Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Part 20 : Remember this (Arsh ff)

Shilpa lay there on the bed willing her pulse to slow down, a smile formed on her lips as she recalled armaan's impatient tone as he had opened the door and yelled WHAT? Shilpa grinned thinking she wouldn't want to be in that person place with armaan being in such an impatient mood. Her smile disappeared as she thought of his coming back and continuing where they stopped, her heart rate accelerated just thinking about it and a blush stained her cheeks. Suddenly shilpa sat up as she could hear murmur of voices, shilpa got off from the bed quickly donning the buttons of her dress as she made her way to the bedroom door and peeked out.

She saw armaan standing in the lounge looking embarrassed while an elderly couple stood with their back towards her. Shilpa was trying to figure out who they were when she heard the elderly man say: you are behaving like you don't want us here.
Armaan: don't be silly! Dad! Of course I'm happy to see you both here. I'm just surprised!
Shilpa backtracked into the room stunned. Her mind could only form the words: O M G!
Shilpa looked at herself  in the mirror and grimaced, there was no way she could go out looking like that.  Her hair was a tangled mess, her clothes were all rumpled and creased with rolling around on the bed with armaan. Her lips were rosy and swollen with the passionate kisses from armaan, one look at her and they would know what they were upto. Shilpa braced her shoulders and decided to make a run for her room which was further down the corridor from armaan's.
Shilpa again peeked towards the lounge and saw that armaan's parents had finally sat down and their back was towards her, without further delay shilpa dashed for her room and stopped only after reaching her room. She quickly moved towards her bathroom as the only way she was going out was after having a bath and wearing full body armour.
Armaan felt rather than saw a movement near his bedroom and prayed shilpa didn't venture out to know what was taking him so long. Immediately his mind conjured an image of shilpa the way he had left her in his room and was immediately brought back with his mothers voice.
Maa: Armaan! Whats wrong with you? Why are you sitting with a goofy smile on your face?
Armaan felt his ears go red: why? Can't I be happy to see my parents?
Maa looked at armmaan suspiciously but then smiled: where were you? We had been ringing the bell for the last 10 minutes.
Armaan clearing his throat: actually! I had a late night duty! So I was asleep actually so the bell ringing it took some time to register. Anyways! What brings you two here?
Dad: why can't we come to see our son?
Armaan immediately contrite: I didn't mean it like that?
Dad laughed: chill armaan! I'm joking! Your mother and I were missing you and we thought why not stay with you for few days. I'll just get the luggage from the car.
Armaan stuck: wait dad! Hmm…well…i.i..actually there is a problem!
Maa quizzically: what do you mean?
Armaan again clearing his throat: actually! I already have someone as a house guest here!
Dad: who?(brightening) is it rahul? Good! I just mssgd him before reaching your place, now he can move into your room and we all can have a good visit.
Armaan: Dad! Maa! Its not rahul!
Maa: then why don't you tell us who it is? 
Shilpa: sorry to butt in! couldn't help overhear you people talking? I'm shilpa!(shilpa suppressed a smile as it was difficult to tell who was more shocked armaan or his parents)
Armaan's dad was the first to recover: armaan!(his quiet tone made armaan cringe inside) explain!
Armaan: dad! Shilpa use to be my patient…
Armaan's mom interrupted: what is your patient doing living with you?
Shilpa jumped in: well technically I'm not his patient anymore!Plus I've been living here only for a week or so (both armaan's parents visibly relaxed at her words only to tense up again at her next words) well if you are counting the time I lived here earlier, that would have to be six months I believe.
Armaan mom's voice boomed in the room: ARMAAN MALIK! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? Have you lost all sense of decency, have you forgotten all the values I instilled in you. Did you not think of you father's reputation or your own reputation when you brought this girl here to live? Or should I ask with which part of your anatomy were you thinking with? Even though I can understand the fascination (she looked over shilpa insultingly who stood with her hair wet, wearing a blue colored dress.)
