Ka
Kyoon Garmi Hai Andar
Hai, Jungle Hai Aadhi Raat Hai
Lagne Laga Hai Darr
Duniya Ko Bhool Jaon
Kuch Aisi Baat Karr

ARMAAN:

Darne Waali Kya Baat Hai
Jab Saath Mein Hai Dilbar
Aaja Meri Baahon Mein
Sojaa Rakh Ke Sarr...

RIDDHIMA:

Tujhe Pagal Main Kar Doon
ARMAAN:

Kar De
RIDDHIMA:

Aagosh Mein Bhar Loon
ARMAAN:

Bhar Le
RIDDHIMA:

Hai, Seeney Se Lag Jaaon
ARMAAN:

Lag Jaa
RIDDHIMA:

Ho, Ye Lo Sanam, Aa Gayi
ARMAAN:

O, Aankh To Khuli Hai
Lekin Tum Sou Gayee Ho
Jaanta Hoon Main
Tum Deewani Ho Gayee Ho
Aankh To Khuli Hai

Lekin Tum Sou Gayee Ho
Jaanta Hoon Main
Tum Deewani Ho Gayee Ho
RIDDHIMA:

Hum Dono Aaj Akele
Koi Bhi Na Ghar Par
Hai, Jungle Hai Aadhi Raat Hai
Lagne Laga Hai Darr
Duniya Ko Bhool Jaon
Kuch Aisi Baat Karr
ARMAAN:

Darne Waali Kya Baat Hai
Jab Saath Mein Hai Dilbar
Aaja Meri Baahon Mein
Sojaa Rakh Ke Sarr
RIDDHIMA:

Hai, Jungle Hai Aadhi Raat Hai
Lagne Laga Hai Darr
Duniya Ko Bhool Jaon
Kuch Aisi Baat Karr
ARMAAN:

Darne Waali Kya Baat Hai
Jab Saath Mein Hai Dilbar
Aaja Meri Baahon Mein
Sojaa Rakh Ke Sarr
RIDDHIMA:

Jungle Hai Aadhi Raat Hai...



Finally, Riddhima dozed off in Armaan's arms. Armaan just caressed her beautiful face as she slept peacefully.

He touched her scar on her forehead and could not help admiring his handy work. Suddenly, he heard a voice echoing in his mind, "Yaad rakhiye Dr Malik….aapke haathon mein jaadoo hai……. you belong in Mumbai…..amongst the best……amongst the elite…."



…….to be continued……

Sangeeta 

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