Thursday, 19 October 2017

PART 37:Ehsaas

The next day, Armaan and Riddhima left for their respective jobs, maintaining the cold silence between them

Armaan, as usual had a horrible day at work. He was cranky, screamed at the nurses, the OT staff, his assistant-no one was spared!

Armaan overheard one of the nurses whispering, "lagta hai Dr Malik ka phir apni biwi ke saath jhagda hua hai." The other nurse giggled, 'sab mardon ke yahi haal hai…zaroor unki misses ne unhe khaali pait sone diya hoga….bechare sab surgeons ka yahi haal hota hai….aakhir kab tak koi aurat unka intezaar karti rahegi?" They both burst out into a laughter but shushed up as they saw Armaan approaching with an angry expression., "sister! 711 number ki file kahan hai? Aap log baithe baithe baatein banaati rehti hain…..can I see some action from both of you?" Armaan yelled. The nurses were terrified; they were used to the staff surgeons and their ill tempers, but never before had a trainee raised his voice like that. They got up obediently and got down to work- or at least pretended to get busy.

Armaan went to his office and reflected upon the events of last evening and tried to make sense of what the nurses where trying to say.

He looked at his schedule; he had no more patients or surgeries scheduled for another hour. He picked his bag and left the office in a hurry. He hailed a cab, "Sukoon music studio!"

He could not take it anymore; he had to see Riddhima and decided he would take her out to lunch, "shayad Riddhima theek keh rahi thi…main kal Yuvraaj waali baat ko lekar pareshaan tha, aur gussa Riddhima par nikaal diya….I might have over reacted," he said to himself.

After arriving at the studio, he looked around for Riddhima. There were a few singers and musicians rehearsing in some of the rooms.

"Hi! I am Siddhant- actually Sid! Can I help you?" a boyish looking, handsome, tall, broad-shouldered man greeted him.

"Yes, may be you can! I am Dr Malik!"

"Oh! Riddhima's husband?" Sid remarked

"Oh well! I guess, I am…..ab yahan meri pehchaan Riddhima ki wajah se hi tho hogi… are righ," Armaan was not used to this- he was always Dr Malik or Armaan to people- so far no one had ever identified him as Riddhima's husband!

"Riddhima aapko bahut maanti hai," Sid smiled, "kal agar aapka phone nahin aata tho wo recording hi nahin karti."

"Mera phone?" Armaan asked curiously

"Haan…shayad aapne Abhimanyu se kaha tha na ki aapki meeting der tak chalegi, tho recording shuru kar dein….warna Riddhima tho raat bhar hum sab ko yahin rok kar rakhti…bahut jadoo kar rakha hai aapne apni patni par," Sid laughed again.

Armaan smiled back; he suddenly felt as if a huge weight had lifted from his chest. He shook his head and thought, "zaroor Abhimanyu ko galat fehmi ho gayi hogi…..he mis interpreted me….bechari Riddhima ka kya kasoor tha? Main bhi kitna pagal hoon…..Riddhima ki baat dhyaan se sun ni chaahiye thi."

"Tho Dr Malik…..lagta hai aap Riddhima se milne hi aaye honge?" Sid asked

"Haan…actually main usey lunch par le jaana chahta tha…I had an hour in between surgeries…kahan hai wo?"

"Oh…Oh…aapko 15 minute pehle phone karna chaahiye tha….Abhimanyu aur Riddhima abhi thodi der pehle hi lunch par gaye hain….sorry you just missed them," Sid apologized.

Armaan was disappointed, "Oh…is that right? Well, may be next time…..main chalta hoon….nice to meet you Sid!"

Sid shook his hand and smiled, "ab tho aap se mulakat hoti rahegi…Bye!"

Armaan headed back to the surgical center, dismayed at not being able to meet Riddhima. He was a little more relaxed, now that he understood what might have happened the previous evening.

He was walking back to his office, with a sandwich in his hand, when he spotted Anjali and Yuvraaj walking into the center.

"Hi Anjali!" Armaan called from a distance.

Anjali waved at him and gestured him to wait. She gave a friendly hug to Yuvraaj and walked towards Armaan, "Hi stranger! Kaisi gayi tumhari biwi ki recording?"

"Oh…it was pretty good….but I missed it," Armaan replied

"Hamare saath rehte tho kuch bhi miss nahin karte!" she smiled and then whispered, "waise hum sab ne tumhe bahut miss kiya!"

