Thursday, 1 March 2018

part 3 : Belonging (AR Mini ff)

"Riddhima" the name escaped his lips like a petal leaves a rose and cascades gently to the ground. He hadn't meant to say her name but knowing she was standing mere inches from him had him loosing all control. He wanted to yell at her but it was as if after saying her name he could say nothing more, he willed his tongue to speak but no words would come, only soft blows of cold air escaped his lightly open mouth. He wished she would turn; he wanted to see her, see that face, those eyes that haunted him for the past 15 years. He felt a sudden urge; which he controlled to yank her arm and force her to face him.

 Riddhima fought her own battle, her heart pounded violently threatening to slash out of her chest; her breathing had already become shallow as she clung to the railing holding it so tight that her knuckles were turning white. His voice had caused her back to stiffen, she didn't think she could move, let alone turn around and face him. Yet she compelled, compelled her drumming heart to calm it self, and steadying her weak leg she turned.

She knew if she hadn't been holding on to the railing for support she would have fallen. Her legs had already turned to jelly and now seeing him in front of her, they had completely given out. She heard a gasp but didn't know if it had escaped his lips or hers; all she knew now was that she was finally face to face with the man to whom she belonged.

She stared at him disbelievingly devouring the sight of him. Clad in grey trousers and a crisp blue shirt; that fit snuggly at his bulging muscles; he was dressed to kill. She smiled involuntarily picturing her young companion as a business tycoon. She let her eyes wander from his face to his exposing chest which rose and fell evenly unlike hers. His hair were longer than she remembered, his jaw line sharp and manly, his grey eyes; a mixture of ice and steel as always felt warm to her. She covered her mouth to suppress her sobs as the saline water glided down her rosy cheeks; she knew she couldn't control her emotions anymore. She wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time. Her once immature and easily angered friend had grown in to an utterly handsome man; if only the he would smile and show her his deep set dimples; he would look nothing short than a Greek god.

Armaan swore he felt the earth move from under his feet; she was beautiful Kaka had said, but was beautiful enough to justify the women? NO! She was not just beautiful, she was gorgeous, she was ethereal and in that white churidaar which fit so sinuously around her petite frame, she looked nothing but heavenly. His eyes met hers and he felt himself drowning, after 15 years he was loosing himself again in those emeralds eyes of hers, it was not until her long lashes hazed his view that he tore himself away. Her skin was just like he had remembered; creamy white with a hint of pink which colored her cheeks as if she was wearing a rose. He had never noticed how voluptuous her lips were, she had colored them a light shade of pink which matched perfectly with her rosy cheeks. It was not until he heard her suppressing sobs that broke him out of his reverie.

"What are you doing here Riddhima?" It surprised him how cold his voice could be and he knew it surprised her too. She had at once stopped crying and stared incredulously; as if trying to make it whether she was dreaming or had he really sounded so bitter.


He closed his eyes upon hearing his name; never before had his name sounded so pure and sweet. He waited for her to continue, his ears longed to hear her soft voice but when he received no response from her he forced his eyes to open and focused once again on her lovely face. It took him a moment to recover and to remember the reason for the eerie silence. His concentration snapped like a twig as his hostility towards her returned.

Riddhima stood bewildered with his sudden question, what more was that she was frightened by the sudden coldness of his voice. She was expecting for him to rush to her and embrace her in his arms; and perhaps hold her there till eternity, but instead she was welcomed by a rather unpleasant question. She did not know what to say to him; how to answer him, she was actually hoping that he would accept her without any questions asked. She longed to touch him, to reach out to him, but he stood motionless and erect waiting for her response.

Should she tell him the reason for her sudden appearance after 15 years of no contact; which she knew was entirely her fault, but what could she do? Her mother had forbade her to write to him, speak to him or even speak of him. If her mother could control her thoughts she knew she would have compelled her to not think of him. She was a child and had no control over the situation, on one side it was the yearning to contact him and on the other was her mother's orders; that she could not disrespect. She understood her mother's predicament for Armaan was never the perfect gentleman; even if he was a child. Unfortunately for her, her mother had not seen the love for Riddhima in Armaan's eyes, but Riddhima had. She could not blame her mother for that; anyone in her situation would not believe that the boy who yelled and pushed a young girl around was in fact in love with her.

