Saturday, 26 August 2017

PART 2: Trace Your Dreams



He unlocked the door...I followed him silently looking down...disappointment is not an apt word to describe my feeling right now...i feel so so...i donno, have to search thesaurus for the right word...i felt something so unusual for a guy for the first time in my life and he turned out to be my friend's husband...hey, wait wait...he never told me that he is...may be i m just assuming...why would he live in the same house if he wasnt? i need a confirmation and i need it badly...


i asked "who are you?" he suddenly turned around...and i almost bumped into him...he moved back.."sorry, did u say something?"he asked...i think i did say, didnt i?? or was i just speaking to myself? or was the pitch too low to be heard?...i never thought i could be so confused in my life abt such a small thing...i mean, look at me...i am not sure of wat I did a few seconds ago...this guy is definitely doing something to me...he is exceptional...i was mumbling all this in my head when i realised he is still staring at me, keenly...oh yeah, he is waiting for my answer...i composed myself and said a safe "no"...he pointed to a chair...i sat and looked around...the house is neatly set...

"would u like to have something? tea coffe coke?"..."no, thanks" i smiled...and he smiled back... aww, that smile!!...no wait, i need to pause drooling until i know who he is..."who are you?" i made sure i said it this time, loud and clear..."i am armaan"...armaan!! wow!! wat a name!! but armaan what? muskaan's friend, muskaan's husband, muskaan's what? 'i am armaan' it seems, as if he is the prime minister of India..."armaan-?.." i left it to hang in the air for him to complete... "armaan malik"...arghhh!! i dint mean your full name stupid!! i want to know wat is your relationship with muskaan!! i want to know why you are in this house!! i want to know wat you are doing to me from the past 5mins!! i want to know why i am so restless!!...i want to yell all this at him...he gave a naughty smile...why?? can he read my mind or wat?

"i will check with muskaan where she is now" he said taking his phone from his pocket and dialled..."hey muskaan, where r u?..ok...i am at home...someone came here looking for you" then he looked at me sharply and said "a beautiful girl"...that one sent a shiver down my spine..."with green eyes, black hair, lovely smile"...eh?!! is he flirting with me or his wife?...WIFE!!... that word made all his nice words suddenly sound nasty..."just tell her Ridhima Gupta from St.Josephs" i spat angrily...he chuckled and said "okay, she says Ridhima Gupta from St.Josephs"...then he handed over the phone..."hello muskaan?"..."ridz, is it you?"..."yes, its me"..."O My God!! i cant believe this!! how are you?" muskaan was yelling...i smiled and moved the phone away a bit to save my eardrum from tearing...this is what i wanted to do, surprise her..."i am fine, and u?"..."i m good yaar, how did u know the address?".."i went to ur home, didi told"..."oh ok...i'll be there in 10mins ok...wait for me hun"..."ya sure" i hung up with a smile..it was nice to hear her after long time...

i gave the phone back to him...it slipped...both of us tried to grab it resulting in this - phone in my hand and my hand in his hand... he took away his hand very slowly, looking into my eyes...a low voltage current passed through my body erasing my anger and the same strange feelings i experienced when i first saw him are returning to me...he reminds me that i am a girl...i dont want to give up...i want to give this a chance...

"are you muskaan's husband?" i rattled off suddenly giving his phone back...i am worried that he is and i am hoping that he is not...he looked at me wrinkling his eyebrows and then gave a smile which i could not categorize..."you want to hear a yes or no?"....huh?!!! wat a stupid question?!! cant he answer straight?!!...but now I dont want to answer straight...i exclaimed "how does that matter?".."it may"..."did anyone tell u thar u r weird?" i frowned.. he said "yes" and winked..."fine!!" i shrugged ...he is such a complicated creature!! is he like this with everyone?!!..but i have to admit he looked hot when he winked...no no, i have to control my silly soul until i talk to muskaan...i wont ask armaan...he talks in riddles n i hate ppl who talk in riddles...but...i cant hate him...besides, i dont want to sound desperate... i sighed and looked away...

a photo frame caught my attention..i got up n walked to it...i can recognise muskaan in that...with two guys on either sides, one is armaan...who is the other guy?.."who is he?" i asked.. "rahul"...who rahul? now if i ask him, he will probably say rahul's surname...i rolled my eyes...i better save all the questions for muskaan..."u dont want to ask anything about him?" he asked curiously..."i'll ask muskaan" i said haughtily...he smiled mischievously...strangely, i m very comfortable with him as if i know him from years...really strange!!