"Really? Yuvraaj tho tha wahan!" Armaan said

"Par Armaan….Yuvraaj is not the same as you! Tumhari baat hi kuch aur hai….my friends were not impressed with Yuvraaj at all…..tum tho jaadugar ho Armaan! Yuvraaj is not even 10% of what you are!" Anjali inflated Armaan's ego once again. Armaan felt elated at hearing Anjali sing his praises, "Anjali..tum bhi na….well, tell me how can I help? My schedule is wide open next week…..I can schedule your friends for tummy tuck, botox, face lifts, breast implants, dermabrasion… name it…..i am at your service," Armaan held out his hand for Anjali. Anjali gladly accepted his hand, 'it is a deal Armaan! I will have to work on Yuvraaj…bechare ki feelings na hurt ho jaaye," she smiled and squeezed his hand.

Armaan withdrew his hand, as he realized Anjali was holding it a little too tight for his comfort, "OK Anjali…I will talk to you later….got to go to the OT…Bye!"

Anjali waved, "Bye Armaan! Aaj shaam ko thodi der ghar aa jaana….i would like to have a drink with you….don't worry, I will not hold you away from your wife…..chale jaana uske paas baad mein….kuch pal humein bhi de dena apne,' she requested.

Armaan could not say no, especially after the deal she had just struck with him, 'Ok…I will be there."

Anjali swung by Yuvraaj's office, "Yuvraaj, my dear! Aaj raat ko main tumhara intezaar karoongi…..remember…it will be just the two of us… ready to have the time of your life tonight!"

Yuvraaj had a slanting smile on his face, "Absolutely, I will be there!"

When Riddhima and Abhimanyu came back from lunch, Sid approached Riddhima, "hey Riddhima… just missed your hubby."

Riddhima's face lit up," kya Armaan aaya tha yahan?"

"Jee haan! Bechara tumhey lunch par le jaane aaya tha, but he just missed you by minutes…,bahut pyaar karta hai tumhey…itna busy doctor apne schedule mein se apni wife ke saath lunch karne aaya tha….how romantic!" Sid remarked

Riddhima blushed at Sid's words and thought, "Armaan, tumhari aisi baaton ki hi tho main diwaani hoon…..kaash main yahin hoti tab," She thanked Sid and took her phone out of her bag. She walked towards the rehearsal room and dialed Armaan's number. She just got his voice mail as he was in the OT.

Riddhima was relieved and cheerful all afternoon. She could not wait to get back home and spend her evening with him. She thought, "Armaan…kitni achhi baat hai ki jab bhi hamare beech koi bhi problem hoti hai, hamare pyaar se sab sulajh jaati hain…shayad yahi sachha pyaar hai."

Riddhima left work as soon as her recordings were done. Abhimanyu tried his best to hold her back at one pretext or the other. He finally threw an attractive bait in front of her, "Riddhima….ek aur gaana record kar lo aaj….waise tho yeh doosri singer ko de raha tha, par tum chaaho tho aaj hi apni awaaz mein record kar lo…..she will not even know."

Riddhima was very clear about her priorities, "Nahin Abhimanyu….yeh kaam tho kal bhi ho sakta hai…..aur waise bhi main kisi aur ka gaana nahin cheen sakti….I know you will always have enough work for me. Anyways, I need to be home before Armaan gets back."

"Riddhima, tum Armaan se itna darrti kyon ho? Ek din shaam ko tumhare bina reh lega tho kya jaayega? Waise bhi usey aadat hai akele rehne ki… mein tho kabhie room mate bhi nahi tha uska."

Riddhima smiled and said, "Abhimanyu…..lekin ab uska room mate bhi hai, aur life mate bhi hai! I am sorry, I have to go….see you tomorrow."

Abhimanyu just clenched his fist, "Anjali! This nut is not an easy one to crack! Kahan phansaa diya mujhey….par aisi kya baat hai Armaan mein jo yeh uski itni diwaani hai?"

Riddhima prepared Armaan's favorite dishes and laid the table for a cozy candle light dinner for the two of them. She hummed and sang songs as she cooked and got ready for Armaan's arrival. She had tried to call him several times, but he did not pick up his phone.

