Thursday, 14 December 2017

PART 54:Ehsaas

After speaking with some of the local people, Armaan went up to Sid, "thanks yaar….your song was very touching. Ab kya plan hai tera? Wapas London jaayega ya Mumbai mein hi rahega?"

"Main Mumbai mein ek music company ke liye kaam karoonga….as a matter of fact, they need a female voice for their next album….do you think Riddhima would be interested? Her last album was such a hit." Sid asked innocently, unaware of the dynamics between the estranged couple.

Armaan fumbled a little, "w..why don't you ask Riddhima? You know she is a mother now."

Sid patted Armaan's shoulder, "tho tu kis kaam ka hai? Jab wo recording par aaye, tab tu sambhaal lena apne bete ko!"

Armaan just coughed at that remark and thought, "kaash aisa ho sakta…main tho roz uski dekh baal karne ko tayyar hoon."

"Hey RIDDHIMA! RIDDHIMA! Come here girl!" Sid gestured Riddhima to join them.

Riddhima looked at Sid quizzically, but Sid kept waving his hands, "c'mon Riddhima! Ek baat karni hai tumsey!"

Riddhima handed Arnav to Padma and walked towards Sid and Armaan.

"Well, Riddhima main chaahta hoon tum mere saath phir gaana shuru kar do," Sid said.

Riddhima looked strangely at both men, "Gaana? Lekin ab tho main yahan rehti hoon….yahan na tho koi studio hai aur na hi koi music company."

"Don't worry Riddhima…mainey sab soch liya hai….tumhey sirf week mein ek baar Mumbai aana hoga recording ke liye….there is no rush to finish the album….we will take our time…please don't say no….Armaan ko bhi mauka milega, ek din apne ghar aur bete ko sambhal ne ka," Sid slapped Armaan's back again as he said that.

Riddhima gave a sharp look to Armaan. Armaan was visibly embarrassed, "uh..uh…wo wo…Riddhima…yeh sab Sid ka idea hai….the decision is entirely yours."

Riddhima turned to Sid and said, "mujhey manzoor hai Sid! I will come to Mumbai every Saturday, maa Arnav ko rakh lengi….he is VERY COMFORTABLE WITH HER!" she gave a cold look to Armaan.

"Great! Wonderful!" Sid then took leave as he had an appointment in Mumbai later that day.

Armaan walked behind Riddhima, "Riddhima, please trust me, mainey Sid se kuch nahin kaha tha."

Riddhima paused and just said coldly, "Armaan, tumhare mooh se TRUST jaisa shabd achcha nahin lagta!" and walked off.

Armaan just looked at her tearfully as she took Arnav from Padma and walked out of the hospital complex.


Armaan got busy with the administration and workload at the new hospital. He was really enjoying his new role as the Chief Medical officer. The hospital became the main center of medical treatment in Ramgarh within months. The hospital was always full, with plenty of work for every doctor at the facility.

Riddhima heard a lot about the hospital, and how well it was run from her colleagues at the school, from sabziwallahs, from shopkeepers, from neighbors….it seemed everyone was thrilled to have such good medical care right at their doorstep.

Riddhima could not help feeling a sense of pride whenever she heard anything positive about Armaan or the hospital. Everyone raved about the personal care and attention they received at the hospital, and how compassionate and empathetic Dr Malik was with each patient! Riddhima wondered, "kya sach much itna badal gaya hai Armaan?"

Armaan spent most of his time at the hospital, and had very little time for himself now. Whenever he felt exhausted or overwhelmed from work, he would silently follow Riddhima and Arnav on their walks. Armaan and Riddhima would often bump into each other at the local supermarket or clothing store, but hardly exchanged any words. Armaan's eyes would light up whenever he saw her, especially when Arnav was around. Even Arnav would get excited and would clap his baby hands whenever he saw Armaan. Riddhima tried to hide her feelings, but did not mind the developing bond between the father and the son. She could see that Armaan was very fond of Arnav and craved to hold his son in his arms.

Armaan never took up Padma's offer to go and see his son when Riddhima was away at school; he did not want to do anything behind Riddhima's back and break her trust further.

One day, Riddhima finally spoke to Armaan, "Armaan….kal Arnav ka birthday hai."

"Jaanta hoon!" Armaan bent down and wrinkled his nose at Arnav. Arnav in turn, pulled Armaan's nose with his little fingers. Arnav's grip was pretty strong; Armaan almost fell over by his pull. As Armaan tried to get his balance back, his face brushed against Riddhima's bare arm, sending shivers through her spine.

"Oh…I am sorry!" Armaan said as he just realized what had just happened. He noticed Riddhima had turned red from his touch and had goose bumps on her skin. Armaan was pleased to see that she was still aroused by his touch.

"Wo…Arnav ki birthday mein tumhey invite karna tha…kal shaam 6 baje hai," she composed herself and said.

Armaan was in seventh heaven; he could not believe that Riddhima had invited him to his son's birthday herself!

"Riddhima…that would be my pleasure! I would love to be a part of MY SON'S BIRTHDAY PARTY!" he rolled his tongue happily.


The party was held at Padma's home. The living room was decorated with balloons, streamers, and lights everywhere.

Arnav looked adorable in his black and red kiddie outfit. Riddhima wore a pink chiffon sari with beautiful pearl earrings and necklace. Atul had just arrived from Pune for the big occasion. Tamanna and a few other neighborhood friends were also present.