Armaan who had been glaring at shilpa for creating such a rukus, who was trying hard not to laugh out loud but when his mother looked at shilpa in that disapproving manner he felt shilpa stiffen and he snapped.
Armaan without raising his voice: Enough!(making his mother stop mid sentence) you have no idea what you are talking about! Shilpa is not a random girl I picked up at a bar to have a fling with, she's the woman I love(making his mother gasp in surprise and his father head turn sharply in his direction) Even though I love her more than life itself that's not why she's living here now or lived here before.
Armaan quickly told them shilpa's story, of her having amnesia and the continued threat to her life: so you can see how necessary it is for shilpa to stay here with me.
Armaan's dad cleared his throat: it seems we didn't have the complete facts and we over reacted. Lets start again(he turned towards shilpa and extended his hand) hello! I'm Dr. Malik Sr., Armaan's father.
Shilpa took the offered hand and smiled back at him: hi! I'm shilpa!
Dr. Malik looked at the girl standing infront of him and couldn't help but admire the girl's grit. She stood there infront of them with no idea who she was not even remembering her surname but she there with a poise and calm not many people had. He squeezed her hand in encouragement and with his eyes twinkling: call be billy! And this beautiful woman(turning towards armaan's mom) is the love of my life and armaan's mother Ananya.
Shilpa greeted her with a smile and got a curt nod in recognition which made shilpa grin, armaan groan, billy laugh and finally ananya stare at them with narrowed eyes.
Shilpa: Armaan get your parents luggage! I'll clear the room. (she started to go towards her room but was stopped by armaan)
Armaan: where are you going?
Shilpa: nowhere! I'm just going to move into your library! I'll sleep there! Can I put some of my stuff in your room.
Ananya saw both of them interacting and had reservations about the influence shilpa had on Armaan but she kept her own counsel.The next day to Ananya surprise she found shilpa awake early in the morning and ready to begin the day. She found shilpa had already started preparing the breakfast when she entered the kitchen.
Shilpa: Good morning aunty! I didn't know you would be up at this time I was just making some breakfast for myself.(She quickly scooped the scrambled eggs on her plate and sat down on the table to have her breakfast)
Ananya: where's armaan?
Shilpa: probably in the bath!he's suppose to have a duty early today.
Ananya without answering turned towards the stove and started to cook something up. Shilpa quickly ate her breakfast followed by a glass of orange juice, once done she took her dishes to the sink and started to wash them. Ananya kept an eye on shilpa while she cooked breakfast for armaan both worked in silence which was only broken when armaan walked in.
Armaan came in and kissed his mother on the forehead: good morning Maa! Hmmm! Something smells wonderful!
Ananya smiled at him: made you favorite cheese omlette! Now sit down and eat before it gets cold(she quickly placed toasted slices of bread and a pot of coffee on the table.As she turned she couldn't help but notice shilpa standing smiling at them before she could question her, she walked out of the kitchen)
Armaan made sounds of pleasure as he took the first bite making ananya smile at him. Armaan in between bites: Maa! I'll be back in the evening today after I pick shilpa from caf.
Ananya frowning: what caf?
Armaan having finished food was sipping his coffee: shilpa works at a caf! I'll drop her there now and pick her up later in the day. (Armaan thought of talking about shilpa with his mother but then stopped and left for the day)
It was late afternoon when shilpa unlocked the front door and walked into a quiet house, she had gotten off early and had gotten a lift from a colleague. Shilpa walked into the kitchen and found Ananya standing there trying to open a can, she was obviously struggling with it. Shilpa cleared her throat to draw her attention towards her: may I help you with that?(walking in towards her)
Ananya wanted to refuse but knew she couldn't open it, without saying anything, she placed the can on the counter for her to open. Shilpa smiled inwardly on the silent treatment she was getting but got down to opening the can. Ananya on the other hand was not feeling too good, her head was throbbing and she was feeling breathless. She looked at shilpa's face bent in concentration as she managed to open the can and decided to talk to her.
Ananya: I'm not feeling too well!
