Saturday, 16 June 2018

One Shot : You Will Forever Be My Always



PART-A

He stood outside the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for what seemed like forever but in reality had only been a couple of hours, his eyes bloodshot with already shed and yet to be unshed tears, he felt like life was being sucked out of him as he kept his teary gaze fixed on his wife as she lay inside the ICU battling for her life while he did the same seeing her condition. His numb hand moved up on its own accord touching the small window through which he saw his wife while another lone tear made its way down his eyes...The night grew darker but he did not move from his place, his friends begged him to sit down but he did not even bother answering them, suddenly he heard the sound of a crying
baby and his heart skipped a beat. He turned around to see his mother in law, Padma Gupta walk towards him with a four month old baby bundled in her arms crying her eyes out. How could he have forgotten about her, she needed him, now more than ever and no matter how sad or hurt he felt he had to be there for her. "I am sorry Armaan maine bohot koshsih ki...but she just would not stop crying, isliye I had to get her here" said Padma as the man who was none other than the famous business tycoon Armaan Malik took his baby girl in his arms. "Shh bas..bas...its okay...shh" cooed Armaan to the little baby who cried continuously.  He rubbed her back soothingly and she did quiet down for a few second as she sensed the warmth of her father's arms but she wanted her mother to hold her, the whole day had passed since she had seen her mother and that was obviously making the little baby very restless "Bashh baby... Dada haina yaha...stop crying sweetie" Armaan said cuddling her closer to himself but she just did not stop crying making him and everyone else around teary as well as they saw the child crave for her mother. Armaan turned towards the ICU again and glanced at his wife, his Ridhima before once again turning his gaze towards the crying child in his arms, feeling helpless and hurt at the same time.



Zindagi bewafaa hai yeh maana magar
Chhod kar raah mein jaaoge tum agar
Chheen laaunga main aasmaan se tumhein
Soona hoga na yeh do dilon ka nagar


He kept swaying Arima in his arms trying to calm her down but nothing worked, Padma had informed him that she tried feeding her with the bottle that Ridhima had pumped and stored in the fridge but she hardly had a few sips and left it and this made him all the worried. He was really concerned seeing her cry so much and did not understand what to do, everyone present their tried their best to make her stop crying but she did not stop, just then Armaan remembered something and without wasting another second walked towards the benches placed around the waiting area, he sat down and laid Arima in his lap in a cradle position and then removing his cellphone from his pocket he played an audio that he recorded sometime back, it was an audio of Ridhima singing Arima's favorite lullaby. She normally sang this when Arima would be very cranky and it usually calmed her instantly and Armaan hoped against hope that it worked this time too. And as expected the song or rather Ridhims's voice did the magic for as soon as Armaan played the audio Arima stopped whimpering and soon stopped crying feeling the voice of love, the voice of her mother...She tried looking here and there to find her but gave up eventually and with the soft voice in the background and the extreme fatigue caused due to her constant crying she eventually fell asleep in Armaan's arms. Armaan's eyes turned misty once again seeing the bond Ridhima shared with Arima that just hearing her voice was enough to soothe her and in that one moment he realized how important Ridhima is for both (him and Arima) of them and how badly they needed her in their lives. He looked down at a finally calm and sleeping Arima and could not help but wonder how the day that had started on such a beautiful note for them is ending is in such a dreadful way...

~FLASHBACK~

The sun had just risen and its bright gaze made its way inside a lavish room where Armaan and Ridhima slept soundlessly ensconced in each other's arms. Feeling the piercing rays of the sun Ridhima turned around with a frown and hid her face on her husband's chest making him smile even in his sleep and pull her closer from her waist... "Mmm Morning Mrs. Malik" said Armaan while gently caressing her bare waist under the comforter. "Uhuh yeh morning itni jaldi kaise ho gayi?"complained a highly annoyed Ridhima while hiding herself more into him " Morning jaldi nahi...apki nate night late hui hai"replied back Armaan with a slight chuckle making her frown more. "It's all your fault..."she complained back now finally opening her eyes a little and looking at him who had already been looking at her. "Of course...sab meri hi to galti hai...Sab maine hi to kiya...aap to kuch bhi nahi karti...Yeh jo mere chest par scratches hai woh to shayad koi jungle bili de gayi nahi?" said Armaan teasingly making her blush a deep shade of red. "Armaan..." she rebuked him with a light smack while he just gave his trademark smile and teased her further by saying "Arey wah yeh acha hai pehle raat ko yeh scratches do or phir subha phir maar khao...Main bechara abla mard akhir jau to jau kaha." "Armaan...tum...tum pagal ho" replied Ridhima trying to maintain an angry face but the slight smile curving on her lips was not unnoticed by him..."Hmm woh to main hoon...Tumhare pyaar main" he said winking at her making her smile and shake her head at how he managed to always win her heart with his nautanki. To the world he was the strict, workaholic, business tycoon Armaan Malik but with her he always let his guard loose, he was only her Armaan, the fun loving, chirpy and very romantic man. She looked into his eyes and thought about the last few years of their life, they had been dating since their college days and had been since the last four years and it had been nothing but blissful. Yes they had their ups and downs but their love as always conquered all, they understood each other, they loved each other, they completed each other in the most beautiful way possible...She came out of her thoughts when she felt Armaan nudge her slightly asking her what she was thinking about to which she just shook her head and mumbled a heartfelt "I love you "which just deepened his already prominent dimples "I love you too" he replied back and without wasting a second more he bend down a little and captured her lips in a sweet and sensuous kiss which was equally responded by her as well...Their moment was disturbed by a small cry that made both of them smile between the kiss, they slowly broke the kiss and rested their foreheads together with closed eyes trying to steady their racing heartbeats "Lo ji meri choti princess ka order agaya" said Armaan with a slight chuckle and finally got up tightening the sheet around his lower body he went to get his little angel from her crib which was neatly placed in one beautifully decorated corner of their room. "Awlee my princess woke up...Ina jaldi uth gaya mela baby" said Armaan picking the baby up in his arms and rubbing her back to calm her whimpers. He then walked back to the bed where Ridhima who had changed into his shirt which was sprawled next to her had already sat up waiting for Armaan to get Arima and soon enough she had her little baby cuddled up against her... "Good Morning my baby...apne ache se nini ki?" asked Ridhima placing a loving kiss on her forehead while Armaan sat beside her and  placed his arm around her shoulder smiling at how cutely she spoke to Arima. " I can't believe she is four months old already...Time really flies doesn't it, aise lagta hai kal hi to piada hui thi" said Ridhima caressing Arima's cheek affectionately while Armaan just hmmed as he too admired his little baby who was growing up so fast. Arima was their heartbeat in every sense; they loved her beyond anything else in this whole world. She was a 2 month premature baby and they had nearly lost her at the time of her birth but she was a fighter and she survived all odds to be with them, yes they still had to take certain precautions but none the less having her made them feel complete. They smiled wide when they saw her suck onto Ridhima's finger indicating that she was hungry "My baby is hungry? Chalo abhi hum dudu piyenge and since its Sunday so Dada will make breakfast for us hainaaa "Said Ridhima smiling at her baby girl while Armaan just laughed at how she practically ordered him to go and make breakfast, not that he minded anyway but still his wife and her nautanki always amused him. "Anything else your highness?" he asked in a mock slave tone as he got up and stood in front of her making her giggle as well "No! for now this should be just fine" she replied back feigning attitude making Armaan shake his head "Nautanki" he mumbled leaving the room to adhere to his Princesses' demands while she nursed their little angel.