What should she tell him; her mind questioned her incessantly. Should she tell him that she loved him, should she tell him that she was sorry for never writing to him, never contacting him? Should she tell him that she was engaged to be wed, yet could not bring herself to forget him? Should she tell him that she felt that she belonged solely to him? Should she tell him that she wished to be in his arms from now till eternity?

"Why the hell are you here Riddhima?" She shook with fear at the sudden intensity of his voice. His face bulged with the rage that rose from his aching heart. He had waited attentively for her to continue, but yet again she tested his patience and fiddled carelessly with her duppatta, ignoring his concern and hurting him with her silence.

"Armaan" She started softly only to stop yet again.

"ARMAAN! ARMAAN! ARMAAN! Speak further Riddhima, I don't have all day to stand here and listen to you chant my name!"

Turning her hands into fists she dug her nails deep into her skin trying hard not to break down. What was wrong with him why was he acting so mean? They were meeting after 15 years and this was how he was treating her? It was obvious now that he was not happy to see her. Gulping down a sob she continued with a shaky voice "I came to see how you were doing"

"Came to see how I was doing, oh how kind of you Ms. Riddhima. Thank you for coming to see how I was doing after 15 god dame years Ms. Riddhima Gupta" He spat out at her sarcastically.

"Armaan please" if only he would let her continue

His voice calmed as he looked at her, confused and distraught. She looked like a lost child, shivering with fear. Ignoring her yet again he walked towards the door, trying hard not to look at her.

"You've seen me now. I am perfectly fit and hearty. I am accomplished and educated and have happily moved on, now you can leave"

She stood rooted at her spot for how many minutes she didn't remember, but when she saw him open the door she dashed out, with tears pouring out of her like the rain outside.

Throwing her bangles angrily across the room, Riddhima didn't care for the pain they were causing. No pain was greater than that of her heart. She cursed herself repeatedly as she prepared to pack her bags. She was stupid, absolutely stupid to have come all this way to see him. She had been so happy to see him, so happy that she knew if she were to die that very moment, she would have no regrets. But what did she get? Resentment, disappointment, vile treatment and hostility! Her mother was right, she had been so blind so entirely blind not to see how accurate her mother had been. He had never loved her! The man had never cared for her!

Shoving her clothes sloppily in the suitcases she could help but erase what he had said. "Have happily moved on" He had told her that, straight to her face, he had happily moved on, and here she was an inane pathetic girl, who could not or rather would not move on! She had a loving and caring fianc yet all she could think about was         HIM!

"His mother is wrong!" she yelled in despair as she closed her bags. Armaan has not changed! He is still the same; he was an egocentric, ruthless and arrogant man! He had moved on he said, well that was just fine; she would move on too! Zipping her suitcase up Riddhima fell to the floor and cried her heart out.

Armaan rummaged through his old room frantically; in the past 20 minutes he had turned his once spotless room completely upside down. His mother had told him nothing was ever moved or touched in his room, then why was it that he could not find the thing he was looking for. Looking desperately in an old trunk now, the lines of worry on his forehead relaxed as the sweet tinkling reached his ears. Shoving the clothes out of the trunk, he smiled slightly as his eyes fell on a pair of gold-plated polki anklets. Bringing the anklets close to his face, he shook them gently; hearing the sweet jingling he remembered a young Riddhima, running in and out of his house annoying him with the sound.

She had been so happy wearing those slim silver payals that he had bought for her at the local mela; they were meant as a token of apology for having hurting her earlier, but he had presented them as a gift minus the sorry. Though he was not a big fan of the sound he was happy to see her glowing face when she had worn them for the first time. He had strictly told her not to walk around too much because the jingling annoyed him, but she had not listened. To irritate him even more she had run around his room and house making as much noise as possible. It had infuriated him to such an extent that he had ran after her and once caught he had forced the anklets off her pretty feet and had smashed them to pieces with a stone.

She did not speak to him for days after that; his apologies had all gone in vain. She refused to come over and play with him; she had even refused to sit next to him in class. It was then that he had broken his personal piggy bank and bought her these new and even prettier anklets. He had hoped to give them to her as a present on her upcoming birthday but unfortunately that chance never came for him. A few months before her 11th birthday, Riddhima had left him forever.

