Sunday, 12 November 2017

PART 47:Ehsaas

Armaan shut his door and went back to the closet. He picked Riddhima's clothes one by one and folded them neatly. He hung her suits and saris carefully, making sure their creases were intact. He felt his eyes well up, as he touched and caressed her clothes. He could almost feel her presence around him. Her famous red sari was still hanging in the closet. He took it out and held it in his hands for a while. He sat down on the bed and buried his face in the sari. Her sweet fragrance reminded him of what he had lost in his life. He started sobbing silently and thought, "jhoothi khushi ki chaahat mein mainey apni zindagi ki sab se badhi khushi kho di…..apni zindagi se hi door ho gaya…."

This beautiful song summarizes his feelings: from "life mein kabhie kabhie"

hum khushi ki chaah mein har khushi se dur ho gaye
dhundane chale the ... jindagi
jindagi se dur ho gaye

jaagi jaagi si palkon mein
chain ka wo jo khaab tha
na hame ehsaas tha
dard ka wo sailaab tha
jhute sapano ke liye
hum bhatake kahaan kahaan
dhundane chale the  jindagi
jindagi se dur ho gaye

paas thi apani manjile
ja ke bhi hum na ja sake
sukh wo thi jisaki aaraju
paake bhi hum na pa sake
bheed mein bhi tanaha jiye
na paaye koi jahaan
dhundane chale the  jindagi
jindagi se dur ho gaye
hum khushi ki chaah mein har khushi se dur ho gaye
dhundane chale the  jindagi
jindagi se dur ho gaye –

He received a call while he was still weeping silently, "Keerti di? Unhey tho kuch nahin pataa…kya jawaab doonga unhey?"

Armaan cleared his throat and wiped his tears, 'Hello di!"

Keerti: "kya baat hai Armaan? Teri awaaz se lagta hai tu ro raha tha."

Armaan: "Nahin di…aapne kabhie mujhey rote huye dekha hai?"

Keerti: "Main teri badhi behen hoon….mujhse kuch nahin chupta….accha yeh bataa, Riddhima kahan hai?"

Armaan: "Wo..wo apne maayke gayi hai.."

Keerti: "Jaanti hoon wo Ramgarh mein hai, par itne dino ke liye kyon gayi hai?"

Armaan: "aapko kaise pataa?"

Keerti: "meri us se baat hoti rehti hai, par usne kabhie yeh nahin bataaya ki wo wapas Mumbai kab jaa rahi hai…tum dono ke beech sab theek tho hai na?"

Armaan was silent. He could not say anything.

Keerti: "kya kaha hai tuney usey? Kyon ghar chhod kar gayi hai wo?"

Armaan: "aap mujhe hi kyon blame kar rahi hain?"

Keerti: "kyunki main teri bahen hoon….aur yeh bhi jaanti hoon ki teri zubaan kabhie kabhie churi (knife) se bhi zyaada chot pahuncha sakti hai….bataa kya kaha usey?"

Armaan told her what had happened.

Keerti was shocked and outraged at Armaan's callousness, "are you crazy Armaan? Koi apni biwi…aur wo bhi Riddhima jaisi ladki par aisa ilzaam lagaa ta hai? Mainey teri paper mein us actress ke saath photo dekhi thi….kya naam hai….Anjali Rai! Kya chakkar hai tera uske saath?"

Armaan: "Nahin di aisa kuch bhi nahin hai….she is just a friend….actually just an acquaintance….newspaper waale aise hi gossip karte hain."

Keerti: "Tho tu sach much soch tha hai ki Riddhima ne tujhey dhokha diya hai? Apne dil par haath rakh kar bataa?"

Armaan closed his eyes and said, "Nahin di! Mera dil kehta hai ki Riddhima kabhie aisa nahin kar sakti…par Anjali, Abhimanyu aur wo articles ko kaise ignore karoon?"

Keerti: "If you believe in them, rather than Riddhima….then you deserve to be alone Armaan… sympathies are with Riddhima even though you are my brother."

Armaan: "Di….but I still love her….I want her back in my life."

Keerti: "Armaan, you need to know the real meaning of love first, may be then you will deserve her!"

Armaan: "Real meaning? Tho aap ka matlab hai ki mera pyaar sachha nahin hai?"

Keerti: "Armaan…pyaar mein haasil nahin kiya jaata….diya jaata hai…..pyaar mein paana nahin …..balki dena jaan na chaahiye….jab tumhey is baat ka ehsaas hoga, tabhie tum Riddhima ka pyaar paa sakoge….goodnight Armaan…..apna khayal rakhna…Bye"

Armaan hung up and stared blankly at the walls. He was trying to digest his sister's words. He was still confused after his conversation with Keerti. He realized that he had been very inconsiderate and harsh with Riddhima……his heart believed that she was innocent and his accusations were baseless and ruthless! He felt ashamed, "yeh mainey kya kiya? Now I undestand why Riddhima must have felt so hurt……uska yakeen na karke mainey apni zindagi ki sabse badhi bhool ki hai," he felt a little choked and went downstairs to get a glass of water.

As he was coming out of the kitchen, he heard some voices from the guest room. He tiptoed and tried to over hear what was going on. Anjali was on the phone with someone, fuming and fretting as usual, "Abhimanyu! Why don't you understand….i cannot get any more cash at this point…..he is already suspicious….why did you have to send Riddhima's check to his bank account? Wo tho kabhie apna bank statement dekhta bhi nahin tha pehle!"