Armaan arrived promptly at 6 pm. He looked dashing in a white shirt and black trousers. He was received at the door by Tamanna, "Jiju aap? So nice to see you!" She was pleasantly surprised to see him. Riddhima had not told anyone that she had invited Armaan. Padma was pleased to see her son-in-law too. Atul tensed a little on seeing Armaan, "yeh yahan kya kar raha hai?"

Riddhima turned around and saw Armaan with a big package in his hand, "bhaiyya…mainey invite kiya hai usey." Atul raised an eyebrow, but remained silent, as he knew that there was a reason Riddhima must have invited him. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "tho kya tumhare beech ab sab theek hai?"

"Nahin bhaiyya…..main bas Arnav ki khushi chaahti hoon….aur kuch nahin!" Riddhima went forward to greet Armaan. In the mean time, Armaan had found Arnav on the floor; he picked him up and gave him a kiss on his cheeks, "Happy Birthday son!" Arnav giggled loudly and slapped Armaan's face with his tiny hands. Armaan nibbled at his cute hands and kissed them affectionately.

The cute father-son bonding brought a smile on Riddhima's face.

"Hello Armaan!" Riddhima walked behind them.

Armaan turned around and almost gasped at seeing Riddhima in her pink sari- she looked ethereal, even more beautifu now that she was a mother. Armaan remembered how they had gotten engaged in this same place almost 3 1/2 years ago. He remembered how excited they both had been, and how they had kissed passionately in Riddhima's bedroom upstairs. He wished, he could take her into his arms and carry her to some corner and shower her with kisses once again. Riddhima became a little conscious as she realized his piercing gaze on her body; a part of her was glad that she still had that effect on him.

Riddhima took Arnav from Armaan's arms and said, "chalo beta cake ka time ho gaya hai."

Armaan followed Riddhima; he was so mesmerized by her that he did not see where he was going. He bumped into Tamanna, who was carrying a tray with soft drinks. CRASH! The glasses and drinks all spilled over Armaan's crisp white shirt and fell on the ground.

"SORRY JIJU!" Tamanna exclaimed. Everyone turned around and saw Armaan drenched in a variety of soda colors.

"Arre Armaan ki shirt kharab ho gayi….zara Atul beta apni ek shirt de dena Armaan ko." Padma said.

Atul came back with his t-shirt, "yeh pehen lo Armaan."

Armaan was pleasantly surprised to hear a friendly tone from Atul, "thanks Atul. Main abhi aaya," he went upstairs and walked into Riddhima's room by force of habit. He shut the door and started unbuttoning his wet shirt. He was standing bare-chested, when he heard the door open behind him. It was Riddhima; she had come to pick something from her room before the cake was cut.

Riddhima froze as soon as she saw Armaan standing in front of her with his shirt off, "I am s..sorry…wo main kuch lene aayi thi." She lowered her eyes.

Armaan went close to her and held her hand. He whispered gently, "Riddhima…you don't have to be sorry….kya mujhey itna paraaya kar diya hai tumney?" Riddhima could feel the pain in his voice. She freed her hand and turned around, "Armaan…paraaya tho tumney usee din kar diya tha….khair ab un baaton ko dohraane se kya faayda? Jaldi neeche aa jao, sab cake ka intezaar kar rahe hain."

Armaan grabbed her from behind; his warm bare skin touched her back, "Riddhima….please wapas aa jao….I miss you Basanti! Aur kitna tadpaaogi apne Veeru ko? I love you jaan!" he kissed the back of her neck and moved up behind her ears. His lips set her skin on fire. She moaned slightly, but then realized what was happening.

"STOP ARMAAN! Mainey tumhey yahan Arnav ki birthday ke liye bulaaya tha! Please don't play any games with me!" she said tearfully and ran outside the door. She took a deep breath on the stairs and walked down calmly, "yeh mujhey kya ho raha hai? Armaan kyon meri feelings ke saath baar baar khelta hai? Kyon main phir uske kareeb jaana chaahti hoon?"

She came back to the living room, where everyone was eagerly waiting for the cake to be cut. She was visibly shaken and tried best to appear calm.

Armaan was hurt by her rejection; he put on Atul's t-shirt and quietly followed her downstairs.

Riddhima picked Arnav in her arms and got ready to help him cut the cake.

"Arre Armaan beta…tum bhi cake katwaa do Arnav ki," Padma saw Armaan standing in a corner.

"Haan, jiju…aap bhi aage aa jao," Tamanna echoed Padma's request.

Armaan hesitated, but walked through the crowd. He glanced at Riddhima, who just lowered her eyes, and handed the knife to Armaan.

Armaan held Arnav's little hands in his big hand and helped him blow the candle and cut a tiny piece of cake. Riddhima broke off a little piece from the slice to feed Arnav. Armaan did the same. Their hands met as they both had their fingers close to Arnav's mouth. They looked at each other, but Riddhima withdrew her hand, "pehle tum khilaa do!"

Armaan fed the tiny piece to Arnav and then licked the same finger with his mouth. Everyone clapped and sang the birthday song for little Arnav.

Arnav immersed his hand into the whole slice and smeared it on Armaan's face. Armaan chuckled at his son's naughtiness and whispered, "bilkul baap par gaya hai!"

Riddhima was the only one who heard that comment and could not help blushing. She vividly remembered how Armaan had smeared her once with his shaving cream, and then how he had carried her to the shower and made love to her! She shook her head, as she wanted to stay away from such thoughts forever.


No comments:

Post a Comment