Sunday, 3 September 2017

chapter 9 : I'll Love You Longer Than Forever - AR FF


That night, Riddhima came home deep in thought. She was thinking about Armaan's demand from the morning. He wanted her to take him out on a date. Of all things he could have asked for, Riddhima had definitely not seen that coming. She thought he would have asked her for a kiss or a number of kisses for some time or maybe that she didn't complain when he tried to get some alone time with her or she let him romance her all the time, whenever he wanted. Definitely not this.

Granted, the things he had said were true. In the 4 years of their relationship, she hadn't taken him out on a date. Hell, she hadn't given him a decent gift or a surprise in their time together. But, in her defense, it was her first relationship and she had known jack about boys before she met Armaan. Armaan had been the experienced one. He knew all the ways to make a girl swoon and fall for him. He knew that he should give her gifts and surprise her and take her out on dates. Though, their dates before had never gone well, landing them in prison cells. But that was not the case now. The dates that they had been on recently had been nothing short of amazing.
They had gone to various different restaurants and sampled a variety of food, ranging from Chinese to Continental to Russian and Mexican. They would order different things and share and discuss their opinion on the taste and texture of the food as if they were professional chefs. Sometimes, they went for movies. They alternated in various genres, trying something new. Riddhima had formed a liking to suspense thriller movies - much to her surprise while Armaan loved horror movies, more because of the fact that Riddhima clung to him tightly throughout the movie than anything else. They took long drives and walked along the beach, talking about everything under the sun. Sometimes they ate at the stalls and thelas on the road.
Apart from all the clich dates that they had been on, Armaan sometimes took her on out of the box dates. He took her to the reading of one of her favourite authors once. She was a romance novelist and talked about love. Though the session had been too girly and sappy for Armaan's liking, he had loved Riddhima's reaction to it. They went bungee jumping and go - karting and paintballing once. Riddhima totally kicked Armaan's ass at go - karting and paintballing, while he thawed her at bungee jumping. Armaan even taught Riddhima to ride a bike on her insistence. He was surprised at first and refused, thinking it would be too dangerous for her, but in the end he finally gave in due to her persistence.
They even went clubbing on some occasions. Though Riddhima didn't particularly like the loud music, she knew Armaan loved to go there. He had given up so much for her - so many of his habits and his interests for her. It was the least she could do for him. So once in a while, she would insist they go clubbing. After a few visits, she got used to the music and found it tolerable. Armaan saw right through her though, so he would insist they leave after some time knowing that she waouldn't let him leave immediately and guilt trip him into staying somehow.
Off all the dates they had been on, Riddhima loved it when they stayed in. Especially at Armaan's. He would tinker with his guitar and sing for her. His voice was absolutely magical.
Riddhima was lost in her own world, thinking about Armaan and his voice, when Anjali's voice brought her out of her reverie.
"Ridzy!" She called out.
"Hi Di."
"Kya soch rahi hai? Armaan ke baare mein?" Anjy asked in a teasing tone.
Riddhima blushed, causing Anjy to smirk and tease her some more.
After a short teasin session, Riddhima got irriated. "Bas Di! Kyu pareshaan kar rahe ho mujhe?"
"Achcha theek hai. Main tujhe pareshaan nahi karti. Let's talk. Main jabse aayi hu, humne achche se baat hi nahi ki hai!"
"I know Di. Aur I'm sorry. Woh Armaan ka stupid prank. Aapko apna kaam wagerah chodke aana pada."
"Arre nahi! Armaan ko mat bataana, but I'm really happy ki usne aise kiya. I mean of course, I would have been better agar mujhe woh 24 hours nahi sochna padta ki Atul ko kuch hua hai, but I'm really glad that I came home. Maine sabko bohot zyada miss kiya. It feels so good to be home."
"Awww, Di! I missed you, too! And I'm so happy ki aap yahaan ho", Riddhima said, hugging Anjy tightly.
"Toh wahaan sab kaisa hai? Are you liking it in LA? How are the people there?" Riddhima fired questions at her sister.
So for the next hour, Anjy told Riddhima about her life in LA. She told her how much she liked working at the hospital and about the friends she had made. She told Riddhima that she liked her independence. When Riddhima asked her if she had any boyfriend, Anjali nodded a no, blushing slightly, saying that boys there were hopeless and were only after one thing. Riddhima had a slight inkling as to why Anjy was blushing - *cough* Atul *cough* - but didn't press the issue.
