Wednesday, 27 September 2017

PART 26:Ehsaas


Armaan got up early and was ready before Riddhima was out of bed.

"Aaj itni jaldi kaise jaa rahe ho? Mere goodmorning kiss ka bhi wait nahi kiya?" Riddhima stretched herself as she got out of bed

Armaan put the last knot on his tie and came and sat next to her, "Sorry Riddhima….wish me luck today…..aaj main apna pehla badhaa case karne jaa raha hoon….and that too for a celebrity!"

Riddhima rested her head on his shoulder, "mujhey tum par poora vishwaas hai…..I am sure you will do your best…..yeh mat sochna ki wo koi VIP patient hai….just treat them like anyone else and you will be fine……jaane se pehle kuch khaa jao," she got up and tied her hair into a bun and yawned.

Armaan got up and kissed her cheek, "You are right Riddhima! I will just treat her like an ordinary person…..not as a VIP! By the way, aaj breakfast ka time nahin hai…..I will see you in the evening…..aur yaad rakhna aaj 7 baje Abhimanyu aa raha hai…OK?"

"Kya pasand karta hai tumhara dost?" Riddhima asked as she walked towards the bathroom.

"Ladkiyan!" Armaan chuckled as he saw a shocked expression on Riddhima's face, "just kidding Riddhima! He is a very good friend and a helpful guy……kuch bhi banaa dena….he is not finicky about his food…..yes he is finicky about cars and motorbikes…..see you later jaan!" Armaan picked his bag and rushed out.

Armaan crossed the street and walked a block to reach the surgery center. He had purposely rented an apartment close to work, so he would not waste anytime commuting. In fact, he had not even purchased a car yet, but was seriously thinking of buying one, now that Riddhima was here.

"Good morning sir!" His nurse greeted him as he scrubbed in for the surgery.

"Good morning sister! Kya Ms Rai aa gayi hain?" Armaan asked as he rinsed his hands

"Jee sir! Dr Tripathi ne unhey anaesthesia bhi de diya hai….she is ready sir!" the nurse answered

Armaan was relieved and thought, "thank God! Now I can concentrate on my job and not have to face that woman!" There was something about Anjali that made him uneasy; she disturbed his inner peace and calm whenever she came in front of him. The incident at her house had really created a lot of turmoil inside him-thank God Riddhima was here now-Riddhima had a very calming effect on Armaan; anytime he was distressed, he just had to bury himself in Riddhima's lap and things always fell in place.

As Armaan picked up his scalpel to make an incision on Anjali's face, he had a devilish thought, "what if I botch this one up? Then she will never trouble me again!" He shook his head and thought, "kya soch raha hai Armaan? Your reputation and career rests on the outcome of this case……apne kaam mein dhyaan do….bhool jao yeh superstar Anjali Rai hai!"

The surgery went off smoothly and Armaan was pleased with the end result of her 'nose job,' although it was still too early to tell how her nose would look when all her incisions and bruises had healed up after the surgery. That could take a few weeks.

Armaan left the OR with Anjali under the care of the nurses and anesthesiologist.

He was relieved that everything went off smoothly, and his glamorous patient was unable to distract him today.


The doorbell went off around 6.30pm.

"Armaan hoga!" Riddhima said to herself, as she was half way through kneading the dough for dinner. She was wearing a yellow suit with the dupatta tied around her waist; her hair was loosely tied in a bun with her tendrils falling on her face; her hands were smeared with the dough.

She ran to the door and wiped her smeared hand on her forehead to reach the doorknob, " Apni chaabhi phir bhool gaye kya?" she spoke loudly, almost in an irritated voice.

She was startled when she saw a well-dressed stranger at the door, "Hi! I am sorry, I did not realize I am supposed to have a key to your apartment." The beautiful lady in front of him-her slightly disheveled look added to her charm- entranced Abhimanyu. Her long neck with sweat beads, the open buttons of her kurta revealing her deep neckline and her face powdered in places with the dough made her look really enchanting!

"Oh…I am sorry….aap Abhimanyu hain?" Riddhima hesitated as her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. She untied her dupatta from her waist and covered her bare neck and chest with it.