Around an hour later Ridhima walked down after feeding Arima and giving both of them a bath only to see a fully ready Armaan wearing a chef hat and setting the table with their breakfast. "Ahaan there are my girls...Main kabse tum dono ka wait kar raha tha, Chef Armaan Malik ka special breakfast awaits you" said armaan dramatically bowing in front of them making both girls giggle heartily. "Now let me make my little princess sit on her very special throne..." said Armaan trying to take Arima from Ridhima so as to place her on her high chair but to his utter surprise she just turned her face and hugged Ridhima around her neck. "Hawww Aru...aap dada pass nahi aoge? "Asked Armaan in a dejected tone trying to lure the baby to come to him but she looked at him for a few seconds as if contemplating to go or no but eventually just clung to Ridhima more leaving Armaan with a shocked face and Ridhima laughing at his face! Arima was normally her father's pet and today this little Bart turned her side without even informing him... "Gandu Bachu" said Armaan frowning at the little bundle who pouted  back as if she understood that her dada was upset with her..."But I shtil love you" he cooed in an adorable tone lightly tickling Arima and making her giggle...The trio then proceeded to have breakfast where Armaan took it upon himself to feed his wifey dearest as his little baby had no intensions on leaving her mother. "Armaan woh jo Mr.Kapoor ka project hai na uske liye some interns wants me to come over and discuss a few details" said Ridhima amidst their breakfast. She had been working with Armaan since the last 5 years and was the marketing head of the company...Even now though on a maternity leave yet she did over look all the projects and even Armaan always consulted here before going ahead with anything. "But Aaj to Sunday Hai so how come they are working?" Asked Armaan passing a forkful of the pancake to her. "Mmm the deadline is getting closer na so they are really working hard...that's why they have requested me to come over today" she replied back while eating the bite to which Armaan nodded. "Hmm...I see so what time do you plan to leave? "" I'll leave after lunch...Lekin Armaan I'm a little worried, Dekho na Aru Aaj itni chup si hai and she is not even leaving me since morning...Aise main use chodke jana..." she said looking down at a very quiet Arima in her lap. "Oho Ridhima don't be silly sweetheart she probably just had a bad dream last night is liye Aaj aise hai...You don't worry and Vaise bhi by the time you will leave it will be time for her afternoon nap and uske uthne se pehle to Tum wapas bhi ajaogi and God forbid nahi ayi to you always leave an extra feed for her in the fridge(NOTE: Since she is very small plus premature she can only be breast fed so Ridhima makes sure to keep an extra feed stored just in case) ...Aur phir Main hoon na uske sath I'll take care of her" replies Armaan assuringly and reluctantly though she too agreed.

So as decided after lunch Ridhima put Arima down for a nap and then left for work after being assured by Armaan for more than a million times that he would manage...After bidding her goodbye and asking her to drive safely Armaan came back to his room where his little princess was enjoying her beauty sleep and thought to take a nap himself too, not having any idea what life had in stored for him post this nap...After around on hour or so...Armaan woke up to the sound of his mobile vibrating. He looked around to find it under his pillow and was surprised to see Naina (one of Ridhima's intern) calling... He quickly walked out of the room so as to not disturb Arima who was thankfully still sleeping and answered the call..."Hello Armaan Sir I am really sorry to disturb you but could you pls get Ridhima Ma'am on the line, we have been trying to call her since a while but..." " One second what do you mean by get Ridhima on the line isn't she there in office with you guys ?" Asked Armaan cutting the intern in between feeling something really odd within him. "No sir she is not here, unhone Kaha tha that she will be here by 3 max but it's already past 4 and she is not here, hum kabse unhe call kar Rahe hai but she is not even answering her call is liye humne apko call kiya..." explained the intern. "Ridhima abhi tak nahi pochi? She has left more than two hours back" Said Armaan glancing at the wall clock beside him as he suddenly felt his heart race at a faster pace. "Sir...Sir are you there? " Asked the intern on hardly getting any response but soon she just heard an I'll call you back followed by a bang. Armaan frantically tried calling Ridhima but there was no response, the bell would ring but nobody would answer. He could feel Panic rush through his veins and prayed desperately for her call to get connected and as if the almighty heard him after the 7th try the call was finally answered making him sigh in relief and without wasting a single second he bombarded her with his questions "Ridhima...Kaha Ho tum! WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU??? Kabse tumhe call kar raha hu...the interns are calling you! Tumhe office jana tha na to Tum Kaha reh gayi tum...Do you have any ide..." " Excuse me Main Inspector Roy bol raha hu...Yeh jiska phone Hai unka abhi Kuch hi der pehle highway main accident hua hai," the Inspector said cutting Armaan's questions in between..."Accident?" Asked Armaan in a mere whisper shocked at this piece of information. " Jee actually Unhe Kafi chot ayi hai so she has been taken to City Hospital...Unka Kuch Samman abhi bhi Yahi..." the inspector went on talking but Armaan was numb he could not hear anything, the only thing going on in his mind was that his Ridhima had met with an accident, she was hurt dammit. A stream of tears flowed down from his eyes as he tried to absorb the Harsh reality...He somehow got a grip on himself and called his best friend Rahul and told him everything, he asked Rahul to come over and be with Arima as there was nobody but the maid at home. Rahul reached in 15 mins but till then Armaan has already left asking the maid to keep an eye on Arima. Rahul knew Armaan needed him the most now so he asked the maid to pack her(Arima) a small bag and milk bottle and took Arima with him and dropped off her off at her grandparents (Ridhima's parents) house after revealing the shattering truth to them as well. Shashank (Ridhima's father) accompanied Rahul to the hospital while Padam stayed back to take care of Arima.