"Chal bohot ho gaya mere baare mein. Apne baare bata. Armaan aur tere beech mein sab theek haina?"
Riddhima blushed again. "Haan, Di. Everything is great. Main bohot khush hu Armaan ke saath."
"Tune usse itni jaldi maaf kar diya?"
"Maaf karne ke liye pehle usse koi galti bhi karni padegi Di", she explained.
"Oh come on, Ridzy! Woh tujhe chodke chala gaya tha. Isse badi kya galti ho sakti hai?"
"Woh sach much mein mujhe chodkar nahi gaya tha Di. Woh isliye gaya tha, taaki main apni life mein koi compromise na karu uski wajah se. Kyuki woh nahi chaahta tha ki uski bimaari ki wajah se mujhe koi pareshaani ho."
"Par phir bhi, woh 10 mahine jo tune uske bina guzaare? Kitne dard aur takleef mein. Aise time pe jab tujhe uski sabse zyada zarurat thi, tab woh nahi tha tere saath."
"Haan, Di. Woh nahi tha, par uska pyaar har pal mere saath tha. Aapko pata hai, maine kabhi nahi socha tha ki koi mujhse itna pyaar karega ki woh meri khushi ke liye apna sab kuch chod dega. Har pal ghut - ghut kar jeeyega sirf isliye kyuki usse lagta hai ki uske ye karne se main khush hu."
"Ridzy..." Anjie didn't know what to say.
"Sahi hi toh hai, Di. Armaan ka nervous breakdown ho raha tha. Papa ne usse kaha tha ki woh kuch mahino mein apni mental stability kho dega. Aur phir usse pata tha ki mere spine ke theek hone chances zyada nahi hai. Woh jaanta tha, ki sach jaanne ke baad main usse kabhi nahi chodungi. Par woh yeh bhi jaanta tha ki uska khayal rakhne mein main khudka khayaal nahi rakh paungi. Isliye woh jhooth bolkar chala gaya, taaki main usse nafrat karne lagu. Aur uske bina apni zindagi mein aage badh jau. Par woh kaise bhool gaya, ki Armaan aur Riddhima ek doosre se alag nahi hain? Woh dono toh do jism ek jaan haina? Usse kya laga, main usse aise hi jaane dungi? Woh mera Armaan hai, sirf mera. Aur usse kis cheez ke liye maaf karu? Mujhse itna pyaar karne? Apne se zyada mere baare mein sochne? Maaf karne ke liye koi galti hi nahi hai, Di."
Anjy was stunned. She didn't know what to say. She knew that Armaan & Riddhima's love was deeper than what she could comprehend. But she didn't know that their feelings ran so deep. She didn't know that Riddhima could forgive Armaan so easily. And when Riddhima put it that way, she couldn't believe that Armaan gave up his life for Riddhima's happiness. They were truly a different kind of couple. One that came along once in a lifetime. The love, devotion, adoration and repsect that they had for each other was truly reverential. It was great to see that people could still love so completely, wholly and selflessly.
"Di? Kya soch rahe ho?" Riddhima's voice brought Anjy to the present.
"Kuch nahi. Bas tere aur Armaan ke baare mein soch rahi thi. Tum dono bohot lucky ho Ridz."
"Haan. Woh toh hai."
"Achcha yeh bata. Tu khush haina? Mera matlab Armaan tujhse achche se behave karta haina? And you guys are happy right?"
"Haan, Di! I'm very happy. Armaan toh mera itna khayal rakhta hai jitna mumma ne bhi nahi rakha ho. Maine theek se khaana khaya ya nahi, time pe soyi thi ya nahi, hospital mein zyada stress toh nahi le rahi? Har cheez ka dhyaan rakhta hai woh", Riddhima said, smiling dreamily as she recollected all the incidents when Armaan had put his foot down when he thought that what she was doing wasn't good for her. She loved that he was so protective of her.
"Wow! That's great Ridzy! I'm so happy for you."
"Thanks Di! I'm happy for me too!"
The two sisters hugged each other tightly. "I'm really very happy for you Ridzy", Anjali mumbled, kissng Riddhima's head, like she used to do since they were kids.
"Mujhe pata hai, Di. Thank you so much. Aur ab agar meri Di meri khushi mein nere saath nahi hogi toh kaun hoga?!"
"I love you Ridzy."
"I love you, too, Di."
Anjali questioned Riddhima about her and Armaan for some more time, before Riddhima asked her for advice.
