Friday, 13 October 2017

PART 34: Ehsaas

Riddhima was extremely distraught when she got home. She ran to her bedroom and sobbed on her pillow for hours. She finally got up and wiped her swollen, red eyes. She washed her face, took a few deep breaths, and composed herself. She had half a mind to take the first train back to Ramgarh, but she was not escapist. She knew, if she went back, it would end up hurting a lot of people, including herself. She remembered Padma's advise, "beti yaad rakhna, ghar-grehsti mein utaar chadaav tho hote rehte hain, par us se darr ke kabhie bhaagna mat, unka saamna karna, aur yaad rakhna ki shaadi ke baad pati ka ghar hi sab kuch hai tere liye…."

As Riddhima was trying to sort out her thoughts, she remembered what Muskaan had said to her before her engagement to Armaan, "Armaan ko main bahut saalon se jaanti hoon. Wo dil ka bahut achha hai, par kabhie kabhie usey kai cheezon ka junoon sawaar ho jaat hai, tumhara kaam hai usey sahi raasta dikhana…."

Riddhima decided to run some errands and take her mind off the afternoon's events. She picked her grocery list and left the apartment.

Armaan got back a little later. He was horrified when he did not find Riddhima at home.

"Oh God! Kahan chali gayi Riddhima? Kahin naaraz ho kar bhaag tho nahin gayi?" he sank into the couch and buried his head in his hands, "yeh sab meri wajah se hua hai….I should have told her before." He was getting worried; he tried her mobile, but she had turned it off. She was in no mood to talk with anyone. He called Muskaan, but she was attending a delivery.

Armaan paced up and down the apartment, wondering where she could be. He heard the door unlock and saw Riddhima entering with some grocery bags. Armaan's face lit up and he ran forward to help her with the bags.

Riddhima just walked in without acknowledging him. She carried the bags to the kitchen, refusing to accept any help from him.

Armaan followed her to the kitchen, "main tho darr gaya tha, ki kahin tum….ki kahin tum…"

"Bhaag tho nahin gayi?" Riddhima asked sharply

"Kuch aisa hi darr tha mujhey.." Armaan said sheepishly.

"Dr Malik…..chote sheher ki ladkiyon ko sikhaaya jaata hai ki agar kisi se rishta joda hai tho nibhaana bhi aana chaahiye….IT IS YOUR BIG CITY GIRLS WHO RUN AWAY FROM COMMITMENT!" she gave him a scornful look.

Armaan lowered his eyes, "Main jaanta hoon maine tumhara dil dukhaaya hai Riddhima….par tum tho jaanti ho main gusse mein kabhie kabhie kuch bhi keh deta hoon…you know I don't mean it."

"Armaan, insaan ki zuban ek teer ki tarah hoti hai, ek baar nikal jaati hai tho wapas nahin aati….sirf kisi ko ghayal kar sakti hai!" Riddhima said angrily, as she emptied the grocery bags.

Armaan was really ashamed of himself, "please Riddhima….I am really sorry….tum chaaho tho main Anjali se milna bilkul bandh kar sakta hoon."

"Maine yeh nahin kaha Armaan! I am not an insecure person, tum chaaho tho jis se milna chaahte ho, mil sakte ho, par mujhse jhooth mat bola karo…..tumhey shobha nahin deta!" Riddhima replied, trying hard to suppress her tears again.

"Riddhima….I promise, I will never hide anything from you…..lekin maine kabhie jhooth bhi nahin bola hai tumse …main tumhara gunahgaar hoon… saza deni hai de do, par please naaraz mat ho….main tumhey sirf khush dekhna chahta hoon," Armaan fell on his knees and pleaded.

Riddhima rolled her eyes, "Armaan, please uth jao…..bacchon ki tarah mat behave karo!"

"OK…tum aaram se baitho, main tumhare liye chai banaata hoon…," Armaan got up and walked Riddhima to the couch, "just stay there, I will be back with a cup of tea, aur aaj dinner bhi main hi banaaoonga."

Riddhima sat down reluctantly and frowned, "tum? Aur khaana banaaoge?"

"Yes madam, mere haath ka khaana aaj tak kisi ne nahin khaaya hai….yeh saubhaagya sirf aap ko hi mil raha hai," Armaan took a bow in front of her.

Riddhima shook her head and tried to suppress her smile at Armaan's wise cracks.

"Theek hai, tumhey jo karna hai karo…..just leave me alone." Riddhima sat down with her feet up on the couch. She flipped through the pages of a magazine, both annoyed and amused at her husband's antics.

A few minutes later, she heard some noise and commotion in the kitchen. She could not help walking back to the kitchen. She saw most of her pots and pans on the counter and the floor. Armaan was wearing an apron and desperately looking for something.

She stood at the door with her arms folded, "kya dhoond rahe ho?"

"mujhey pyaaz kaatne ke liye kuch chaahiye…..," Armaan's voice echoed from the pantry.

Riddhima opened a drawer and took out a knife and cutting board for him, "yeh raha.."

Armaan turned around and looked at the board and knife, "Oh thanks!"

