Saturday, 23 September 2017

Chapter 16 : I'll Love You Longer Than Forever - AR FF

Later in the afternoon, Armaan and Riddhima gathered up all the kids to start the check ups.
"Bachcha log! Ye hai Dr. Yuvraj aur Dr. Naina, ye bhi humaare saath aapka chack up karenge", Riddhima said, introducing the kids to them.
The kids looked at Yuvi and Naina and then back at Armaan - Riddhima.
They stared at them for a minute and then shouted, "NAHI!" in unison.

"Kyu?" Naina asked scandalized.
"Nahi, hum sirf Armaan bhaiya aur Riddhima didi se hi check up karwaate hai har baar. Abhi bhi unse hi karaayenge", Gappu said in a no - nonsense tone.
"Gappu..." Bua reprimanded him.
"Kya hua bua? Ab hume nahi karaana check up toh nahi karaana. Hum bas Armaan bhaiya aur Riddhima didi se hi karaayenge."
Bua looked at the duo helplessly. Armaan indicated that he would handle it.
"Theek hai bhai! Ab agar tum nahi karaana chaahte, toh mat karao. Par phir tumlogon koi chocolates aur ice cream nahi milegi", Armaan told the kids.
"Kaunsi chocolates or ice cream?" Gappu asked.
"Woh Yuvi bhaiya aur Naina didi haina? Woh bohot bohot bohot saari chocolates laaye hain. Aur unhone bataya mujhe, ki jo bachche unke paas check up karaayenge, unhe chocolates denge. Aur shaam ko ice cream khilaane le jaayenge. Haina Yuvi?" Armaan asked, turning to him, gesturing him to say yes.
Yuvi looked confused for a second, but seeing the look on Armaan's face, replied in affirmative.
"Aap achche se karoge na? Zyada dard toh nahi hoga?" one of the kids asked Naina.
"Arre nahi! Hum ekdum dhyaan se karenge. Bilkul bhi dard nahi hoga tumhe, pakka promise", Naina replied, pinching her throat.
"Theek hai, main aapse apna check up kara lungi."
Naina smiled widely.
Armaan pulled Yuvi aside and took him to his room, handing him a huge bag of chocolates. "Mujhe pata tha, yeh bachche nakhre karenge tum dono se check up karaane mein. Isliye ye laya tha", he said gesturing to them.
Yuvi smiled, accepting them. They made their way back outside where Riddhima was guiding Naina through the basics.
Armaan did the same to Yuvi and then they got to work. Between the four of them, the check ups were getting done pretty fast.
In the afternoon, Bua broke the session up and called everyone in for lunch.
"Bachchon, khaana khaane se pehle apne haath dhona, theek hai?" She asked, to which all the kids nodded.
Armaan was made incharge of getting their hands washed as they couldn't do it properly on their own. Riddhima decided to take advantage of the fact and got in line with the kids.
Armaan who was busy looking only at the kids' hands didn't notice this. However, he was shocked when a familiar pair of hands forwarded themselves to be washed. He looked up to see Riddhima grinning at him. He smiled back and got lost in her eyes. They stared at each other, completely oblivious to the rest of their world, having a hundred silent conversations with each other. They were lost in their pretty little world that Riddhima didn't even realize when her clothes started getting wet. It was Gappu who pointed it out to her.
"Riddhima Didi, aapke kapde toh saare geele ho gaye. Lagta hai Armaan bhaiya ko aapka haath dhona achcha nahi laga!" he said cheekily.
It was then the two of them came out of their little bubble and noticed what was happening around them.
"Armaan!" Riddhima screeched. Her clothes had gotten completely wet.
"Sorry! Maine jaan boojhke nahi kiya", he said, trying to pacify her.
A silly idea made its way into her mind and se smirked at him. "Aise kaise, chalega. Ab tumne mere kapde gande kar diye. Toh main kya karu? Bachcha log, kyat ha woh word?"
Armaan quickly understood what was going on. He cowered and placed his hands in front of himself to protect himself.
The kids started chanting "Badlaa! Badlaa!" along with Riddhima. She took the pipe from the ground (it had fallen when Armaan put his hands in front of him) and aimed it at Armaan. All the while, Armaan just kept on mumbling apologies, begging Riddhima to stop. But it was of no use.
She aimed the pipe at him and sprayed the water at him. He tried to snatch the pipe from her, but she passed it on to Gappu and he turned on Armaan. Like this, all kids took turns wetting Armaan as he ran around the garden, trying to protect himself from the onslaught and trying to take the pipe out of their hands.