~End Of Flashback~

Armaan came out of his thoughts when he felt Arima stir a little on his lap and instantly caressed her back a little so as to ensure that she does not wake up and wiped the tear that had once again betrayed him. Just then the doctor who had been treating Ridhima walked out from the ICU with a nurse in tow. Armaan and everyone else at once got up and walked towards him..."The patient is stable right now, we have done our best and now we just have to wait and see how well does she respond to the treatment. Unke sir par kafi gehri chot ayi hai and we will need her to regain her senses before we comment on the effects it has had on her. Apart from that she has a mild swelling in her ribs, a deep cut in her left arm that has taken us four stitches to seal and a few bruises here and there." Informed the doctor in a complete professional tone. While everyone gasped hearing the list of injuries that she had sustained. "Use hosh kab tak ayega?" asked Armaan while swallowing the lump in his throat. "We can't say anything Mr. Malik, ideally unhe 12 ghante ke andar hosh ajana chahiye but that completely depends on how well her body responds to the treatment...It could take lesser than that and could take more than that as well which of course would be a cause of worry for us." Replied the doctor. After answering a few more questions the doctor left informing them that for now only one person was allowed to stay with the patient through the night...Armaan asked everyone to leave assuring them that he will manage. He then glanced at a sleeping Arima in his arms and his mind grew worried for her, he knew she would not be able to stay without Ridhima or him but at the same time it was not right to keep her in the hospital as being a premature baby she was more prone to catch infections and he could not take that risk. Rahul seemed to have sense his concern and placed his hand on her shoulder "Don't worry Armaan hum Arima ko sambhal lenge, I and Muskaan(his wife and Arima's pediatrician) will go with Padma Aunty, Aise unhe bhi help ho jayegi and we can all take care of Arima" he said while Muskaan who was also there immediately sided him. "Thank you" Armaan whispered with a choked voice to which Rahul just gave him a slight slap saying "Chal oye...bada aya thank you bolne wala...aur kya Arima meri beti nahi hai" Armaan just nodded gratefully and after placing a light kiss on Arima's head he slowly handled her to Muskaan... "Apna khayal rakhna beta...Aur pls kuch bhi pata chale to..." Said Padma in a choked tone while Armaan just hugged her tight even before she completed, understanding her state of mind as well. "Aap bilkul tension mat lena...apki beti ko main kuch nahi hone dunga" said Armaan wiping her tears to which she just nodded so proud at her daughter for having chosen a gem like Armaan for herself who in spite of being in such a miserable state himself was giving her assurance...Soon enough they all left the hospital after seeing Ridhima one by one. After they left Armaan made his way inside the ICU and very slowly walked towards her, with every step that he took he could feel his heart beat increase, her pale and bandaged face just tore his heart more than what it already was...As he finally reached her bedside and saw her face clearly he finally broke the dam that he had been trying to hold since the last few hours. With trembling hands he took hold of her hand and continued crying holding onto it.



Chaahaton ka mazaa, faasalon mein nahin
Aa chupa loon tumhein hauslon mein kahin
Sab se upar likha, hai tere naam ko
Khwahishon se jude silsilon mein kahin



