Tuesday, 3 October 2017

PART 29: Ehsaas

The party continued into the wee hours of the morning. Riddhima nudged Armaan to leave several times, but he kept delaying their departure on one pretext or the other.

As the night progressed, the level of sobriety of the attendees kept decreasing by the hour, making Riddhima extremely impatient. She was appalled to see Armaan refilling his glass repeatedly and enjoying the attention being showered on him. She was happy for his success, but not at the way it was being presented to him.

"Lagta hai ghar jaana chaahti ho? I don't blame you….these society parties can be a big bore!" Abhimanyu came up to Riddhima, "if you want I can drop you back…Armaan can get a ride from someone later."

Riddhima looked at Abhimanyu strangely, "Nahin Abhimanyu! Aisi haalat mein main Armaan ko akela nahin chhod sakti….he will go home with me!"

"OH….got it….I know Armaan ko zyaada peene ki aadat nahin hai…..if you want I will drop both of you…..let me get him," Abhimanyu offered his help. Riddhima was grateful to him, "thanks Abhimanyu."

"Any time Riddhima," Abhimanyu smiled back and walked towards Armaan. The two men were soon walking back; Armaan with a slight stagger in his gait. Riddhima held Armaan's arm to keep him a little steady. Armaan just mumbled and talked jibberish as they walked to the car.

Abhimanyu helped Armaan get into the car and then drove them back to their apartment. Riddhima was ashamed to see Armaan in an inebriated state. She blamed herself for letting him go so far, "kaash maine Armaan se party mein hi kuch kahaa hota….aakhir main uski patni hoon….mera farz hai usey sahi raasta dikhaana."

Abhimanyu helped Armaan back to their apartment, "Goodnight Riddhima….chalo achha hai kal Sunday hai…..make a strong cup of coffee for him tomorrow morning…BYE!"

Riddhima thanked him again and closed the door behind her.

Armaan was already plunked in bed when Riddhima got back to their bedroom. She took his shoes and socks off and went to change into her nightclothes.

She came back and lay awake on her pillow for some time. The events of the party ran through her mind like a movie; she was still disturbed by the whole evening. She knew that being a good Plastic surgeon was Armaan's dream and as a wife she needed to support him in his endeavors, but she was not able to reconcile to the fact that it was important for him to network and hob knob with the rich and famous as part of his profession. Was this the way to achieve success? Is this what they had both dreamed of?

She felt an arm around her waist as Armaan came closer, "Hi jaan…itni door kyon so rahi ho?" his voice sounded slurred.

Riddhima turned her face away from the strong alcohol breath. Armaan placed his hand on her face and turned it towards him. He bent over to kiss her face, but Riddhima pushed him away, "Armaan…please stay away!"

Armaan was furious, "Riddhima! What do you mean? I am your husband damn it! You can't say no to me! All the ladies at the party would die for me, aur tum nakhare dikha rahi ho?"

Riddhima got out of bed in anger, "Armaan….haan main tumhari patni hoon par aisi halat mein tum mere paas bhi mat aao!"

Riddhima's words stung him a little; enough to shake off some of his stupor

Armaan realized that he was a little drunk; he smelt his breath and got up to brush his teeth. He came back after brushing his teeth and a rigorous mouth wash, a little more sober and ashamed of his behavior, "Riddhima! Riddhima! Kahan ho tum?" He found her asleep on the sofa in the living room. He tried to wake her up, but she just turned her face away from him, "please leave me alone!" she said, almost tearfully.

Armaan did not have much patience to cajole her at this hour of the night, "Fine!" he stomped back to their bedroom and shut the door behind him in anger.


Riddhima made a strong cup of coffee for Armaan and left it at his bedside. She did not wake him up in her usual way. She was still upset with him about getting drunk and then trying to force himself on her last night. She was a devoted wife, but her self-respect was more important to her than her dedication to her husband!

Armaan and Riddhima continued their cold war with each other all day. Both of them waited for the other to take the initiative. Armaan was annoyed and ashamed at the same time. He knew it was his fault, but his ego had suddenly become a little too big to apologize.

Being a Sunday, they had no choice but to give each other cold stares all day long. Armaan could not take it any longer and finally left for a walk. He was gone for 2-3 hours. Riddhima was a little worried about him, but her anger about last night was still fresh in her mind. She could tell that he was embarrassed about his behavior, but his pride was keeping him away from her. She continued with her housework routine as usual.

