Sunday, 10 December 2017

Part 13 : Remember this (Arsh ff)

Armaan walked down the corridor feeling more alive than he had felt in a long time. He had a smile on his face and a bounce in his step, every one walking past him turned and looked at him.
Ho ho ho..
Tu hi ehsason mein, (as armaan made his way to the nurse station shilpa walked up to the reception to take her place at the desk. Armaan stopped in mid motion and stared at her, shilpa as if sensing his gaze looked up and smiled a bit self consciously)
Tu hi jazbaton mein,
Tu hi lamhaton mein,
Tu hi din raaton mein..

Bakhuda tumhi ho, (later as armaan made his way to the ward for rounds he saw shilpa sitting with a elderly male patient)
Har jagah tumhi ho,
Haan mein dekhun jahan jab, (armaan rubbed at his eyes to make sure she was real and not a figment of his imagination)
Uss jagah tumhi ho,(he stood there looking at her and smiling as his wish to see her came true)
Yeh jahan tumhi ho,
Wo jahan tumhi ho, (while he stood there looking at her he realized that she was everything to him, he couldn't imagine his life without her)
Iss zameen se falak ke,
Darmiyaann..tumhi ho,
Tum hi ho, beshumaar,
Tum hi ho..
Tum hi ho, mujh mein haan,
Tum hi ho..Tum hi ho..
In the evening armaan had decided that he was going to tell shilpa about his feelings for her, he made his way to the club as he knew she was going to be on duty, he tried rehearsing what he was going to say to her. As he entered the club and sat on a table, he got his first look of shilpa. She was dressed in her customary black uniform but she had kept her hair loose the way he liked it best. Her beautiful green eyes lined with kohl sparkled with life while her luscious lips colored a cherry shade smiled.
Kaise bataye tumhe,
Aur kis tarah yeh,
Kitna tumhe hum chahte hai,
Saaya bhi tera dikhe,
To paas jaake,
Usmein simat hum jaate hai,
Shilpa smiled at armaan and placed his usual order in front of him. As the evening passed armaan got up from the table and approached the bar which shilpa was tending. On seeing him shilpa smiled and stopped mixing the drink she was making and leaned forward to speak above the noise: you should be going home now! You have an early duty tomorrow!
Raasta tum hi ho,
Rehnuman tum hi ho,
Jiski khwahish hai humko,
Wo panah tum hi ho,
Tum hi ho, beshumaar,
Tum hi ho..
Tum hi ho, mujh mein haan,
Tum hi ho..
Tu hi ehsason mein,
Tu hi jazbaton mein,
Tu hi lamhaton mein,
Tu hi din raaton mein..
The other day they all sat in the cafeteria to have lunch together. Shilpa was sitting across from armaan with muskaan as they all waited for their food to be brought to them. Armaan was talking to rahul about a case when he got distracted by the sound of shilpa's laughter, she and muskaan were laughing hysterically with tears running down their face. Armaan was enthralled by the sight of shilpa who was trying to control her laughter and placed her head on the table. Rahul irritated with armaan's lack of attention snapped his fingers in front of his face making armaan come out of his dream world.
Muskaan also looked up to ask armaan: what happened?
Armaan with his eyes on shilpa: oh! Just day dreaming!
Kaise bataye tumhe,
shab mein tumhare,
Khwaab haseen jo aate hai,
Kaise bataye tumhe,
Lamz wo saare,
Jism ko jo mehkate hai
Shilpa was not oblivious to armaan or to the feelings his presence created in her heart. Since that night armaan was making a point of not crowding her physically but her own heart kept pushing her in his direction.
Ibtida tum hi ho
Intehaan tum hi to
Tum ho jeene ka maksad
Aur wajah tum hi ho..
Bakhuda tumhi ho,(Armaan thought of these words as he looked at shilpa who was looking at him intently)
Har jagah tumhi ho,
Haan mein dekhun jahan jab,
Uss jagah tumhi ho,
Yeh jahan tumhi ho, (shilpa wanted to look away but couldn't her heart wouldn't let her)
Wo jahan tumhi ho,
Iss zameen se falak ke,
Darmiyaann..tumhi ho,
Tum hi ho, beshumaar,
Tum hi ho..(As every one stood up to leave all armaan could think was of shilpa and "tum hi ho")
Tum hi ho, mujh mein haan,(as shilpa walked out the cafeteria she had to stop against the wall as she realized that even if she wanted to get away from armaan she couldn't as he was a part of her.)