"Armaan! Riddhima!" Bua's voice called over all the noise. Everyone stopped immediately and turned to her.
"Bilkul nahi sudhroge dono ke dono. Tumlog yahaan ho toh mujhe aur bachchon ki toh zarurat hi nahi hai. Jao jaldi se kapde badalke aao dono", she scolded them.
Naina and Yuvi who had just come out of their rooms after freshening up were surprised to see them like this.
Armaan and Riddhima nodded like little kids and made their way to get changed.
The others gathered in the dining room for lunch.
Armaan came back quickly, all dry and changed. He made a beeline for Gappu and pulled him out. The two of them had a whispered conversation and then Gappu ran away. Armaan looked extremely pleased with himself for whatever it was he had done. He looked at the sky and smirked for a second before following Gappu in.
They didn't come back for sometime, but everyone rushed in when they heard Riddhima's surprised squeal. They reached to a completely wet Riddhima scowling at Armaan and Gappu who howled in laughter. Apparently, the two of them had emptied an entire bucketful of water on her when she came out of her room.
"Isse kehte hai badlaa, sweetheart", Armaan said smirking. He kissed her on the cheek and then made his way to the dining room.
"Chale?" he asked, "Bohot bhook lag rahi hai mujhe."
Riddhima sauntered in sometime later, decked in a pair of jeans and t - shirt that she had borrowed from someone at the orphanage. Armaan! That idiot! He had spoiled the clothes that she had been carrying.
"You!" she exclaimed, pointing at Armaan,"Tumhe toh main dekh lungi, Dr. Armaan Mallik. Mujhse panga lena bohot bhaari padega tumhe."
Then she proceeded to eat her lunch, as if nothing had happened. Armaan however was busy looking at her the whole time. He had never seen her in jeans before. She always wore Indian and on the off chance that they went out somewhere, she wore evening gowns. But he had never seen her wearing jeans before. And she looked so hot! The way the jeans hugged her curves was perfect. He couldn't take his eyes off of her.
"Arre Armaan! Tujhe khaana nahi hai kya? Abhi toh badi bhook lagi thi", Bua said, bringing him out of his thoughts.
"Haan! Kha raha hu Bua", he said quickly and looked down and started eating.
After lunch was over, the doctors got back to work.
The whole time, Riddhima didn't talk to Armaan unless it was related to work. Armaan was not liking this at all. He was roaming behind her trying to manaofy her but she would make faces and leave.
He got tired of this. So, in the evening after all the check ups were done, he creeped into Riddhima's room.
"Tum! Tum yahaan kya kar rahe ho? Mujhe tumse koi baat nahi karni!"
"Basket! Please, itna naaraaz kyu ho rahi ho?"
"Armaan! Tum mujhse pooch rahe ho ki main tumse naaraaz kyu hu? Matlab tum mujhpar paani ki poori bhari hui baalti ulat doge aur main tumse gussa bhi nahi houngi kya?"
"Par tumne mujhe pehle geela kiya tha pipe se!" Armaan said, scandalized.
"Haan! Toh tumne bhi toh mujhe geela kiya thana jab main haat dhulva rahi thi."
"Par maine jaan boojh kar nahi kiya tha. Aur maine tumhe sorry bhi bola. Phir bhi tumne mujhpe paani udaaya. Toh main kaise chup baith sakta hu", he said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Haan toh theek hai! Agar tumhe ye sab shaitani hi karni hai toh mujhe tumse koi baat nahi karni."
"That is not fair yaar Basket! Matlab jab tum mujhpar prank karo toh theek par main nahi kar sakta. Aisa kyu?"
"Woh sab jo bhi ho, mujhe tumse baat nahi karni, bas."
"Yaar tum hamesha itna bhaav kyu khati ho!?"
"Main! Main bhaav khaati hu?"
"Arre nahi nahi. Tum toh kabhi kuch nahi karti", he said as if he was talking to a little kid.
"Agar main itna hi bhaav khaati ho toh baat mat karo na. Kisne kaha hai tumse?"
"Haan haan theek hai. Nahi karni tumse koi baat."
Saying so, Armaan left the room. "Samajhti kya hai apne aap ko? Bas har baar main hi sorry bolu? Khud toh kabhi nahi kehti. Huh."
Later that evening, everyone was playing. Armaan and Yuvi were teaching the kids how to play basketball and Naina was playing hide and seek with some of the others.
Riddhima was sitting and watching them play. "Kitne khush haina sab bachche?" Bua asked her, coming and sitting beside her.