An elderly nurse who had been passing by happened to witness this and even her eyes welled up seeing the intensity of his love for his wife. The Armaan Malik crying was definitely not an everyday thing but today here he was crying, holding onto his wife and that just showed how much he loved and valued her. She looked at the couple one more time and praying to the almighty to give them strength to overcome this difficult phase, she moved away...Armaan who had been crying holding onto Ridhima's hand, never realized when he himself dosed off there itself. It was not until the wee hours of the morning that he got up feeling some pressure on his hand, at first he did not understand what was happening but soon he understood that Ridhima was coming around and that brought a huge smile on his face, he hurriedly called for a doctor by pressing the button and yelling at the same time. "Rid...Ridhima akhein kholo...open your eyes baby" he urged her and in n no time Ridhima's attending doctor walked in and started to examine her while Armaan still had his hand locked with hers... "Ridhima how are you feeling apko kahi dard to nahi ho raha?" asked the doctor to a fully conscious Ridhima, but she just looked at him blankly. "Ridhima can you hear me? Apko dard to nahi ho raha? "the doctor asked again but once again got the same response. "Ridhima say something, doctor kuch puch rahe hai tumse" Armaan said getting a little restless with her silence. Ridhima just looked around as if deeply trying to understand something "Rid...Ridhima?...Kon Ridhima" she asked after a few seconds making both Armaan and the doctor look up at her in complete shock. "Ridhima tum yeh ky..." Armaan started of really scared by what  was happening but the doctor just stopped him mid-way "Kya aap bata sakti hai ki apka naam kya hai...Can you tell us your name?" asked the doctor to Ridhima who once again scrunched her face in confusion "My na...name...mera naam...I...I don't know..." She replied looking very scared at how come she does not remember her own name. "Ek baar koshsih kijiye...Think and tell me" the doctor insisted and she did as told but that only resulted in her holding her head and crying out in pain... "Ahhh...I do...don't know...Mujhe kuch nahi samaj araha" she cried alerting the doctor at once while Armaan who stood rooted not understanding why she did not recognize him or not even know her own name for that matter was also alarmed seeing her hold her head and cry in pain and he immediately came forward to help her. "It's okay you relax for now, aabhi apko araam ki zarurat hai" the doctor said as Armaan helped her lay down without saying anything. "Par..." she tried saying something but Armaan just shushed her "Shh...Its okay just relax...You need to rest" said Armaan soothingly as she continued to panic at what had happened. Only he knew how many deaths he died in the last few minutes, a million of questions blocked his mind but for now he had to calm her down first. The doctor quietly injected her and soon enough her whimpers died and she was in deep sleep. Armaan just stood staring at her when the doctor called him asking him to meet in his cabin.

"Come in Mr. Malik" said the doctor as Armaan knocked lightly on his door. "Doctor...Ridhima...use..." "Relax Mr. Malik...I have called you to talk about this only" said the doctor cutting his questions in between. "Mr. Malik I am afraid Ridhima has lost her entire memory" said the doctor after taking a deep sigh. "Wha...what aise...aise kaise ho sakta hai..."who Asked Armaan getting all panicy and jittery. "Mr. Malik pls calm down... Jaise ki main pehle hi bata chukka hoon Ridhima ke sir par kafi gheri chot ayi hai and because of that she has lost her memory, unhe kuch bhi yaad nahi, yaha tak ki apan naam bhi yaad nahi hai...Main janta hoon this is very difficult for you to accept lekin zara sochiye how difficult is this on her, you yourself saw how scared she got when she couldn't remember her own name. Woh apni pehchan tak bhul gayi hai, aise main apko unki takat banni padegi, you can't be weak, you have to help her through this. "Explained the doctor to a teary eyed Armaan. "Use sab yaad to ajayega na?" he asked after a few minutes of sheer silence. "Shayad...Aise cases main kuch kaha nahi ja sakta...You can try and remind her things slowly but not now. Right now she is physically and internally week and any kind of shock for her can be fatal. You have to be very careful Mr. Malik...ek galat kadam aur unki jaan bhi ja sakti hai" the doctor stated taking away the little breath that Arman had left within him. "Na..Nahi aisa kuch nahi hoga...I'll take care of her" said Armaan more to himself than to the doctor while doctor just smiled and said "I know..." After discussing her case for around an hour more Armaan exited the doctors cabin. He leaned on the door and closed his eyes letting a few tears fall in the process, why was life being so cruel to them he thought and wondered how long this test was going to last but whatever it was he was going to be there for her, they were going to fight this together and with this determination in mind he opened his eyes, wipes his tears and plastering a fake smile on his face he walked inside Ridhima's room and saw her sitting on her bed staring blankly into space. He walked towards her and greeted her with a warm smile "Good Morning, How are you feeling now?" Ridhima who had her face turned in the opposite direction looked towards him as she heard his voice but soon she just looked away with a lone tear slipping from her eyes "HEYYY...kya hua? Tum ro kyu rahi ho? Is it hurting you somewhere? Main...main abhi doctor ko bulata hoon" said Armaan panicking and almost rushing out to call the doctor as he saw her in tears but just as he was about to leave the room he heard her voice "Mujhe kuch yaad kyu nahi araha...I can't remember anything" Armaan sighed deeply, of course this was bothering her. For a confident and independent girl like Ridhima not having any clue about her own identity was possibly the most suffocating thought one could have. He walked back towards her and sat on the stool kept beside her bed..."Dekho I know all this is very difficult for you, lekin you need to understand that you have just met with a huge accident jiske vajah se you have happened to lose your memory and aise roke ya khud ko stress dekhe you are just making your health worse than it what it already is..." he said softly trying his best to explain her. "To...To kya muj...mujhe kabhi kuch yaad nahi ayega?" she asked him deeply upset at this thought. "Of course yaad ayega...You just have to be patient, dheere dheere tumhe sab yaad ajayega...I promise you this" he replied with such conviction that Ridhima actually wanted to believe him, but of course she had her own set of questions that were eating her up..."Lekin...lekin main hoon kaun? kya karti hu,?kaha rehti hu? I don't know anything...I don't even know my name..I"  "Ridhima..." he replied shutting her questions there and then. "Ridhima?" she asked unsure of what he meant by it while he just nodded his head..."Hmm..Tumhara naam Ridhima hai...Ridhima Ma...Gupta, Ridhima Gupta" he said and only he knew how much it hurt him to remove the Malik from her name and address her as Ridhima Gupta but he had to, he had to go slow with her, he could not tell her that she was a married woman, forget marriage she was a mother of a four month old child...But now was not the time for her to know this, it might just get too much for her to handle. "Ridhima Gupta..." she whispered her own name to herself. "Aur rahi baat tum kaun ho? Kya karti ho, etc etc...Who sab tumhe waqt ke sath pata chal jayeaga...So don't stress yourself hmm?" Armaan said gently patting her hand which was kept on the bed and for some reason his touch felt so good, so soothing as if all her insecurities were suddenly put to rest making her nod her head at him. "Ek aur baat puchu?" she asked making him raise his eyebrows asking her to continue... "Tum kon ho? And...and mera tumse kya rishta hai?" she asked what she had been dying to ask since the time he had walked in and assured her so lovingly while he just looked at her thinking about all the memories they have shared right from college, to their courtship days, their marriage, her pregnancy, everything came flashing in front of his eyes and look at the twist of faith today they both were there as always but she did not remember him. "Main Armaan hoon...Armaan Malik, tumhara best friend...hum college se dost hai" he replied basking his tears with a fake smile while she just smiled at him...Thereafter he told her about her parents who actually turned up just then to meet her (PLS NOTE: SHE IS A SINGLE CHILD IN THIS STORY). She fondly met them and though she did not remember anything yet the love which they showered on her was so genuine that she had no reason to deny it...The rest of the day went by on a much smoother level for her as she finally came to terms with the fact of her memory loss...Armaan was with her for most of the time, for some reason his presence did a huge task in calming her down, she believed him the most and she concluded that it was possibly because he was the one with her since the moment she had gained her consciousness little did she know it was actually his love that made her feel so secure. However Armaan was forced to go home in between because he also had a four month old baby who needed him just as much. He was in fact really worried because since Arima had all along been breast fed hence she was not responding well to the sudden change in her meals, making the already restless child more cranky and agitated but there was not much he could do, he just tried his best to calm her down as much as possible...He had already decided that he would take Ridhima to his house and though Shashank and Padma were reluctant at first as obviously Ridhima did not know she was married and they were not sure how she would react to staying at Armaan's house but he assured that whatever he did was only for her (Ridhima's) betterment. He knew she needed him the most at this point and there was no way he would leave her. So they managed to cook up a story telling Ridhima that since Shashank and Padma had to go abroad for a very serious business deal which could not be ignored she would have to stay at Armaan's house since she couldn't stay alone in this condition. Though she was a little upset at the thought that her parents were leaving her at such a time but Armaan made her understand that had it not been necessary they would have never gone...