"Di... actually mujhe aapki thodi help chahiye thi."
"Haan, bolna."
"Actually, mujhe na Armaan ko date pe le jaana hai. Toh main confused hu, ki karu kya? Main aaj tak kabhi kisiko date pe leke nahi gayi hu na!"
"Wait... wait, wait, wait! Tu aur Armaan almost 4 saal se saath ho, right?" - Seeing her nod, Anjali continued - "Aur tu abhi tak usse date pe nahi leke gayi?"
"Diii!!! Yeh date pe le jaana wagerah Armaan hi karta hai hamesha. Mujhe nahi pata na is sab ke baare mein kuch."
"Toh ab tak nahi leke gayi toh abhi kyu le jaana chaahti hai?"
"Woh Armaan ki demand hai. Main usse bet haar gayi na. Toh ab mujhe usse date pe leke jaana padega, as his prize."
"Wait? Tum logon ki kis baat par bet lagi thi? Aur winner ka prize date? Seriously?"
"Nahi Di! Prize date nahi thi. It was decided ki winner loser ko kuch bhi karne bol sakta hai. Aur phir Armaan jeet gaya" - she made a face - "Toh usne mujhe kaha ki main usse date pe leke jau. You know, kyuki 4 saal mein main usse ek bhi baar nahi leke gayi, but woh mujhe bohot baar leke gaya hai."
"Nice. Armaan is really smart haan, Ridzy. Kaise tujhse aise ulte seedhe kaam karwa raha hai!" Anjali said, smirking.
"Wahi toh! Yeh Armaan na, bilkul paagal hai! Kuch normal karne nahi bol sakta tha kya? Jaise ki Basket 1 week tak meri coffee tum banaogi' ya Basket tumhe meri night duty karni padegi'!"
Hearing Riddhima, Anjali burst out laughing.
"Kya hua? Aap mujhpe has kyu rahe ho?"
"Agar tune sunaa hota tu kya keh rahi hai, toh tujhe bhi aise hi hansi aati!"
"Kya? Kya kaha maine? Pehle jab hum bets lagate the, Armaan aisa sab hi karne bolta than a. Toh ab nahi bol sakta tha?"
"Haan, kehta tha. Lekin meri pyaari Ridzy... Tab mein aur ab mein fark hai. Ab Armaan sirf tera dost nahi, tera boyfriend bhi hai. Pata haina tujhe? Toh obviously, agar aisi koi bet lagegi, toh woh tujhse kuch romantic cheez hi karne kahega na? And I think ki Armaan is right. Saara effort woh kyu le? Teri bhi kuch responsibility banti hai. And I think ki agar tu Armaan ke liye kuch special karegi toh tujhe bhi achcha lagega. Jaise Armaan ko achcha lagta hai, tere liye kuch karke."
"Baat toh sahi hai, Di. Par main karu kya? Aise saare romantic ideas toh sirf Armaan ke dimaag mein hi aati hai!"
Riddhima didn't let Anjy know, but truth to be told, she was really nervous about the whole date ordeal. She didn't have any experience on such things. She was afraid that she would screw up somehow. Armaan always planned spectacular and meaningful dates for them. What if she couldn't be as good as him? What if he didn't like what she had done? What if he was disappointed?
Riddhima was terrified of this. She wouldn't be able to bear it Armaan was disappointed by what she did. She would die, if he didn't like what she had done.
"Kya hua? Tu kya soch rahi hai? Main akele hi jabse bol rahi hu. Tu meri baat sunn bhi rahi hai?" Anjali asked, shaking Riddhima's shoulder to bring her out of her stupor.
"Di agar Armaan ko pasand nahi aaya toh?" Riddhima asked like a scared kid.
"Kya pasand nahi aaya toh?"
"Jo bhi maine date ke liye plan kiya, agar Armaan ko pasand nahi aaya, toh main kya karungi? Main nahi sehan kar paungi, agar usse pasand nahi aaya toh."
"Riddhima! Tu paagal ho gayi hai kya? Tu kuch kare aur Armaan ko pasand na aaye? Aise ho hi nahi sakta. Agar teri date pe, tum dono bas yahaan baithkar ek doosre ko dekhte rahoge na, toh Armaan ko teri date apni plan ki hui hazaaron dates se better lagegi. Woh tujhse pyaar karta hai, usse nahi farak padta ki tu kya kar rahi hai. Woh tujhse ye bas isliye kara raha hai kyuki woh special feel karna chahta hai."
