Sunday, 10 December 2017

PART 52:Ehsaas

After about a month or so, Arnav was discharged from the hospital. He was bigger and stronger now, and not dependant on any medical support any longer. Riddhima had recuperated from her surgery well.

Muskaan also tried to talk to Riddhima about Armaan, but Riddhima was adamant about her decision.

"Riddhima….tumhey tho ab sab pataa hai ki yeh sab Anjali aur Abhimanyu ki chaal thi, ab tho Armaan ko maaf kar do," Muskaan pleaded.

"Muskaan…Armaan koi doodh peeta bachcha nahin hai ki kisi ke behkaave mein aa jaaye; kal agar koi aur aakar usey behkaaye, tho wo phir mera dil thod sakta hai….main aise aadmi ke paas ab kabhie nahin jaa sakti……usey apne pyaar se zyaada aur logon par vishwaas tha….aur aage bhi yahi kar sakta hai…..Muskaan, I can't keep getting hurt again and again…..main ab sirf Arnav ke liye jee rahi hoon….Armaan se mera koi rishta nahin hai!" Riddhima said firmly.

Muskaan knew it would be hard to convince a determined woman like Riddhima. Muskaan and Rahul had agreed to work at the new Ramgarh hospital once it was completed. They would devote at least 1-2 days a week there, and also had invested in the hospital financially. Muskaan kept that a secret from Riddhima.

"Muskaan….tumhey chhod ne ka mann tho nahi hai, par ab humein wapas jaana hi hoga…..thanks for all your help." Riddhima hugged Muskaan as they left.

"Apne logon mein thanks thode hi bolte hain. Ab main Arnav ki maasi hoon… no thanks whanks…OK?"

"Maasi?" Riddhima was surprised, as Muskaan had always wanted to be Arnav's 'bua'

"Haan Riddhima…..itne din tumhare saath rehkar mujhey aisa lagta hai ki tum meri behen ho……main shayad Armaan ke bhi itne kareeb kabhie nahin thi," Muskaan said tearfully.

Riddhima hugged Muskaan again, "you are a wonderful person Muskaan……bhagwan tumhey aur Rahul ko hamesha salaamat rakhe."

After bidding a tearful goodbye, Riddhima, Padma, Tamanna, Atul and Arnav all drove back to Ramgarh.

When they were almost home, Tamanna pointed out to some new construction on the way, 'dekho maasi….lagta hai koi nayi building ban rahi hai?"

"Arre haan…zara padhna tho wahan sign kya likha hai?" Padma took her glasses out to read the sign posted on the partially constructed building.

Riddhima said loudly, "Maa….yeh tho….DR SHASHANK MISRA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL!"

They all looked at each other in pleasant surprise.

"Aakhir yeh nek kaam kaun kar raha hai?" Padma asked

"Maa….lagta hai maamaji ki itne saalon ki sewa ko aakhir kisi ne pehchaan hi liya… duniya mein abhi bhi achche log baaki hain." Riddhima said.

Tamanna had overheard Rahul talking to Armaan about the new hospital on the phone one day. She kept quiet, but was pleased to hear something complimentary about her jiju, even if indirectly, from her cousin's mouth!

Armaan was overwhelmed with the positive response from his old friends and corporate sponsors about the new hospital. They had managed to raise enough money for the project. They also worked on building staff quarters for all the visiting doctors. Armaan was amazed to see how many young doctors really wanted to work in the underserved areas, as long as good facilities and living conditions were available.

Armaan had sold his mansion and was living in a small apartment now. He had invested all his savings in the new project. The project would take almost 6-9 months to complete. He continued to work at the Modi Surgical center till then, more to earn money for his new project, than for job satisfaction.

One day, Armaan received a surprise visitor at his office, "Abhimanyu? What are you doing here?" he asked angrily.

"Calm down Armaan! Main yahan ladhne nahin aaya hoon…..bas tumse maafi maangne aaya hoon." Abhimanyu said

"Maafi? It is just a little too late for that Abhimanyu! You have ruined my life forever, so don't want and don't care about your apologies!" Armaan retorted.

"Armaan, trust me….even I was taken for a ride by Anjali….you won't believe it, after you kicked her out, she tried to trap my dad into marrying her- in fact he actually fell for her evil charms. Wo tho maine unhey rok liya….warna aaj wo mere dad ko bhi barbaad kar deti. That is when I saw her true colors and became a police informant. She even tried to get you killed!" Abhimanyu said.

Armaan calmed down a little bit and sat down, "thanks for saving my life Abhimanyu and I am sorry to hear about your dad….good thing you saved him from that evil woman!"

"I know, this will not compensate for what I have done to you and Riddhima, but I would like to give you this check for Rs 1 crore on behalf of me and my dad for your new project…..we want you to really succeed in this venture…..we all feel responsible for your loss…..balki main Riddhima se bhi baat karna chaahta hoon." Abhimanyu offered him the check and got up.

"Thanks Abhimanyu! Par Riddhima kisi ki baat nahin sunegi….I have wronged her the most; it's no one else's fault but mine…..I appreciate your honesty and help." Armaan shook his hand; he wanted to hug his old friend but things would never be the same again with Abhimanyu, even if he wanted to!

The next six months flew by in frenzy. Armaan was busy shuttling between Mumbai and Ramgarh. He would every so often sneak outside Padma and Riddhima's home, hoping to catch a glimpse of his family. He had seen Riddhima go out on walks with little Arnav in the stroller. Arnav was now a chubby little one; his cheeks almost touching his shoulders. Armaan was always tempted to pinch or kiss his cheeks. Riddhima had lost most of her pregnancy flab; she was back to her slim but curvy self. How he wished to hold her and caress her. His heart, soul and body ached for her nearness.

Even though, she would never admit to it, Riddhima also missed Armaan terribly. She knew he would have been a wonderful father, even though he failed miserably as a husband. The teddy bear Armaan had purchased for their first child had become a constant companion for Arnav. He had nibbled the teddy's ears and face so many times, that it looked worn out. Riddhima's expert hands performed surgical procedures on the little teddy time and again, so it would not fall apart completely, "Arnav…..tumhari mama bhi tumhare papa ki tarah plastic surgeon ban gayi hai, tumhare teddy ko fix karte karte!" she said affectionately when they were strolling on the street. Armaan overheard that comment from behind a tree; his eyes welled up, "Riddhima…..I know you miss me as much as I do…..kya hamari poori zindagi aise hi door door rehkar kategi?"

Song to express Armaan and Riddhima's yearning for each other:

"O sanam O sanam" from "jurm"

O sanam o sanam kash hota agar
Tum nibha jate yeh zindagi ka safar
Hum bhi tanha na rahete yu umar bhar
Tum saath hote agar
Tum saath hote agar

O sanam o sanam kash hota agar
Tum nibha jate yeh zindagi ka safar
Tu tanha na rahete yu umar bhar
Tum saath hote agar
Tum saath hote agar

Itni mujhe hai khabaar
Tanha bhikaar jaoonga
Tere tamana liye
Mai kuch bhi kar jaoonga
Kash humko bana lete tum humsafar
Tum saath hote agar
Tum saath hote agar

Apne labo ki hashi aye kash dedo tujhe
Mere khushi lele tu
Gaam apna dede mujhe
Kash hoti tumhe mere dil ki khabaar
Tum saath hote agar
Tum saath hote agar

O sanam o sanam kash hota agar
Tum nibha jate yeh zindagi ka safar
Tu tanha na rahete yu umar bhar
Tum saath hote agar
Tum saath hote agar

……to be contd….

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