It had been three days since Ridhima was in the hospital and today she was finally getting discharged. Shashank and Padma had met her earlier in the day and with a heavy heart bid her goodbye, they were indeed very worried for their daughter but they trusted Armaan also they knew that Arima needed her mother around as well, they had seen that bay cry day in and out for her mother and they understood that whatever Armaan was doing was for the betterment of everyone...It was around six in the evening when a fully ready Ridhima sat on her hospital bed waiting for Armaan to finish the formalities. She was just buzzing through a random magazine when a smiling Armaan walked in "Are you ready to finally go home?" he asked her excitedly while she just gave him a small smile and nodded her head. "Arey...Yeh kya baat hui I thought you will be very happy to finally get out of here lekin tum to khush lag hi nahi rahi" he said pouting a bit. "Aisa nahi hai Armaan, of course I am very happy lekin main...main"  " main kya Ridhima? Kya hua haa?" he asked as he sat on her bed in front of her and held her hand encouraging her to say whatever she wanted to. "Armaan Main...I don't want to be a burden on you, in these past few days you have taken very good care of me and I can't even tell you how grateful I am aur ab my parents need to go isliye phir se tumhe...I just...I just don't want to trouble you" she said earnestly while Armaan just let her pour her heart out without interrupting her. "You know what's actually troubling me?" he asked after a few seconds of silence. "What?" she asked in a low tone. "The fact that you think that you are or for that matter that you can be a burden of me." He said looking straight at her. "Ridhima ek baat tum ache se samaj lo, Armaan ke liye Ridhima kabhi koi problem ka karan ban hi nahi sakti...You are in no way troubling me or are a burden on me. Isliye ab apne dimag se yeh sab faltu battein nikalo aur ha agar phir aisa kaha ya socha na to main tumse bohot naraaz ho jaunga...And tumhe vaise yaad nahi hai but if I get mad na to I can get pretty demanding" ha he said with a wink to cheer her up and wolla that smile finally found its way on her face making him smile as well. "Ab chale?" he asked and she nodded this time with a genuine smile. He helped her get up but she stumbled a bit because of the pain in her ribs "Ouch..." she hissed placing her hand on her ribs while he held her firmly preventing her from falling down. "You okay?" he asked her gently rubbing her back to ease her pain, she took a few seconds to balance herself and the nodded her head assuring him that she was fine and soon with his help she finally exited the hospital and made her way towards his...actually their home.