Tum hi ho..Tum hi ho..
Ho ho ho..
Shilpa smiled at a regular who left after paying, her smile faded as she slowly turned around and swept her gaze across the room. Her eyes searching for a pair of eyes which were fixed on her but found nothing, she rubbed a hand at the back of her neck. For the last two days shilpa felt watched initially she had thought that it was armaan but then remembered that armaan was on night duties.  Shilpa picked up the tray of glasses walked to the bar feeling as if a target was painted on her back, she looked in the mirrored back of the bar hoping to catch someone looking at her in the reflection. But found nothing.
After an hour shilpa was ready to go home, she walked out of the club and started to walk. As she walked towards her apartment she felt the back of her neck start to crawl. Shilpa tried to breathe through her fear and continued walking, as she continued down the street she heard footsteps behind her. When she stopped to look behind the footsteps also stopped, shilpa peered into the shadows to see if someone was there but found nothing.
But the footsteps were there again as she started down the street, shilpa quickened her steps to put some distance between them but there was increase in pace by the follower. Shilpa ran the last block to her apartment not stopping till she was inside her apartment with door locked. She stood there panting with her back to the door and her hand pressed to her chest. She stood there trying to hear above her thundering heart the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs and crashing into her front door. But no sound came through the door, shilpa moved away from the door hesitantly and moved further in to the apartment, she called out for her roommate then noticed the note on the table, telling she was on a night duty.
Shilpa went to her room and sat with a thump on her bed, her legs trembled and her breath had still not evened out.
Shilpa to herself: its just my imagination!(she got up and started to change her clothes)
In a little while she was dressed for bed, shilpa went to the kitchen to get something to eat for herself and found some potato crisps to munch on. As she was making her way to her room the phone rang startling her, she stopped and picked up the phone: Hello!(but no one responded, she knew that someone was on the other end as she could hear him/her breathing) hello!(shilpa tried again but there was no response, shilpa disconnected the call).
She stood there when the phone rang again shilpa hesitated for a moment but then picked the receiver: hello! (pause) hello!(shilpa could hear him breathing and quickly disconnected the call).
She started muttering to herself: it was just a crank call! No one is after me!(when the phone rang again she picked up the phone and quickly disconnected it. After a few seconds it started to ring again shilpa sat beside the phone and waited for the answering machine to pick up the call. The machine finally picked up the call and after the beep came a familiar voice: hi shilpa! I thought you'll be home by now!...(shilpa leaped towards the phone and picked the call herself)
Shilpa: armaan! Hi! How are you?(she was breathless)
Armaan: hey! You ok! You sound out of breath.
Shilpa: oh I just walked in the door, you know came up the stairs.
Armaan after  a pause: you are, alright na? do you want me to come over?
Shilpa blew a breath out: I'm ok armaan! Just walked in, you tell how is your day?
They talked for a couple of minutes in which shilpa assured armaan that she was fine. As she ended the call she was feeling much better having almost forgotten her fear. She quickly made her way to her bed and with the first touch of her head on the pillow was sound sleep.
The next few days were not any better, the feeling of being watched got worse, shilpa started to dread going home at night. As a precaution she had started to ask for a lift home by a colleague or take a taxi. Once home she had a chair propped against the door knob of her room trying to secure the door. All night in her dreams she continued to be chased by unknown and faceless assailants.
In the morning when she woke up her clothes were soaked with sweat, as she showered and changed she decided to talk to muskaan about her problem. Shilpa walked out her apartment building and was looking for an auto to take her to the hospital. She continued to walk down the street waiting for an auto when she came across caf cum book store with an ad of help needed on the glass window. Shilpa stopped and stared at the ad then walked into the caf.