Shilpa's head snapped up as she took in her pallor, she quickly grabbed her by the arm directing her towards a chair: tell me whats wrong? Are you in pain?(her eyes scanning her face for cause of discomfort)
Ananya: I'm feeling breathless! And my head is throbbing too. I think I'll go and rest in my room maybe my blood pressure is a bit high.(she stood up only to be pushed back by shilpa to keep sitting)
Shilpa firmly: you are not going anywhere! I'm going to call rahul! He'll do your check up and then we'll see.
Shilpa immediately called rahul and explained the situation to him who promised to be there shortly. Shilpa decided to move ananya to a more comfortable location and took her outside to the lounge, even that short walk had somehow made her look more pale. Shilpa quickly mssgd armaan on his cell and called the hospital and left a message for him there also as he was busy in an operation.
Shilpa: aunty! Where is billy uncle!
Ananya: he's out! Will be coming back shortly!
When the door bell rang shilpa flew to the door in her urgency to get rahul. Rahul checked ananya's blood pressure which was high and gave her some medicine which would help lower it.
Shilpa: rahul! Is she going to be alright?
Rahul smiled looking at her worried eyes: she's fine shilpa! I've given her the medicine and she'll be normal in no time. She needs to check her eating habits and exercise regularly, don't worry armaan knows what to do!
Just then Billy walked in followed by armaan and muskaan.
Armaan: Rahul! What happened? Shilpa?
Rahul trying to calm everyone: chill guys! Aunty's blood pressure had risen b'coz of which she was feeling some breathlessness. I've given her extra medicine right now, you'll have to check again in the evening armaan before giving her medicine.
Billy: Ananya! What is this? Are you trying to scare the children!
Shilpa worriedly: no uncle! She was really feeling quiet bad when I found her!(everyone looked at shilpa who was trying to act calm but her eyes gave away her worry)
Muskaan: it just a little fluctuation in blood pressure nothing serious. Relax!
Shilpa tried to relax but felt anxious so stayed quiet her eyes not leaving Ananya's face, whose color looked better than before. She kept looking at Ananya who sat there with her eyes closed, shilpa walked up to her and sat down on the floor beside her. She hesitantly placed her hand on her arm making ananya open her eyes and look at her questioningly.
Shilpa: are you feeling better now? No more breathlessness? And what about the throbbing at your temples?
Ananya looked at shilpa's worried face and couldn't help but respond: beta! I'm fine! (she touched shilpa's face lightly, smoothing back the hair that waved around her face)
Shilpa closed her eyes at her touch and swayed lightly, opening her eyes she looked at ananya: plz take care of yourself! You are very important to all of us!
Armaan walked up to her and sat down beside her: Shilpa! are you alright?
Shilpa drew in a shuddering breath: no! (before armaan could ask her anuthing) armaan you are so very lucky to have your parents safe and healthy with you. Don't take them for granted!
Ananya: where are your parents?(she asked shilpa without thinking making armaan glare at her but to everyone's surprise shilpa answered)
Shilpa with grief etched on her face: they're both gone!(her breath hitched) my mother died of a stroke. One day my mother and I were going through old clothes nd other junk when suddenly she collapsed, by the time we managed to get her to the hospital it was too late. My father died a couple of years later during a break in at our place, (shilpa stopped unable to go on further)
Armaan wrapped his arms around her offering love and support to get through a painful memory. Shilpa closed her eyes as she felt his arms close around her soaking in the love he offered. Shilpa drew back and tried smiling inspite of the ache that had lodged itself in her heart at the memory of her mother.
Ananya saw her son offer unconditional love and support to shilpa who had looked ready to break down any second but had managed to somehow smile through her personal anguish. As the days passed she saw how everyone gravitated around shilpa, she observed the ever confusing relationship rahul and shilpa shared, the sisterly bond between her and muskaan. Ananya had been part of rahul and muskaan's life for a long time as they were armaan's oldest friends, she had always wished for them to end up together and saw their blossoming relationship with shilpa at the centre of it.