"Haan. Hain toh sahi. Aaj yahaan aakar bohot achcha laga Bua. Aapko aur baaki bachchon ko maine bohot miss kiya."
"Humne bhi tujhe bohot miss kiya. Jab tu aur Armaan yahaan aate ho na, bachchon ko bohot achcha lagta hai. Bohot pyaar karte hain tum dono se."
"Hume bhi yahaan bohot achcha lagta hai Bua."
"Tu yahaan akele kyu baithi hai? Tujhe nahi khelna kya? Waise toh kabhi kisi aur ko basketball choone bhi nahi deti."
"Woh Armaan khel raha haina. Isliye." She said making a face. She was still mad at him.
"Ab Armaan khel raha hai toh kya hua? Tu nahi khel sakti kya?"
"Mujhe na, us Armaan ke saath khelne mein koi interest nahi hai."
"Riddhi! Tu bhi na? Kyu nahi khelna uske saath?"
"Kyu matlab? Aapko yaad haina usne aaj subah kya kiya tha?"
"Haan, mujhe yaad hai usne kya kiya tha. Aur tune kya kiya tha woh bhi."
Riddhima just stuck her tongue out.
"Itne bade ho gaye ho phir kaise bachchon ki tarah ladte rehte ho har samay. Padma kaise sambhaalti hai tum dono ko mujhe toh yeh hi nahi samajh aa raha."
"Mumma bhi na hamesha Armaan ki hi side leti hai, jaise aap le rahe ho. Laadla hai unka." Riddhima said, making a face.
"Woh hai hi aisa."
"Bas Armaan jaisa. Uske jaisa aaj tak maine koi aur doosra ladka nahi dekha. Aisa lagta hai jaise koi jaadu hai usme, jo doosre uske paas khiche chale aate. Bachchon se leke badon tak, sabko apni baaton aur apni harkaton se jeet leta hai. Jahaan jaata hai khushiyaan aur hasi bikher deta hai. Bohot pyaara bachcha hai."
"Woh toh hai. Hospital mein bhi sabke favourite toh Dr. Armaan hi hai", Riddhima said, feeling proud of him. It meant a lot to her that Bua thought so highly of him.
"Tu bohot lucky hai Riddhima, ki tujhe Armaan jaisa ladka mila. Bohot pyaar karta hai tujhse, tujhe hamesha khush rakhega."
"Jaanti hu, Bua. Jab tak Armaan hai mujhe kisi baat ki koi chinta nahi hai."
"Jaanti hai toh phir itna ladti kyu hai?"
"Achcha, sirf main ladti hu, woh nahi ladta kya?"
"Haan, par shuru toh tu hi karti haina?"
"Main? Main shuru karti hu?"
"Aur nahi toh kya. Dekha maine aaj. Us bechaare ne galti se tere kapde thode geele kya kar diye, tune toh usse nehla hi diya."
"Toh usne bhi mujhpar paani daala na baadme. Hisaab baraabar."
"Hisaab baraabar toh phir baat kyu nahi kar rahi?"
"Bua aap rehne dona. Mera aur Armaan ka aise hi chalta rehta hai. Jab tak hum ladte nahi hai toh chain nahi aata."
"Par beta aise itna nahi ladna chahiye. Tum dono aise har baat pe jhagdo ge toh dheere dheere aadat lag jaayegi. Phir kahin tum sirf ladte na reh jao."
"Bua aap chinta kyu kar rahi hai? Aisa kuch nahi hoga. Aur hum bas aise hi ladte hai. Koi serious baat nahi hai."
"Lekin Riddhi phir bhi..."
"Bua! Aap bekaar fikr kar rahi hai. Yeh saari ladayiyaan, jhagde, yeh sab toh humaara pyaar jataane ka tareeka hai."
"Aise batate ho ek doosre ko?"
"Haan. Ab humaare rishte ki shuruaat aise hi hui thi na. Aapko pata hai, agar main Armaan se nahi ladti hu toh usse lagta hai ki usne koi galti kar di hai ya main kisi wajah se usse naaraaz hu."
They were talking when a ball hit Riddhima's head.
"Bull's eye!" Armaan shouted. "Can we have the ball please?"
Riddhima turned around and saw him sporting a huge smirk.
She walked to the place that they were playing and said, "Coach badal lo, faayde mein rahoge."
Armaan made a dismissive gesture and asked, "Oh really?"
In answer she just made a 3 point basket.
Yuvi was impressed. He didn't know that Riddhima could play that well. So he started clapping. "Thanks, Yuvi," Riddhima said, taking a dramatic bow.