we came back n sat on couch... "so, u n muskaan were friends in school".."yeah...dint meet her after school years"..."hmm...did u come to invite her to ur marriage?"...huh?!!! where did that come from?!!..."nooo"..."thats wat people generally do right, you'll remember everyone when it comes to marriage..even if u forgot their faces"....to be honest, he has a point.."yeah, but thats not my reason for being here"..."are you working somewhere or studying?"..."i work in NDTV"..."interesting!! as what?"...i smiled thankfully for not assuming that i am a reporter or an anchor...people do that very often..."i studied journalism but i am not on the field...i monitor the ticker...i mean the flash news that scroll at the bottom and some other tasks"..."and you?" i asked..."i work in citibank, as a manager"

"RIDDHIMAA!!! wat a surprise!!" muskaan shouted getting into the house...i went n hugged her... i m so happy to meet her, especially after that weird dream...she dint change much... infact looking better now...we were just looking at each other lovingly when someone's voice interrupted us...."school re-union?"..he is the guy who was in that pic...rahul..."hey, he is my husband rahul...rahul, this is riddhima" muskaan introduced...i smiled n said hi to him, they look cute together...i told u right, i have a soft corner for her...my heart warmed up looking at them...

we turned back hearing armaan's crazy laughter...he came to us...muskaan n rahul looked at us confused..."who exactly is he?" i asked pointing to armaan..."our friend!! this is his house" she said..."actually we were in same college"...i gave armaan an angry i-knew-it look...suddenly his face softened and he gave a sweet smile..a sudden rush of happiness and relief rouse in my heart...

we sat n started talking...armaan n rahul went in...

"after many years na, how come suddenly?" she asked..."actually, i saw u in my dream yesterday night...it was kinda scary, so i just felt like meeting you".."awww, u r such a sweetheart" i smiled "if i m reminded of someone bcoz of a dream..i meet them...has become a habit now"..."strange habit"... "i know" i giggled..."so, if u see hrithik roshan in ur dream, u go n meet him?"...no, its not muskaan who said this, its armaan who was standing behind us..."oye, y r u listening to our girl talks?" muskaan demanded..."i found it interesting..so, u meet every one of them?" he asked again...wat do i say now? i've never given a thought to this...if i had to meet all of them, i would have to spend my entire life arranging appointments with them...brad pitt, george bush, aamir khan, princess diana, albert einstein, john abraham..."celebrities are excluded" i shot back...my habits, my wish..i'll set the rules and change them whenever i want...i smiled smugly

"guys, i m starving...lets go out for lunch" rahul said coming towards us..."ya ridz, lets go..we'll talk over lunch"..."ridz??!!!" armaan said with disbelief making my name sound utterly absurd..."ya, it was her nickname in school"..."why? everyone wanted to get rid of her??" he giggled..."no" i fumed..wats with this guy? doesnt leave a chance to make fun of me...rahul showed some genuine interest..."did muskaan have a name too?"..."yeah, muski"...."muski?!! as in trouble? just an 'L' missing" rahul laughed...uff, he is not better either...no wonder they r friends..."chup kar!! nalayak!!" muskaan hit him..."thats wat you are right? mushkil TROUBLE!!" rahul said...."i agree" armaan certified..."why did u marry me then?" muskaan pouted angrily..."i was optimistic...HOPE, u see"...muskaan hit him again n then turned to armaan "and you, u agree with him is it?"..he spoke between his attempts to block her "facts...are... bitter...muskaan"...i was smiling all the while looking at three of them...they are cute!! and he...hmm...cutest!!!

i informed mom not to wait for me at lunch...armaan drove to the restaurant...stealing glances at me from the rear-view mirror...i know that bcoz i am doing the same...i can see only his eyes, the most hypnotic ones i've ever seen...am i falling for this guy? may be...

in the restaurant, we looked for a table for four...rahul and armaan sat opposite to muskaan and me...after placing our order i said "so guys, tell me your lovestory" looking at muskaan and rahul..."love story is very normal ridhima, we were friends in college..then we fell in love...but, i think u'll find our marriage story interesting" rahul said...armaan chuckled...that intrigued me more..."oh, is it? tell na"..."u want to listen muskaan's version or rahul's version?" armaan interfered..."both...if possible" i said...this sounds interesting...