She heard him enter the apartment when she was folding the laundry.

She had her back turned to him as she put his clothes in the closet. She saw a hand with a rose in front of her. She tried to suppress her smile and pretended she had not seen the flower.

"Theek hai mujhse naaraz ho, par bechare rose ka kya gunah hai….is rose ne tho aaj paani bhi nahin piya, sharaab tho door ki baat hai," Armaan studied the slightly wilted rose.

Riddhima turned away without responding and walked towards the kitchen. Armaan followed her with the rose in his hand, "OK OK….please rose tho le lo…beshak is kaante ki taraf dekho bhi mat!" he pleaded.

Riddhima shook her head and giggled a little.

Armaan was elated to see some response from Riddhima. He ran towards her and stood in front of her, "I am really sorry about last night….I promise no more excessive drinking….tum chaaho tho bilkul sharaab bandh kar doonga….no social drinking either….par please mujhse naaraz mat ho…Basanti bolti hi achhi lagti hai."

"Tho Veeru se kaho, kal jaisi harkat kabhie na kare," she rolled her tongue and folded her arms in front of her chest.

"Veeru bahut sharminda hai, aur apni Basanti ko manaane ke liye aaj Chaupaati par bhel aur chaat khilaane le jaana chahta hai." He held his hand out for Riddhima.

Riddhima refused to take his hand and just turned around, "teekhi honi chaahiye!"

"Basanti se zyaada teekhi cheez tho bhagwan ne bhi nahin banaayi memsaab," Armaan laughed and put his arm around Riddhima.

Riddhima took the rose from him and placed it in a small vase with water, "theek hai chalo…par samajh lo main tumhare liye nahin, chaat ke liye jaa rahi hoon."

They both enjoyed their afternoon at the Chaupaati beach in Mumbai. They ate the spiciest bhel and chaat. Armaan's tongue was burning with all the spices, but Riddhima was unfazed. She wanted to eat some paani poori also.

They both found a paani poori stall and ordered a plate for her. Armaan had had enough of the hot and spicy stuff, but Riddhima had no problem.

Armaan enjoyed watching her gobble the big balls of paani poori in her tiny mouth.
As she put the last ball of paani poori in her mouth, Armaan pointed, "arre tumhari naak par kuch hai!"

Riddhima paused with the ball of paani poori still partially in her mouth. Armaan pounced on this opportunity and grabbed the other half from her mouth with his mouth and kissed her lips in the process. The hot spicy taste was soon diluted by the sweet taste of her mouth, "mmmm…..i like this paani poori….khatti meethi hai!," Armaan winked at her as he smacked his lips.

Riddhima shook her head, "Armaan..tum bhi na…..apni baaton se kisi ko bhi pataa lete ho…"

Armaan put his arm around Riddhima, "koshish tho karta hoon ki kum se kum ek ladki tho zindagi bhar pati rahe."

Riddhima could not help laughing and put her arm around his waist as they walked back.

They both reached home, having forgotten their little misgivings with each other. It was hard for Riddhima to resist Armaan's charm for too long. He had mastered the art of 'manaaofying' his wife.

"Accha yeh batao Riddhima, hamari 1 st wedding anniversary par kya karna hai?"
Armaan asked her as they entered the apartment.

"Kirtan!" she smiled mischievously and walked in.

"Kirtan? Yaani, patni pooja?" Armaan laughed and followed Riddhima inside.

Armaan could not wait to grab hold of Riddhima and take her to their bedroom.
"Abhi nahin Armaan…..mujhey bahut kaam hain ghar ke!" she protested

Armaan just lifted her on his shoulder and carried her inside despite her protests,
 "ab bhaagne ki koshsish bhi mat karna…pata hai na registaan mein paani ko dekh kar pyaase ka kya haal hota hai?"

Riddhima giggled, "yeh tho tumhare haath mein hai….tum chaho tho registaan mein reh sakte ho ya samundar mein."

Armaan replied back with his lips rather than words. Riddhima moaned with pleasure as the two lovers were engulfed in their passions once again.

After making love to her, Armaan whispered, "Riddhima…tum hamesha mere liye samundar hi ban kar rehna…."


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