Armaan spent the good part of the evening with Anjali. He was eager to leave after he finished his one drink, but Anjali kept him engaged in one conversation after another. She attended to a lot of phone calls from producers, directors, journalists etc while Armaan sat around, hoping to find a logical break and excuse himself. Armaan did not want to be rude and interrupt her; despite last evening's fiasco, she had just obliged him with some new clients and he was very grateful to her.

He wanted to break the ice with Riddhima by surprising her at home, so he did not call her all evening. His mobile had been in the silent mode all day; he had forgotten to switch it back to normal mode, so he did not receive Riddhima's calls either.

At home, Riddhima was getting anxious about Armaan, "kahan hoga? Abhi tak ghar kyon nahin aaya…office mein bhi nahin hai…kahin Anjali ke saath?"

Riddhima called Abhimanyu, "Abhimanyu…aapke paas Anjali ka contact number hai? Shayad Armaan wahin ho"

"Dekha Riddhima! Jis pati ke liye tum yahan se bhaagi bhaagi gayi thi, wo tumhari kitni kadar karta hai? Kal recording ke liye bhi late ho gaya tha, aur aaj dekho ghar bhi nahin pahuncha….yahan abhi tak tumhari recording bhi ho gayi hoti….khair likho Anjali ka personal number deta hoon tumhe," Abhimanyu spoke with an evil smile.

Riddhima just thanked him and did not comment on Abhimanyu's negative statements about her husband.

"Hello! Main Riddhima bol rahi hoon….kya Armaan aapke saath hai?" Riddhima called Anjali's number.

Anjali took the phone call to a quiet corner, so Armaan would not hear her, "Riddhima! Tum apne pati ko apne aanchal se baandh kar kyon rakhna chaahti ho? Wo koi bachha nahin hai! He knows what he is doing…..why do you keep tabs on him? Zyaada baandh kar rakhogi aadmi ko tho wo tum se door bhaagta rahega….give him a break!"

Riddhima felt her blood rushing to her cheeks, "Anjali ji….aadmi ko baandh kar rakhna tho aapka khel hai! Shayad aapko hi thodi dheel deni chaahiye, kahin aisa na ho aadmiyon ka shikaar karte karte aap khud hi shikaar ban jaaye….jahan tak Armaan ka sawaal hai, wo jis bandhan se mujh se juda hai, usey PYAAR kehte hain…..shayad aap parde par pyaar karte karte, asal zindagi mein pyaar karna bhool gayi hain…..Armaan se keh dee jiye ga, ki wo jab chaahe ghar aa sakta hai…..uska pyaar hamesha uska intezaar karta rahega…GOODBYE ANJALIJI!" Riddhima hung up before waiting for her response.

Armaan was getting impatient now; he saw Anjali hang up her call. He picked his bag and said, "Anjali….I need to go…I will see you tomorrow."

Anjali stopped him, "Armaan…dinner kar ke jao na."

"Sorry Anjali…aaj nahin." Armaan remarked

"Chalo jao…thode din tho apni biwi ke saath khaana kha lo….baad mein tho wo bahut busy ho jaayegi….phir tours par jaayegi…late night recordings hongi, and then she will be having most of her dinners with Abhimanyu…my house is always open for you Armaan…..jab chaaho aa sakte ho…BYE!" Anjali was pleased to see a worried expression on Armaan's face.

Armaan walked out, pondering over Anjali's statement…..….baad mein tho wo bahut busy ho jaayegi….phir tours par jaayegi, late night recordings hongi….and then she will be having most of her dinners with Abhimanyu…….

Armaan shook his head, "nahin…meri Riddhima kabhie aisa nahin karegi…she will never ignore me….wo mujhey kabhie neglect nahin karegi…..i know her."

Armaan arrived home to find his beautiful wife waiting for him with a smile. She hugged him as soon as he came in, "thanks for remembering me at lunch today."

Armaan dropped his bag on the floor and hugged her back tightly, "you are always there in my thoughts jaan!" He kissed her neck, ears and then her lips, "I am starving….I don't know about you."

Riddhima smiled mischievously and shut the door behind him and whispered, "I am famished too!"

Armaan grinned as he remembered the nurses's comments from this morning: zaroor unki misses ne unhe khaali pait sone diya hoga….bechare sab surgeons ka yahi haal hota hai.

Armaan thought, "sister, aaj yeh surgeon khaali pait nahin soegaa!!"

Once again, there bond was too strong to be swayed away by any tides of misunderstandings or prevailed one more time.


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