"me first!!" rahul said, like he doesnt want to give a chance to muskaan...i think he is talkative...

"she called me one day suddenly when I was in a meeting, i was in US then...i think she called some twenty times...so i had to answer...she asked me to come back soon...i was really tensed...she said her parents want her to marry off to some guy...i was like ok, this is an emergency, so i booked my tickets for the next flight available and came to India...i dint even inform my parents that i m coming, wanted to sort this out first...i landed in India...wats the first thing i hear from her in airport..'go back to US'..i was like huh!! i was knocked out of wits...she said the problem is solved, i can go back to my work...i dint know if i had to laugh or cry" muskaan laughed her trademark laughter...nonstop, like a train...well, thats how she was and is... always cheerful...people from adjacent tables turned to see her...these two guys seem unaffected...probably used to it...

"then?"..."i booked my return ticket and went to stay with armaan...the flight was after 2 days...i couldnt even tell my family that i m in india...they would be disappointed to have me for less than a day...anyway i was supposed to return after 2 weeks...and guess what she did on the day of my travel?"..."what?!!"...i m so curious!!..

"i was packing my bag when she called up and said 'lets get married, right now'..can u believe that?"...i laughed.."wat made u do that muski?"..."no no wait, i m not done yet" rahul said..."ok, so there was one more proposal...i said 'look, we can set all this properly, lets talk to ur parents'...she was like 'no, they wont listen'...i said ok...then she called after 10mins and said she cant leave her family n asked me to go back to US...then she called again and said she is coming...this went on for 2 hrs, she would call every 10-15mins n change her decision...and all the while, its she who calls n speaks, doesnt listen to us nor answer our calls...now you know why i call her trouble?"..i smiled n nodded...muskaan gave an angry look..."ok sweet trouble, happy?" rahul bargained...muskaan nodded happily...he continued "we were so lost, should we cancel my ticket or not...should we make arrangements for marriage or not...then when the last known decision of hers is to get married, we had set a time-out of 1hr...if she doesnt call within one hour, we'll go ahead n make arrangements" i was laughing all through his narration, once i chanced upon armaan's face and saw his eyes fixed on me...i looked into his eyes for a moment n looked at rahul again..."we were waiting for her call and she suddenly barged into armaan's house with a bag...and was inturn scolding us for not being ready...she's one born confused!!"...i wondered if muskaan was like this back in school also...as i already told u, we werent close friends..so, i have no idea

muskaan started "shut up rahul!!...u donno how difficult it is for a girl to make such a decision... first my parents wanted me to marry some sangeet pal singh yaar....he was really funny ok...there was no way i could have said yes to him even if i dint love rahul...my dad was keen abt this...and from my childhood, i never went against his wishes..i was an obedient girl...so, when this was being talked, i thought i cant handle it and called rahul...but, when i told my mom i dint like that guy, she told dad and he was ok with it...but rahul had already started by then..so, in the airport i told him to go back...wat i dint know was my parents had a plan B ready with them...my mom told abt another guy, he was quite good looking, nice job, nice family blah blah blah...in tension, i blurted out rahul's name...mom was angry, she said dad wouldnt like such things...i was equally angry that they not even giving me a chance, so i called n told rahul that we'll get married...but after i cooled down, i felt its wrong...then there was this discussion going on in the house...n i was getting more n more confused listening to it...when dad finally said he is going to call the guy's family n fix for a meeting...i couldnt take it anymore and came out...but... i m not happy now" muskaan voice changed at the end as she slowly dropped the spoon in her plate..."ridz, how r they? u went to my home na" she asked with tears in her eyes...

Ohh!! wat do i say now? i looked at rahul n armaan...they nodded assuringly...

"they..they r fine muskaan...just upset i guess"...muskaan's tears didnt stop...rahul came to her...i went n sat beside armaan to allow rahul sit beside muskaan...

"muskaan, its ok...calm down...shall we go n meet them?"..."no" muskaan said instantly..."may be u'll feel better" he said patting her head..."dad told me not to show my face again" muskaan choked on her words..rahul hugged her and consoled.."he was just angry muskaan"...
i felt idiotic..i turned towards armaan "may be i shouldnt have come to meet her..me n my stupid dream...i disturbed her" i sighed... "dont worry, she'll be fine...and do u really think u shouldnt have met us today?"...i looked up at him...his gaze piercing through me as if searching for an answer...i went numb...i can feel only one thing...armaan's presence...

Harika

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