After a good twenty minutes they reached their house and this time Armaan did not bother to let her walk he opened the door to the passenger seat and even before she tried saying something he placed his arms below her knees and in a swift move picked her up in his arms "Ar...Armaan kya kar rahe ho...I can walk" she tried protesting, not at all anticipating this but he did not budge at all. "I know you can walk Ridhima, thank you so much for enlightening me" he said as he continued to walk inside the house and hearing his answer Ridhima just glared at him while he smiled shaking head because memory loss or no one thing she could never forget was her trademark glare, he chuckled at his own thought but when he saw her glare all the more he stopped "Arey baba...Actually na waha pe stairs hai and your ribs are not strong enough at this point for you to climb them, isliye I thought it would be better for me to carry you" he said honestly and this gesture of his just touched her heart and she just mumbled a small thank you which he quickly brushed away. He took her to their room from where he had removed all their pictures and even Arima's crib was shifted to the guest room (where he would be staying) which was just opposite their room. He gently placed her on the bed after placing numerous cushions around her to make her comfortable. She looked around the room and instantly fell in love with the elegant interiors "It's a beautiful room" she said while he just smiled. "Tum yaha akele rehte ho? I mean tumhare parents..." she asked after a few minutes. "Nahi hai. I was ten years old when they passed away" he said with a sad smile. "I am sorry... " it's okay he said brushing off her apology. "To tum akele?" she asked again and this time again he shook his head "Nahi, meri char mahine ki beti hai " "Beti?" she asked a little shocked, the last thing she expected was for him to be married. "Hmm...ARIMA naam hai uska, she is sleeping right now (Rahul and Muskaan had dropped her off as per Armaan's instruction and due to some very urgent work they left just five minutes before AR reached after ensuring that Arima was asleep and the maid was there to take care of her)" he said purposely emphasizing on Arima's name to see how she reacts to it and for a second she went completely mum and that really scared him, he hoped against hope that she would not have any negative reaction on hearing Arima's name and call it a blessing being answered that Ridhima just smiled, a small but genuine smile..."It's a beautiful name, lagta hai bohot pyaar se naam rakha hai" she said and he did not know whether to feel good or bad...It was she who had kept that name and yes there was a lot of thought that went behind it, a) it was a combination of their names and b)it meant soul... "She is our soul Armaan" was what she always said. And today she only does not remember her. Ridhima nudged him a little on seeing him lost and he just looked at her and said "Hmm, her mom has kept it." Before any of them could say anything else they heard a loud cry hearing which Armaan instantly got up and walked out. He walked towards his room where he found Maria(Their made) trying her best to calm a wailing Arima. He saw her half drank bottle kept on the side table and his heart went out to the little baby. He immediately took her in his arms and rocked her to calm her down..."Shhh...Bas bacha, kya ho gaya hmm? Dada is here now na...Bash baby stop crying" he said caressing her head to calm her down but nothing worked. He took her bottle and tried feeding her but she just turned her head sideways and cried all the more making his heart bleed. Since the last three days most of her waking moments have been spent crying and he was worries that she might fall ill. He kept the bottle back and just continued swaying her in his arms but she just did not stop crying...On the other hand Ridhima had started to grow very restless hearing Arima's cries. She did not know why but Arima's cries were really troubling her, something deep in her heart ached badly and she did not understand why this was happening. She waited for a few minutes hoping for the baby to calm down but when even after fifteen minutes her wails continued she could no longer hold herself. She slowly got up taking support of the bed post and though it was a little painful yet she somehow managed to walk till the room from where she could hear the baby cry. "Armaan..." she called him as she stood by the door seeing him try his best to soothe the disturbed baby. Armaan who had his back towards the door at once turned around hearing her voice "Ridhima...tum yaha kya kar rahi ho, you should be resting" he said still caressing Arima's back who continued to cry in his arms. "Woh...Uhmm she was crying so much to... muj...mujhse raha nahi gaya" replied Ridhima who had all her eyes on Arima, she was indeed a beautiful baby she thought. Armaan just nodded at her knowing very well that it was her motherly instincts that made her feel so unpeaceful... "Uhmm if you don't mind can I try?" Ridhima asked after a few minutes of seeing Armaan struggle with the little bundle, she did not know why but she just wanted to take the baby in her arms and soothe her. "Ridhima of course I don't mind lekin tumhare ribs? I don't think you will be able to carry her" he pointed out and instantly saw her face fall, she knew he was right but for some reason her heart was still not at peace. Armaan looked at her and then at Arima who was still crying loudly, he knew they both needed each other more than anything else and suddenly an idea popped into his mind "Uhmm we can do one thing, tum bed par baith jao and ill place her in your arms, that way you won't stress your ribs" he explained and she agreed at once...She sat down on the bed and he very carefully placed Arima in her lap and for some reason unknown to her it felt so good, all of a sudden her heart that seemed so heavy just a few minutes back felt so light. "Shh...bash baby, what happened ha...Aap to itne pyale se baby ho...to kyu itna royi royi kar rahe ho...bash baby" she said lovingly caressing her back and kissing her head time and again till she felt her cries subside. Arima who had been craving for her mother was finally satisfied being in her arms and she held onto her kurta with whatever strength that her tiny fists had in them. Ridhima's eyes welled up at how the little baby held onto her as if holding onto dear life and she just hugged her closer letting her(Arima) feel the security that she seemed to have got from her (Ridhima) and soon enough the little baby fell asleep in her arms still holding onto her as tight as possible. Armaan who stood right beside them had a huge smile and a lot of tears in his eyes, today he realized how strong the bond of a mother and child is and he was sure of one thing that though Ridhima's mind has forgotten them but her heart still remembers everything.