He sighed as he looked at the anklets again, for 15 years they had sat untouched in this trunk. He had thrown away everything that had belonged to her, but he could not throw away the anklets; it was then he had decided to lock them forever. Thinking of her reminded him of their confrontation from earlier. Getting up he walked over to the window and watched as the rain fell down mercilessly. He had not meant to be so harsh with her. At first when he had seen her, he had wanted to just grab her and hold on to her. She looked so small and vulnerable and when he saw those tears escaping those emerald eyes, he had this wild urge to just cradle her in his arms. He cursed himself repeatedly for being so rude, he hadn't even given her a chance to speak; instead like always he had lashed out at her and told her to leave. God why did it have to be this way! He didn't know what had taken over him. He had tried to control his anger, his frustration but it had been balled up inside him way too long.

Banging his fist on the wall he shut his eyes and saw her crying. Once again he had hurt her; it surprised him how he always managed to do that even after 15 years. He knew he was an awful friend to her as a child, always hitting her and shoving her around and she being the true friend that she was would always come back to him. However, he knew she would not be coming back now. It pierced his heart to think of her leaving him again. He loved her, then and now. He did not mean to hurt her, the last thing that he would want in this world was to cause her pain; but he had. Looking out the gate to the main road, his eyes searched for her. She won't come his mind told him.

Putting the anklets deep in his pocket, he ran out of his room. So what if she won't come to him, this time he would go to her!

Leaving the note she had written to Seema Mausie by the telephone. Riddhima picked up her suitcases to leave. In the note she had vaguely explained the reason for her sudden departure hoping her Mausie would accept her apologies for having to leave so soon and that too without a proper goodbye. She had also invited Mausie and Mausaji to her wedding to Rahul and had promised to notify her as soon as the date was fixed; which would be ASAP. Hearing the light knocking at the door Riddhima quickly wiped her tears and gave a last look at her Mausie's house. She had been able to get a hold of Surya Bhaiya who had agreed to drive her over to the train station.

Heading towards the door she couldn't help but wonder at the strange sensation arising in her body. Her heart; as if sensing its owner beat wildly inside of her as her trembling hands worked to turn the knob. It was when her eyes met the steel of his did her heart begin to relax.  At first she thought she was hallucinating but when he walked inside closing the door behind him, did she realize that he was in fact the real thing.


"15 years Riddhima! I waited desperately for some news from you. A letter, a phone call, anything! Even when I was away I would call and ask whether there was something from you, when I would come and visit I would run for the mail like an idiot hoping you had sent something. Nothing! Absolutely nothing! In these 15 years I heard not a word of you Riddima. I can't tell you what that did to me. I had given up hope after I returned from the US, there was still no news from you and I knew then that there would never be. I moved to Mumbai but refused to look you up. Why should I? It was clearly evident that you had forgotten me so why should I go around looking for you? I was always a bit arrogant but you knew that didn't you, but can you really blame me Riddhima?

He turned his tear streaked face towards her and found hers to be equally wet. No matter how hard he tried, he could not bring himself to hate her. He had been trying for the past 15 years and now he was tired of forcing himself to dislike her.

"I really missed you Riddhima, did you miss me?"

It was all she needed him to say; it was all the sign she needed for her to break in to a run and rush in to his arms. He welcomed her with just the same amount of passion and love, as she clung to him, he clung to her more; finally feeling content and at peace. He soothed her as she cried hysterically in his arms, caressing her hair, whispering sweet words of support, trying to calm her shaking body; which trembled violently due to her sobs.

After what seemed like ages he felt her relax in his arms; her head still resting snuggly against his chest. He closed his eyes and gently breathed in the scent of her, his arm still stroked her silky hair while the other was wrapped protectively around her waist. The feeling of having her in his arms was like no other he'd ever experienced before. She fit so perfectly in his arms that it had surprised him a little, he felt as if his arms were meant just for her. Tightening his hold on her he lightly brushed his lips on her hair, never before had he felt so peaceful and content.

Riddhima snuggled in deeper into his chest as she felt him tighten his hold around her tiny waist. She felt so perpetually blissful in his arms. His arms were strong and protective; she felt as if she was hidden and safe from the atrocities of the world. She felt as if no danger, no plague no disease, no sorrow could touch her now. His arms felt like a shield that would forever keep her secure. Hearing the soft sound of his beating heart she smiled shyly to herself, he had spoken from the depths of this very heart, yet no words of love were uttered; did they really need them she mused.

Yet again her turn to speak had not come, she had a lot to say, she a lot of explanations to give, but for now she just wanted to loose herself in his arms. She felt so at home, so at peace; it was then that it hit her that she had indeed truly belonged to him, she belonged right here in these very arms, next to his beating heart.


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