Armaan was stunned, "tho Abhimanyu aur Anjali dono mere khilaaf koi shadyantra (conspiracy) khel rahe hain?"

Anjali continued, "Big boss se keh dena, abhi paise baad mein bhejenge….otherwise they can just shoot that b******! Why do we care about Sid's life? Ek baar mar jaayega…tho silsila hi khatam ho jaayega….chalo let's not prolong this conversation…I think someone is at the door…Bye!"

Anjali had overheard Armaan's feet shuffling outside her room. She hung up and peeped outside. Armaan hid behind a pillar in the hallway. It was dark, so Anjali could not see him hiding. She just shrugged her shoulders and shut her door.

Armaan was furious. He wanted to kick that woman out, there and then. He stopped himself from doing anything impulsive, "I need to get some proof against these two……tho Sid ko fire nahin kiya….he is with some big boss….this big boss must have an account with the Swiss bank…..hmm….let me find out more information tomorrow."

Armaan went back to his room and thought, "kitna pagal banaaya hai is ladki ne mujhey…..Abhimanyu tho mera dost hai….usne bhi is chaal mein muhjhey dhokha diya….aur mujhey Riddhima par itna bura ilzaam lagaane par majboor kar diya……I am such an idiot!" he banged his head against the wall. He had been duped, been taken advantage of…..but why me? Why? Why? Why?

Over the next few days, Armaan followed Anjali secretly everywhere. He was shocked to find out that she was being ousted from most of her movies due to her attitude and high-handedness. She met Abhimanyu several times. They had a lot of arguments about money.

"Anjali…..ab tumharey paas films bhi nahin hain, tho mere contracts ka kya hoga? You had promised me 5 movies in exchange for you know what…..I don't even have any non-filmi albums to bank on…..all the production companies want Riddhima to sing for us, then they will fund a new album…..ab tho wo bhi chali gayi yahan se." Abhimanyu complained

"Tumhara baap tho ameer hai….why don't you have him fund your albums?" Anjali asked

"He is still upset with me for leaving surgery and becoming a musician….I cannot ask him for money….he will kill me!" Abhimanyu lamented again.

"Don't worry Abhimanyu……bas ek baar Armaan se shaadi ho jaaye….then I will open my own production house… will have plenty of work then," Anjali puffed her cigarette.

"Tum hamesha yahi kehti rehti ho…..but I don't see Armaan wagging his tail behind you," Abhimanyu said

"I think I have been too patient so far……aadmi ko bas mein lane ka ek hi tareeka hai…..ab tho uski biwi bhi yahan nahin hai… you know what he needs most? Ha…ha…ha… I know why he has been so cranky…..main uska ilaaj kar doongi and then he will never be able to resist me!" Anjali said confidently.

Armaan was hiding behind a curtain in Abhimanyu's office and heard their conversation. He wanted to take a gun and shoot both of them. He just closed his eyes and clenched his fists.

Later, Armaan also found out that Anjali's house was never sealed; in fact, it was not her house at all. It was registered under an address in Dubai!

Armaan gathered all the evidence and met with the police chief one day.

"Thanks doctor! We are all aware about the bollywood-underworld nexus. It is hard to gather any evidence against them…..aapki investigation bahut kaam aayegi…..but be careful…..don't let them know that you know anything, otherwise your life could be in danger……we will do the rest…thanks again Dr Malik!" the chief said

That evening, Armaan was unusually friendly with Anjali. Anjali was pleased to see Armaan more relaxed and poured 2 drinks for them.

"Cheers! Aaj se Dr Malik apni purani zindagi ko bhool kar nayi zindagi start karenge…kyon Armaan?" she said as she raised a toast.

"Cheers! Yes, you are absolutely right! Dekho, main tumhare liye ek gift laaya hoon," Armaan gave her a beautiful gift-wrapped box.

Anjali was thrilled. She opened it, anticipating a proposal ring.

"Arre yeh kya hai? Yeh tho kisi ke ghar ki chaabhi hai?" she was disappointed to find a bunch of keys inside the box.

"Congratulations Anjali! Tumhara ghar tumhey wapas mil gaya hai…..this is your birthday present in advance…..I made all your outstanding payments….now you are free to move back into your house!" Armaan grinned at her.

Anjali's face fell. She tried to hide her disappointment, "Oh Armaan….you are such a good friend," she came close to him and tried to rub her body seductively against his.

Armaan pulled back and said, "I can help you pack….chalo I will drop you to your house."

"Itni jaldi kya hai Armaan? Let's enjoy our drinks and the night is still young," she kissed his ear seductively.

Armaan shoved her away, 'Anjali…I want you to leave right now! I have had enough of your game…..just get out of my house and MY LIFE!"

"Armaan! What are you saying?" she was shocked

"I am being very courteous right now; don't force me to call the police. I know everything about you….your Big boss….Dubai and Swiss bank connections! JUST LEAVE!" Armaan yelled.

Anjali's eyes were burning with anger, "this will cost you doctor! I made you a successful surgeon in this city…but now I will make sure, you lose everything you have!"

"I have already lost the most precious thing in my life THANKS TO YOU! Ab tum mera kuch nahin bigaad sakti. GET OUT!" he screamed this time.

A frightened Anjali went to her room and picked her bags.

…to be contd…


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