Later that night Armaan felt much more light then the previous 3-4 nights, Ridhima was home and Arima to seemed to have relaxed a bit...But on the other hand Ridhima who was alone in her room felt very uneasy, the fact that Armaan was married was for some reason making her feel very weird, she did not even understand what she felt but she felt something for sure and if he was married then where was his wife? These questions kept playing in her mind. Armaan who had just come out of his room to get some water saw the lights of Ridhima's room on and frowned because he very well remembered switching off the lights himself before wishing her goodnight about an hour back. He entered her room to find the reason and found her wide awake sitting on the bed lost in some deep thought; he walked towards her and tapped called her name which brought her out of her reverie. "Kya hua why are you awake? Is it hurting you somewhere?" he asked her with so much concern in his voice which automatically brought a small smile on her lips. "Nahi Armaan...I am absolutely fine...Bas neend nahi arahi" she replied softly. "Arey kaise neend nahi arahi, tumne to itni strong medicines liye hai..." he asked again but she just shook her head indicating that she was not sleepy."Lekin Ridhima, aise kaise chalega...You really need to rest or else how will you get better hmm?" he said hoping that she would at least try and sleep but she once again shook her head which just deepened her frown "Sach main neend nahi arahi Armaan" she replied looking deep in his eyes and he did not know why but he felt that something was bothering, that she wanted to ask him something but was holding herself from doing so. "Kya baat hai Ridhima? You look a little lost" he asked her gently and she for once was shocked at how well he understood her but immediately altered her expressions "Na..nahi aise koi baat nahi hai" she stammered while he just nodded for the sake of agreeing with her.  "Sure? Kuch hai to tum bata sakti ho mujhe" he tried probing again but she just refused saying its nothing. "Hmm I see...I have an idea, tum bas do minute ruko I'll be back" he said and even before she could reply he walked out leaving a very confused Ridhima behind. He came back in ten minutes holding a mug in his hand seeing which Ridhima was all the more confused "Armaan tum kaha chale gaye the aise, and what is this? Is Mug main kya hai? "she asked him all at once. "Har problem ka solution hai is cup main" he replied with a smile as he sat on the bed right in front of her. "Matalb? "she asked still not getting his point. "Matlab...Is cup main tumhara favorite hot chocolate hai. Tumhe jab bhi neend nahi ati and sometimes just like that also you  have this aur humesha ek hi baat bolti ho *Har problem ka solution hot chocolate se mil jata hai* " he replied with a huge grin as he remembered how she would just find an excuse to have the drink at any given moment. "Really? Main aise kehti thi?" she asked surprised while he just nodded his head "Hmm, sirf kehti hi nahi tum is baat ko bohot seriously manti bhi thi...Yeh lo try it and see" he said handing the cup to her. She took a sip and soon a million dollar smile adorned her face "This is really nice..." she said while he just smiled back at her. "Hmm ab batao...what do you want to ask me? And yeh mat kehna ki it's nothing because I know kuch to baat hai" he said after a few minutes leaving no space for her to back out from the question. "Tumhe kaise pata ki I want to ask you something?" she asked him surprised for the nth time at how well he knew her. "That's a very silly question Ridhima, mujhe nahi pata hoga to kise pata hoga after all tumhara hus...best friend hoon" he replied back and mentally smacked himself for almost blurting out the word husband. She just nodded at him and a few minutes of silence she finally spoke up "Uhmm Armaan actually mujhe...tumhari umm tumhari wife nazar nahi ayi" he looked up instantly as she asked him this, he had totally forgot that seeing Arima she would obviously question about his wife as well, he was mentally debating with himself as to what to tell her when she spoke up once again "I mean don't get me wrong...Woh bas kahi dikhi nahi isiliye I asked..." "Ridhima, I am very sorry lekin main is bare main koi baat nahi karna chahta...Yeh ek aisa topic hai jiske bare main, main filhal koi baat nahi kar sakta. I can only tell you ki meri wife jaha bhi hai mujhse aur Arima se bohot pyaar karti hai and we love her just as much too, lekin ha kuch majburiya hai humari jiske vajah se who humare sath hoke bhi humare sath nahi hai" he said looking deeply in her eyes which still showed the same love for him that it always had. "Lekin Armaan..." "Pleas Ridhima, agar tum mujhe apna dost manti ho to aaj ke bad mujhe is bare mein kuch nahi puchogi...kyuki main tumhe kuch nahi bata sakta" he said cutting her retort in between. Ridhima undertood that it was a very personal topic and she did not like him pleading like that, after all he had done so much for her the least she could do was request his privacy. "Theek hai Armaan...I won't ask you anything, agar kabhi tuhe sahi lag to tum khud mujhe bata dena aur agar nahi bhi lage to bhi I trust you" she said placing her hand on his hand and smiling at him assuring. His heart swelled up at her words and he mumbled a heat felt thank you to her and the almighty as well. He was grateful she did not push the topic further, because though he could have easily cooked up a story of his wife being out of town or something like that but he did not want to do that. He did not want to lie to her, not about this topic at least... "Chalo ab to I am sure tumhe bhi neend arahi hogi haina?" he asked after a few seconds when he saw her stifle a yawn. "Tum sojao ab, mujhe bhi chalna chaiye,  Aru uth gayi to mujhe nahi dekh kar dar jayegi"  he said as he took her empty cup and placed it on the side table and helped her lay down on the bed, he tucked her in properly and patting her head he wished her good night and went towards his own room. The thought of him being married still made her feel a little uneasy but she decided to stop thinking about it, it was something that made him uncomfortable  and so she too did not want to brood on the topic and so shutting away her thoughts she eventually fell asleep.

~Few Weeks later~

Time passed by at its quickest pace and life had changed completely in the Malik household. Ridhima was in a much better state than before though she still had some pain in her ribs and a few bruises here and there also she still did not remember anything, yes she did get a few flashes of her past life but they were too blur for her to understand anything. With the passage of time she had grown extremely close with both Armaan and Arima and was much more comfortable around the house than what she was on the day she came back from the hospital. She knew she started feeling something for Armaan but she tried her best to not accept her feelings, the way he took care of her, the way he pampered her, the way he was always with her and the way he took care of Arima, she admired everything about him and Arima she was her little princess, the baby managed to engrave a huge place in her heart, little did she know that she was her heart. As Armaan had told her she never brought up the topic of his wife ever again, very honestly she had completely forgotten about it, she was so involved with Arima and Armaan that she hardly had time to think of anything else.