Muskaan was done for the day, it was nearing 5 in the evening and she was craving a good cup of coffee. She shut the file she was making notes on and placed it in her drawer when there was a sharp knock on the door and shilpa poked her head inside: are you busy?(she asked with a smile)
Muskaan smiled back: come on in! I'm done for the day and was thinking about a cup of coffee!
Shilpa smiled and brought her hand from behind her back: well then you are very lucky (placing a hot steaming cup of coffee) even though I don't understand how you can drink that vile stuff.
Muskaan felt deep affection for a this girl whom she knew for the last 4 months only but the bond she shared with her was akin to what she might have had with a sister of her own.
Muskaan took the sip of coffee and sighed with sheer bliss: ok! Now tell me how come you are not heading back to the club.
Shilpa: b'coz I quit!(muskaan choked on her coffee) I was coming to work in the morning and I came across this fabulous caf cum book store. The best part was that they were hiring, so I got hired and I served the club my 3 day notice.
Muskaan: wow! But what made you take up this job.
Shilpa: well the club was never going to be permanent so when this opportunity came up I grabbed on to it. (after a pause) there is another reason (the hesitant way shilpa talked alerted muskaan to something bothering her) I don't know if I have an overactive imagination or its really happening.
Muskaan: why don't you tell me about it and we can decide it later.
Shilpa: for the last couple of days I feel as if I'm being watched but when I look around I don't see any one. One night I was sure I was being followed home but everytime I turned around there was no one there.
Muskaan sat still as shilpa talked trying to calm her anxiety that had erupted at her words: do you feel this way at the hospital also.
Shilpa shook her head: no! at the club and at times my way back to the apartment but once when I'm home I feel secure. So I decided its better to change jobs you know something that ends at a reasonable time.
Muskaan: the next time you feel like that call me or armaan!
Shilpa's head shot up: promise me you won't tell armaan or rahul about this!
Muskaan raised her brow: why?
Shilpa: they would worry, especially armaan!
Muskaan bewildered: shilpa! you were worried yourself so why is it so wrong if armaan worries?
Shilpa: I don't want him to worry about me. I don't want to be someone he's always worried about, who needs to be taken care off.
Muskaan: whats happening between you two?
Shilpa: nothing!
Muskaan: oh please! The tension between you two is thick enough to be cut with a knife and its obvious that you both feel something for each other. (when shilpa stayed quiet) is there something that happened I don't know about.
Shilpa: couple of days back armaan and I had a….(as muskaan's eyes widened shilpa hastened to explain) nothing happened.
Muskaan cheekily: well I can see how that can be depressing but shilpa he cares for you deeply, you know that, don't you.
Shilpa: I know he cares for me, I also know that he is a good man, decent, a good doctor but what he feels for me, is it the same I feel for him.
Muskaan asked quietly: what do you feel for him?
Shilpa looked up at muskaan: I'm deeply and irrevocably in love with him. For me he is the only one, when I'm with him I feel safe, when I'm with him I feel whole and complete.
Muskaan smiled hugely: then wats the problem?
Shilpa: the problem is that I'm not sure whether what he feels for me is too much concern mixed with healthy physical attraction or something more. More than that I don't want to be someone he always has to take care off, I want to be his partner, I want to be the one whom he turns to when he is worried or upset. Not someone whom he is always trying to protect.
Muskaan: shilpa I won't say anything to armaan if you don't want me but I'll say one thing you two have a chance at something good don't let anything come between you two. (changing the mood) as for telling rahul why would I do that! That guy is the last person I would tell anything!
Shilpa looked quizzically at her: why do you do that?(when muskaan looked inquiringly at her) you are trained observer, a professional who understands human behviour but somehow you refuse to understand rahul.
Muskaan: or I understand him a little too well.
Shilpa firmly: no! you don't! can't you see how much effort he puts in being a jerk. (when muskaan raised her brow) well ok! There are times he is a jerk unintentionally but so is armaan! But most of the time he is trying too hard. Look into his eyes and you'll understand what I'm saying.
Muskaan quietly: if what you say is true then why is he doing it?
Shilpa: I don't know may be you should try and find that out.
Muskaan: and may be you can do the same thing where armaan is concerned.


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