 She also saw her son's love for shilpa and shilpa's for him. There was more than a sexual element to their relationship armaan could easily lay down his life for her without giving it a second thought. For shilpa there was no one else but armaan in the whole world, he was her whole world. 
Then there was her husband Billy who was flirting outrageously with shilpa, who didn't seem to mind and was enjoying his company.
Shilpa commenting on Billy's attitude: now I know from where does armaan gets his charm. There is no one who can stay immune to it.(She smiled at Billy, verytime she looked at him she felt as if she was looking at armaan 30-35 years later. Armaan was a carbon copy of his father in looks)
Looking at shilpa laugh at something Billy said Ananya couldn't help but marvel at shilpa's strength of character. In the face of such adversity she had not given up, she had managed to rise from the ashes of her past life and make a life, a family for herself with these people.
To be honest she could not deny the fact that shilpa took care of her better than her own son. She knew when at night armaan came to check on her in the room was more on shilpa's insistence than his own. She knew every morning when armaan brought her breakfast and gave her the medicines it was shilpa who had pushed him in having his breakfast there along with her. Shilpa herself never forced her presence on ananya making her feel ashamed at her behavior as she was the adult in this scenario but she planned to correct her mistake.
In the evening when Shilpa had come back from her shift from caf Ananya asked her to come sit by her. Shilpa sat near her with a glass of juice in her hand: how are you? Do you need anything?
Ananya: I'm fine beta! I've been meaning to say something to you for some days now but something usually comes up.
Shilpa intrigued: its ok aunty! You can say it to me now!
Ananya looked in her clear eyes: I'm sorry beta! For saying all those wicked things about you when we first met.
Shilpa shaking her head: but aunty why are you apologizing? You have every right! If you hadn't said anything then I would've worried plus if my mother would've been alive she would've said and done the exact same thing.
Ananya looked at the beautiful girl infront of her and realized her spirit was just as beautiful as her face: you know it is one thing to know that you've been replaced in your son's life by some one else and then to know exactly why!
Shilpa looked at ananya with tears in her eyes and without another thought threw her arms around her: don't say that! Never say that! No one can ever take your place aunty! And if armaan is dumb enough not to know that then I feel sorry for him.
Ananya laughed at the impulsive yet lovable girl in her arms. Shilpa drew back and seriously: Aunty! I love armaan! Its not b'coz  he's handsome and charming, though that helps (making ananya laugh again) its not even b'coz of the fact that  he has been here for me always or the fact that he's the only man in my life that I remember. I love him b'coz he has the most beautiful soul, he is without a doubt the most honorable I think I've ever known and that I know he has taken from you. The values that you have instilled in him have  made him the man I fell in love with.
Ananya didn't know she had tears in her eyes till she felt them flowing down her cheeks. She looked at the girl sitting infront of her with love shining through her eyes not only for her son but for her also and knew that they were blessed. This girl had somehow managed to see below the mask that all of them wore to protect their hearts, she leaned over and kissed shilpa on the forehead.
Anany: I have something to ask of you. First, from this moment onwards you are to call me maa! No more aunty! You are the daughter I had always wished for and have finally found.(shilpa threw her arms around her and this time could not control her tears)
Shilpa could only manage: maa!
Ananya smiled through her tears and pulled back: another thing and listen carefully! Armaan like you said is a decent honorable man but at the end he is just a man. Being a man and to top it a doctor he has this god phobia like my husband at times. B'coz  he's my son and I like you very much, and want both of you to be happy together I'll say this much. Shilpa! you are stronger than armaan!i'm not talking about the physical strength but the emotional and spiritual strength. This is only the start of your journey together god willing you have a long road infront of you. Armaan is will definitely going to react like a man thinking that is the right way to deal with problems or situations, these are the times that your strength will come into play.
Shilpa: maa! I promise you I won't let armaan be a jerk and spoil our lives.
Ananya laughed: beta! Being jerk is part of being a man! So promise me instead that you won't give up!
Shilpa smiling: I promise!


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