"Ek match toh banta hai," Gappu said," Armaan bhaiya v/s Riddhima didi."
Riddhima raised her eyebrows at Armaan in question. He made a Bring It On' gesture, but on the inside, he was worried. It was obvious that she would win and then all his reputation would go down the drain in front of these kids.
"Main khel toh leta, but Riddhima ko chot lagi hai," he said as he remembered that she had twisted her ankle in the morning.
Thank God, he thought, nahi toh aaj sabke saamne meri izzat ka kachraa hi ho jaata.
"Mujhe dard nahi ho raha hai ab. Main khel sakti hu," she said. That was true. The sprain wasn't that bad. It was just that Armaan & Rahul had blown it out of proportion. Sure it was hurting in the beginning, but now she barely felt the pain.
"Haan. Aaj toh ho hi jaaye," Gappu said, egging everybody on.
"Abbe oyye! Sabke same kyu mera kachraa karne pe tulaa hua hai?" Armaan asked Gappu pulling him aside.
"Arre! Aap darte kya ho? Hero ho Hero. Kabhi toh Hero ki tarah behave kara karo."
"Jab Riddhima inn sab bachchon ke saamne mujhe haraa degi na, toh main Hero se Zero bann jaunga. Samjha tu?"
"Kya hua? Darr gaye kya?" Riddhima's voice came from the other side.
Armaan looked up and gave her an arrogant smirk. "Armaan Mallik kisise nahi darta," he said with a lot of confidence, jabki andar se toh solid phat rahi thi janaab ki.
As he tentatively made his way to the playground, Riddhima's phone started ringing.
"Sorry, tumhe baad mein haraana padega," saying so Riddhima moved away to attend the call.
Armaan breathed a sigh of relief and thanked his lucky stars that the call came at the exactly correct moment.
Riddhima moved away from the others and went into a secluded corner to answer the call. Everyone was making too much of noise to be able to hear on the phone.
"Hi Di," she answered.
"Ridzy..." Anjali said, her voice tight.
"Kya hua, Di?" Riddhima asked, immediately sensing something was wrong from her tone.
"Ridzy, tere aur Rahul ke beech mein kuch baat hui hai kya?"
"Mere aur Rahul ke beech?"
"Kya baat hui hai?"
"Matlab, tum dono ka jhagda hua hai kya?"
"Nahi, Di. Abhi dopahar ko meri usse baat hui thi, tab toh humaare beech koi jhagda nahi hua."
"Uske baad?"
"Nahi, tab se lekar ab tak maine Rahul se baat hi nahi ki. Di, kya hua hai? Aap yeh sab kyu pooch rahe ho?" she asked, getting worried.
"Riddhima... woh... "
"Kya hua? Please bataiye mujhe."
"Riddhima, woh, woh actually..." Anjali couldn't bring herself to say the words out loud.
"Di, aap aise stammer kyu kar rahi hai? Mujhe darr lag raha hai. Please bataiye kya hua?"
"Ridzy, Rahul ghar chodke chala gaya," Anjali finally said.
"What?" Riddhima shouted.
"Haan, woh... pata nahi kya hua usse achaanak. Subah se sab kuch theek tha. Tere jaane ke baad woh ghar aaya, Mom - Dad se mila. Unse bohot baatein ki. Phir apna saara saamaan rakhne chala gaya. Hum sabke saath baith kar lunch bhi kiya. Bohot excited lag raha tha. Sanjeevani join karne ke baare mein Dad se baat kar raha tha. Phir lunch ke baad kuch time ke liye rest karne gaya. Shaam ko bhi theek hi lag raha tha. Phir pata nahi achaanak kya hua usse..." she trailed off.
"Di, kuch hua tha kya? Lunch ke waqt ya phir jab woh Mumma aur Papa se baat kar raha tha?"
"Nahi, wohi toh main tujhe bata rahi hu. Woh bilkul normal tha, tab tak, jab tak maine use..." Anjali stopped talking when she remembered.
Rahul had asked about Riddhima's files from the time she was getting treated in London. Yeah, that was it. Anjali had told him about the drawer and then left the room. It was sometime later that he had stormed out. With the flurry of activities and hysteria that followed Rahul's departure, she had forgotten about it.
"Jab tak aapne usse kya? Kya hua tha Di?" Riddhima asked, her voice shaking.
"Ridzy, usne tere reports maange the, London waale, shayad Aunty ko kuch check karna tha. Toh maine usse bata diya, ki kahaan rakhe hain."
Riddhima paled on hearing this. She knew why he had left.


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