"That is right! I am sorry, I got here a little early," Abhimanyu was startled out of his trance; he handed a bouquet of flowers to Riddhima, "yeh aapke liye….maine Armaan se poocha tha ki aapko kya pasand hai…..usney kaha PHOOL! So here you go!"

"Thanks….bahut sunder hai….aap please andar aa jaaiye….Armaan aata hi hoga….please have a seat," Riddhima shut the door behind him.

Abhimanyu looked around at the tastefully decorated living room, "I had no idea Armaan had such good taste!" he gave a slanting glance at Riddhima as he admired his friend's wife.

"Aap shayad Armaan ko jaante nahin…..wo chupa rustam hai," Riddhima chuckled, "aap kuch lenge? Thanda ya garam?" she relaxed a little now as Abhimanyu seemed to have settled himself comfortably in the living room.

"Nahin….Armaan ko aane do….lagta hai aap cooking kar rahi thi," Abhimanyu followed Riddhima to the kitchen, "can I help?"

"No thanks! Aap please baithiye….I am almost done…..main zara change karke aati hoon," Riddhima rinsed her hands in the sink and left to freshen up.

She was a little embarrassed that Armaan's friend found Riddhima in such a state, but she reassured herself, "Armaan ka achha dost hai tho samajh jaayega."

She changed into a pink churidaar suit; left her hair open, the way Armaan preferred, put on some light make-up and joined Abhimanyu in the living room.

Abhimanyu briefly looked up and was even more mesmerized by Riddhima's beauty. The pink color enhanced her peachy complexion and her loose hair with dangling earrings made her look even more attractive.

Riddhima offered him something to drink, but Abhimanyu pretended he was checking out some of the music CDs on the rack, "Yeh Armaan ko music ka kab se shauk ho gaya?"

"Oh…yeh….yeh meri collection hai…..Armaan ko time kahan ki wo music sune?" Riddhima said.

"OH! So you have an interest in music? I am also a musician," Abhimanyu smiled and looked at Riddhima.

"Really? Aap doctor nahin hain?" Riddhima was surprised

"Doctor tha! Lekin ab doctori chhod di… was too boring for a creative guy like me," Abhimanyu laughed

"Tho kis type ke musician hain aap?" Riddhima was curious and sat down on the sofa

Abhimanyu sat down across from her and said, "well….I am the lead guitarist in our band….abhi tho bahut naya hai…..par koshish hai ki aage jaakar apni khud ki music company kholein ya movies mein music provide karein….it's still in an early stage right now."

Riddhima was very fascinated now, "Jaante hain…mere papa bhi classical singer the… fact wo hamare local school mein bahut saalon tak music teacher bhi the."

"Oh yeah? Tab tho aap mein bhi kuch musical talent tho hoga!" Abhimanyu remarked

"Nahin ….aisi koi baat nahin hai," Riddhima replied modestly and stood up as the doorbell went off, "lagta hai Armaan aa gaya."

It was Armaan at the door.

"HEY ABHIMANYU! Aaj pehli baar kahin time se pahuncha hoga tu!" Armaan hugged and patted his friend as he entered the apartment.

Riddhima took Armaan's bag, "main abhi aayi…," she went to their bedroom and left the two friends alone.

As she was placing Armaan's bag in his closet, Armaan grabbed her from behind, "kahan bhaag rahi ho meri jaan?"

"Armaan! Tumhara dost bahar baitha hai…please chhodo!" Riddhima protested

"Kaise chhod sakta hoon? Itni pyaari lag rahi ho is pink mein aaj….chalo ek kiss de do, phir main bahar jaata hoon," Armaan brought his face closer.

"Kya baat hai? Lagta hai tumhara celebrity waala case theek thaak ho gaya….tabhi itna pyaar aa raha hai mujh par," a perceptive Riddhima said

"Kuch aisa hi samajh lo…I am definitely relieved….everything went well….," Armaan kissed her lips and said, "and now everything is super!" he pulled away and left for the living room.