Riddhima turned to leave, but Armaan called from behind, "aur Riddhima aaloo kahan rakhe hain?…..aur garam masala?….aur haldi?….aur…aur chai?…zara meri help kar do pleaseeee," he looked at her innocently.

Riddhima shook her head and said, "Armaan tum jao, main hi sab kar leti hoon….tumne waise bhi mere liye kaam badhaa diya hai," she surveyed the mess in her kitchen.

"NO..NO…NO….aaj tum kuch kaam nahin karogi, yeh bandaa haazir hai aapki sewa ke liye….achha aisa karo tum yahin baithi raho…..mujhsey door mat jao," he came close to her and touched her face seductively.

Riddhima turned her face away, "Armaan…please I am in no mood…"

"Sorry….I forgot that you are still mad at me……theek hai main ab kuch nahin kahoonga….par tum yahin raho….please….,' he lifted her in his arms and sat her on the counter, "kahin mat jaana…."He gently pressed his body against hers as Riddhima gave him a glaring look.

Riddhima tried to protest, but he turned around and started peeling the onions. Riddhimastayed on the countertop and observed him cut the onions. He sniffled and wiped his watery eyes as he kept working. Riddhima bit her lower lip, trying to suppress her smile.

"OUCH!" Armaan screamed as the knife sliced his finger accidentally.

Riddhima got off the counter and ran up to him. She held his bleeding finger in her hands, "kitni buri tarah kut gaya hai….main dressing laati hoon…," she turned around to fetch the first aid box.

Armaan grabbed her wrist, "tho hindi film heroine ki tarah isey apne mooh mein nahi daalogi?" he smiled mischievously holding his finger.

Riddhima smiled back, rolling her tongue in her mouth, "tho jao apni hindi film heroine ke paas….wo shaam se intezaar kar rahi hai tumhara."

Armaan retracted his finger back, "No way! Not her!" and stuck his finger in his own mouth with a disgusted look on his face.

Riddhima came back with the first aid box and took his finger out from his mouth, "lao….idhar dikhao…"

Armaan obediently gave her his hand and watched her lovingly as she cleaned and dressed his finger.

"pata chalta hai ki ek surgeon ki patni ho….kitni achhi dressing ki hai," Armaancomplimented her and stared at her intently.

"Yeh kaam main surgeon ki patni ban ne se pehle bhi achhi tarah jaanti thi…no need to pat your back!" she walked back with the first aid box.

Armaan grabbed her wrist again and pulled her into his arms, "aur kya kya jaanti thi mujhsey milne se pehle," he said in a husky voice. He looked into her eyes and pushed some loose tendrils away from her face. He caressed her face with his thumb and traced her lip line with them. He bent down and planted a tender kiss on her lips.

Riddhima resisted initially, but was soon drawn in by his sensuous tongue movements. The first aid box slipped away from her hands as she circled his neck with her arms. Armaanlifted her in his arms and carried her to the bedroom.

He placed her gently on the bed and pinned her down, "mujhse door hone ki baat bhi kabhie apne mann mein mat laana….main tumhare bina jee nahin paaonga Riddhima," he kissed her lips passionately and moved down to her neck and chest. Riddhima moaned in pleasure as he gently peeled her layers away, kissing every inch of her body. They both were drawn into a frenzy of emotions; their bodies aching for each other after a long dry spell.

Riddhima's anger melted as Armaan made love to her, like never before- she felt she was drowning in a sea of mixed emotions- her anger and humiliation soon turned into vapor by his passionate kisses and groans.

Afterwards, they lay together under the covers in each other's arms. They talked at length about nothing and everything. They forgot about the uncooked dinner in the kitchen, they forgot the harsh words they had said to each other earlier, the only thing that mattered now was their love and yearning for each other.

They stayed up all night; took little breaks to eat and talk, but then were back again in a passionate union on the living room couch, kitchen floor and their bedroom.

"Armaan, tum bahut shaitaan ho," Riddhima whispered after a passionate session.

"Shaitaan? Haan wo tho hoon….tumhey dekh kar aur bhi zyaada shaitaani aa jaati hai." he growled.

Riddhima laughed and said, "apni baaton se mujhey hamesha bhela-fusla lete ho……thodi der naaraz bhi nahin reh sakti tumse."

"kyunki jab tum naaraz hoti ho, meri poori duniya ruk si jaati hai…..main phir kisi kaam ka nahin rehta."

"Tho tum mujhey apne liye manaate ho ya mere liye?" Riddhima asked curiously

"Dono ke liye!" he smiled slyly and grabbed her tightly.

As Riddhima rested on his chest, she finally said, "Armaan, maine Abhimanyu ke saath kaam karne ka faisla kar liya hai."

Armaan was elated, "sach? Main bahut khush hoon…..tum sach much bahut talented ho, aur waise bhi ghar par akeli bore hoti ho….I think that is a great plan…," he kissed her head and hands.

"I will try it out, lekin agar sangeet mujhey tum se door le jaayega, tho main nahin gaaoong.," she snuggled closely

"Riddhima, hum kabhie ek doosre se door nahin honge…..main vaada karta hoon….."

After an exhausting night, they finally fell asleep in each other's arms to be woken up by the harsh buzzer in the morning.

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