"Special?"
"Haan, I'm sure ki tu usse din mein bohot baar bolti hogi ki tu usse pyaar karti hai, par kya tune kabhi usse dikhaaya hai? Matlab out of the way jaakar uske liye kuch special kiya hai?"
Seeing Riddhima's face was enough for Anjali to know that she had never done something like that.
"Ridzy, tu poori paagal hai. Tune uske liye aaj tak kuch nahi kiya? Koi overboard surprise? Koi expensive gift?"
Riddhima shook her head.
"Kyu? Armaan toh tujhe har waqt gifts deta rehta hai, tere liye kuch na kuch surprise plan karta rehta hai."
"Haan, karta hai, par maine usse kabhi nahi kaha yeh sab karne. In fact main toh usse kehti hu ki woh yeh sab na kare. Mujhe iski koi zarurat nahi hai!"
"Riddhima, baat woh nahi ki tu kya feel karti hai. Is relationship mein tu aur Armaan dono ho. Tune kabhi socha ki tere manaa karne ke baad bhi Armaan yeh sab kyu karta hai?"
"Kyuki usse yeh sab karna achcha lagta hai."
"Exactly! Kyuki usse yeh sab karna achcha lagta hai. Lekin tune yeh samajhne ki koshish ki usse yeh sab kyu achcha lagta hai?" - seeing her clueless face, Anjali continued - "Kyuki woh yeh sab tere liye karta hai. Woh tujhe apne shabdo se hi nahi, balki apni harkaton se, apne actions se yeh bataana chaahta hai ki woh tujhse kitna pyaar karta hai. Aur isliye woh chaahta hai ki tu bhi uske liye aisa kuch kare. Samjhi?"
"Really? Armaan yeh sab isliye kar raha hai?"
"Aur nahi toh kya?! Riddhima, woh kabhi kuch kehta nahi hai, iska yeh matlab nahi hai ki woh kuch nahi chaahta ya expect karta tujhse. Tu usse har baar kehti haina, ki usse tere liye yeh saare surprises plan karne ki zarurat nahi hai, lekin phir bhi, jab woh aisa sab karta hai, toh tujhe achcha kyu lagta hai?"
"Kyuki jab woh mere liye kuch aisa karta hai, toh mujhe bohot special feel hota hai, jaise ki main uski zindagi mein sabse alag hu. Sabse important", Riddhima said, as realization hit her.
"Right. Aur jab tujhe lagta hai ki tu uski life mein sabse zyada important hai, toh tujhe kaisa lagta hai?"
"Mujhe aisa lagta hai ki main uski life mein sabse special hu. Aur woh is duniya mein sabse zyada mujhse pyaar karta hai. Aur jab woh feeling aati hai, toh kuch aur maayne nahi rakhta. Main Armaan ki life mein sabse zyada important insaan hu, yeh janne ke baad kisi baat se farak nahi padta. Aur mujhe aisa lagta hai, jaise ki ab woh mere saath hai, toh main kuch bhi kar sakti hu. Aur jaisa main tab feel karti hu, waisa main kabhi aur nahi karti."
"Apne har sawaal ka jawaab tune khud de diya Ridzy. Armaan bhi waise feel karna chaahta hoga, jaise tu karti hai, har baar jab woh tere liye kuch special karta hai, isliye woh chaahta hai ki ab tu uske liye kuch special kare. Samjhi, meri bholi si Ridzy?"
Riddhima nodded.
"Good. Ab mujhe neend aa rahi hai, toh is baare mein baadme baat karenge. Tujhe kuch bhi help chahiye ho toh mujhe bol dena. Theek hai?"
"Good night Di", Riddhima said, hugging her sister.
"Good night."
They both changed and settled in bed for the night. While Anjali dozed off almost immediately, sleep was miles away from Riddhima's mind. She was contemplating her entire conversation with Anjali. What Anjali had said was right. Whenever Armaan did something for her, the feeling she had wasn't easily described in words. He just made her feel so special, and loved, and cherished. The warmth that spread through her on knowing that this amazing man loved her so much was unlike anything she had ever experienced.
And, love couldn't always be expressed in just words. It was necessary to show it. Just saying you loved someone didn't necessarily mean that it was true. But, when you showed someone you loved them, it was much more believable. As they said - Actions speak louder than words.
It was about time that Riddhima incorporated that saying into her life. She had decided. She would show Armaan how much she loved him, not just say it.

xxx
Prags,

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