Armaan remembered how rattled he was as he had left the clinic a few minutes ago. Anjali was being discharged after her anaesthesia had worn off, but as expected was being very demanding and insisted on having Dr Malik discharge her personally and take care of her that evening at her house.

Armaan was relieved when Dilip Modi had intervened and reassured Anjali that she did not need an in house doctor that night, and an experienced nurse was sent home with her just in case anything went wrong.

Armaan needed Riddhima to calm him down, so that is why he had followed her to the bedroom after he got home. Her touch and kiss made him feel much better as he took control of himself.

Riddhima joined the two men after a few minutes and was pleased to see Armaan bonding so well with his friend. Since she had known Armaan, she had not seen him interact with too many friends, barring Muskaan at their wedding.

Riddhima laid out the food on the dining table as the two men chatted and caught up.

"So Anjali Rai! Wow Armaan what a catch? If your surgery has gone well on her… will be the most popular plastic surgeon in town! She is HOT man!" Abhimanyu thumped Armaan's shoulder and back.

"Anjali Rai?" Riddhima thought to herself, "arre yeh tho Ooty mein bhi Armaan se ilaaj karwaa rahi thi….tho Armaan ka pehla badhaa case wo hi thi?"

"Yaar…aisa kuch nahin hai….i treat all my patients the same way…..whether they are a common man or a celebrity…I don't see a difference," Armaan said as he sipped his drink. Riddhima smiled to herself when she heard that statement.

"Yaar….abhi tho tu training mein hai…..when you start earning the real bucks….you will know the difference…TRUST ME!" Abhimanyu said

Riddhima intervened, "dinner is ready! Aap log baaki baatein table par kar lee jiye."

The men got up and joined Riddhima at the dining table

"Wow! Riddhima you are a great cook!" Abhimanyu complimented Riddhima's culinary skills, "You don't mind if I call you Riddhima?" he asked in the next breath

"Why would she mind? After all my friends are her friends now!" Armaan grinned at Riddhima and stroked her foot under the table with his bare foot.

Riddhima blushed as Armaan's foot played havoc with her foot and shin.

"Abhimanyu….aap mujhey Riddhima hi boliye…after all I am younger than you," Riddhima smiled and got up to get the dessert.

Armaan sighed, as his foot felt lonely under the dining table once again.

Abhimanyu's experienced eyes could tell that Armaan and Riddhima were very much in love with each other. Throughout the dinner, Armaan was more focused on his wife and had even accidentally caressed Abhimanyu's foot at one point!

After dinner, Abhimanyu suggested, "Riddhima…..I have heard you sing well….please can you sing a song?"

"Yeh aapko kisney kaha?" Riddhima was surprised

"Abi tho tum keh rahi thi ki tumhare papa singer the…..aur phir Armaan se poonch liya maine," Abhimanyu remarked

"Haan Riddhima….please aaj gaana suna do….bahut din ho gaye hain," Armaan pleaded

Riddhima stood near the window and played with the drapes, "main….main sirf apne liye aur…aur…"

"aur mere liye gaati ho!" Armaan got up from the couch and put his arm around her, "please mere liye hi gaa do," he whispered as his lips brushed against her ears.

Riddhima lowered her eyes and sang this beautiful song from "zubeida"- "dheeme dheeme"

Dheeme Dheeme Gaoon
Dheere Dheere Gaoon
Hole Hole Gaoon
Tere Liye Piya
Gun gun mai gaati jaoon
Chun Chun Payal Chankaoon
Sun Sun Kab Se Dohraoon
Piya Piya .

Gulshan Mehke Mehke
Ye Man Behke Behke
Aur Tan Dehke Dehke
Kyon hai bata piya
Man ki jo haalat hai ye
Tan ki jo rangat hai ye
Teri mohabbat hai ye
Piya piya piya
Gun gun main gaati jaoon .

Armaan walked towards the couch and pulled Riddhima on his lap. She put her arms around him and continued to sing as she looked into his eyes:

Zindagi mein tu aaya to
Dhoop Mein mila saaya to
Jaage naseeb mere o
Anhonee ko tha hona
Dhool ban gayi hai sona
Aake Kareeb tere o
Pyaar se mujhko tune chhua hai
Roop sunahara tab se hua hai
Kahoon aur kya tujhe mai piya o .

Tere nigahon mein hoon
Teri hi baho mein hoon
Khwabon ki rahon mein hoon
Piya piya piya .
Gun gun main gaati jaoon .

Abhimanyu felt a little out of place. He had been in and out of love many times, but had never seen anything that intense. Armaan was very much in love with his lovely wife and Riddhima worshipped the ground her husband walked on. Abhimanyu and Armaan had known each other for almost 9 years now; Abhimanyu had never seen Armaan as a competitor. Armaan was always miles ahead of Abhimanyu in class and accomplishments; he had even recommended Armaan's name to his dad for his clinic, but today he felt a little pang of jealousy when he saw Riddhima in Armaan's arms. That was not fair! Armaan could not have everything in life…..a great career, success and above all the most loving and beautiful girl he had ever seen. He had gone out with several women, but the love he saw in Riddhima's eyes for Armaan was unreal……it only existed in stories…….Armaan was one LUCKY GUY!!!

Maine jo khushi paayi hai
Jhoom ke jo rut aayi hai
Badle na rut vo kai o
Dil ke devta jo lage
Sar jhuka hai jiske aage
Tute na but vo kai o
Kitni hai meethi kitni suhani
Tune sunai hai jo kahani
Main jo kho gai, nai ho gai o
Aankhon mein taare chamke
Raaton mein jugnu damke
Mit gaye nishaan gam ke piya piya piya
Gun gun main gaati jaoon .

Abhimanyu stood up and applauded Riddhima's performance, "wow! Riddhima you are certainly modest… sing like a real professional!"

Riddhima came out of her trance as she was locked in Armaan's arms on his lap and lost in his eyes. She fumbled a little and got up, "Th…thanks…Abhimanyu… was just…just.."

"Outstanding!" Abhimanyu bowed in front of her and pulled out his wallet, "yeh mera card hai Riddhima…..we would love it if you joined our group as our lead female voice."

Armaan was pleasantly surprised, "that's great Riddhima! This would be perfect for you."

Riddhima looked at Armaan and stuttered, "A..Armaan….main professional singer nahin ban na chahti…..tum jaante ho main sirf shauk ke liye g..gaati hoon."

Armaan took the card from Abhimanyu, "theek hai Riddhima…..card tho rakh lo….you can always think about it."

Abhimanyu nodded his head, "yes, Riddhima…it is a standing offer….take your time……no pressure…..I think I should say a goodnight to the love birds…..thanks for the wonderful dinner Riddhima….i will see you around."

Armaan and Riddhima saw him off and shut the door behind them.

Armaan hugged Riddhima from behind, "I loved that song……tum sach much bahut achhi singer ho…..I think you should consider Abhimanyu's offer….waise bhi tum yahan ghar baithe kya karogi? Mera kaam tho dheere dheere badhta jaayega… can stay busy too."

Riddhima rested her head on his chest, "Armaan…..main bore nahin hongi…..main maa ban na chahti hoon….."

Armaan pulled back and looked at Riddhima, "Riddhima…..abhi…abhi nahin….I think we should wait a year or so…..tumhari health bhi theek ho jaayegi aur meri training bhi khatam ho jaayegi tab tak."

"Lekin Armaan…..main bachhe ko sambhaal loongi…..tum apne kaam par dhyaan dena……I won't bother you." Riddhima pleaded.

"Nahin Riddhima…it is not that easy……main bhi apne bachhe ke saath time spend karna chahta hoon, aur tum dono ko duniya ki saari khushiyan dena chahta hoon…..ek baar settle ho jaaye tho aasaan ho jaayega….let's wait a year….please?" Armaan kissed her forehead.

"Jaisa tum chaaho….," Riddhima replied softly; she knew Armaan was right to a certain extent-she had still not recovered physically from her last pregnancy-may be she was trying to replace her grief this way…..perhaps Armaan was right……like always she decided to comply with him and wait a year for now…….

…to be continued…..

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