It was a Saturday evening and Armaan was giving Arima a bed time bath or at least trying to because the little monster seemed to have completely different plans. She kept playing around her tub, giggling and splashing water on him "Aru this is not fair hum to apko nehlane aye the na lekin apne to dada ko hi nehla diya bacha" he said pouting at the baby who just gave a tootles grin and in return splashed more water on him "Aruuu" he whined and heard someone laugh loudly from behind him. He very well knew who it was without even looking at the person, he smile knowing very well why she had come "Haso haso, aur haso...Main to joker hoon na jo tum itna has rahi ho" he said with a fake frown while the person behind him walked towards them trying her best to stifle her laughter. "Aru apne to sach main dada ko nehla diya bacha...Very bad ha" she said trying to maintain a straight face but couldn't hold it for long and soon broke into a fit of laughter, Armaan who tried being angry also couldn't hold himself and soon both of them started laughing loudly while the naughty baby also giggled seeing both her parents so happy. (yes the girl was none other than Ridhima)...After laughing to their hearts extent, Ridhima took it upon herself to give Arima a bath, she concocted random stories to keep her distracted and very gently and lovingly gave her a bath. "Ridhima tum hi is badmash ko smabal sakti ho ha, mere sath to kitna masti karti hai" said Armaan as he picked a freshly bathed Arima and wrapped her in a towel. "Arey meri Aru badmash thodi hai...She is my good girl, haina? Haina?" she asked Arima who was in Armaan's arms in a babyish tone as she caressed her chin affectionately. Armaan smiled at how she was defending Arima, just like she did when had not lost her memory. Arima was a complete daddy's girl and often did all her masti with her dada because she knew she would get away and every time Armaan would jokingly complain about her naughtiness but Ridhima always sided her anyway. She(Ridhima) told him to get Arima changed or she might get a cold while she will go and get her milk for her. Armaan tried stopping her asking her to not exert herself but she just brushed him saying she is fine and went anyway...Till then Armaan changed Arima into her night clothes and while doing so he tried teaching her how to say mama. She had still not learned to talk and Armaan deeply wished that her first words should be "mama" more than anything because in the last couple of weeks he hand understood the importance of a mother in a child's life, he had seen how his child grew restless for her mother and had seen how just her touch had managed to calm her down also he knew how badly Ridhima had wanted to hear Arima call her "Mama" tough today she did not remember anything but he did and he would make sure all her wishes and dreams come true. So hear he was teaching his nearly five month old baby to speak "Aru...Say M-A-M-A...bolo M-A-M-A" he said breaking the word for her as he made her wear her onsie. Call it bad timing but just then Ridhima came back from the kitchen with Arims's milk bottle heard him teaching Arima to say Mama and it just a few seconds reality struck her hard. She had unknowingly started accepting something that did not belong to her she was suddenly reminded of what Armaan had told her about his wife

"I can only tell you ki meri wife jaha bhi hai mujhse aur Arima se bohot pyaar karti hai and we love her just as much too"

And suddenly these words stung her real bad and unknowingly a tear escaped her eye and without making her presence her felt she left from there and went to her own her where she shut the door and leaning on the closed door let her tears flow... "Yeh sab tera nahi hai Ridhima...This is not yours" she thought to herself and just cried harder while covering her mouth so that her sobs don't leave the room. "Armaan chahe kuch kahe ya nahi lekin main janti hoon he still loves his wife a lot aur Arima even she needs her mother more than anyone else, main chahe kitna bhi kar loon lekin main kabhi bhi woh jaga nahi le sakti unki life main" she thought about all the times Arima would leave her bottle in half because she was used to being breast fed. She thought of all the times Armaan had cared for her, the way he calmed her down when she got some flashes and got upset that she can't remember anything, the way he knew what troubled her even before she did, she thought of all the times when Arima would even leave Armaan and come to her and cuddle with her...All these moments that once made her smile made her cry today. All along she had grown so fond of being around Armaan and having Arima with her that she had completely forgot that the family which she started considering as her own wasn't really hers, it belonged to someone else and as selfish as this may sound but it did hurt her very bad. She slid down the floor and continued crying, she cried on her own fate that desired to have something that it can never have. "Ridhima...Ridhima are you inside" it was Armaan's voice and knock on the door that snapped her out of her thoughts, she could not let him know about her feelings not at all and from now on she had to maintain a distance from both Armaan and Arima. She did not want to get more used to them than what she already because as per what she knew she had to leave that house someday and so with that determination in mind she wiped her tears, corrected her dress and took a deep breath to unruffled her heart.She then opened the door to find a worried looking Armaan standing with Arima in his arms. "Kya hua Ridhima, darwaza kyu nahi khol rahi thi? Main kabse knock kar raha tha...You did not even reply when I called your name" he asked her getting all tensed up. "Uhmm ha main theek hoon...Woh bas thodi aakh lagi gayi thi to I did not hear you" she replied looking anywhere but at him. "par tum yaha kab ayi, I thought you had gone to get Arima's milk" he asked again and she instantly fumbled for an answer "Uhmm...haan main lene gayi thi but...who...woh mujhe thoda uneasy sa lag...lagne laga to socha thodi der room main ajau"  "Hey are you alright? Kahi dard to nahi ho raha?" he asked immediately stepping forward to check if she had a fever or something but before he could touch her she moved back maknig him frown at her act..."Rid..." "Armaan I am fine just a little tired...uhmm if you don't mind main...main aaj jaldi sojau?" she asked rather said cutting him there and then, she could see that he did not like it when she moved back but she had no choice she had to do this for herself, for him, for them. "Of course Ridhima why will I mind...Tum sojao okay, kuch chahiye ho to mujhe batana" he said though still unsure of her behavior to which she just nodded with a small, fake smile. Arima who had been in Armaan's arms had continuously been fidgeting wanting to go to Ridhima but Armaan managed to keep her in place and even Ridhima who saw all this somehow forced her heart to not react. "Aru...Stop it bacha abhi masi (that's what Armaan told Ridhima to let Arima call her when she one day asked him what Arima would call her and since masi is the closest to a mother hence he told her this) ko rest karne do aap kal khel lena unke sath okay" he tried convincing the baby who seemed to be very adamant Armaan sighed and looked at Ridhima actually surprised that she herself had not taken her in her arms yet, because as far as he knew Ridhima she would not leave any chance to hold Arima. "Aru I said NO" he said a little sternly and the little baby instantly fell silent for a few seconds and then started crying making not only Armaan's but also Ridhima's heart skip a beat, she even raised her hand to take her but remembering her resolve that she made a few minutes back she stepped back with a very heavy heart. "Uhmm I have made her milk hot...Tum ise pila dena shaym se kuch nahi khaya hai...she must be very hungry by now" Ridhima said while passing him Arima's milk bottle which she had gotten earlier. Armaan was really shocked at her behavior but thinking that she really must not be feeling well he brushed the thought off and nodding at her walked out with a still crying Arima in his arms. While Ridhima just watched them go with a very pained heart and teary eyes.

A few days passed by in the same way that is Ridhima maintaining a noticeable distance from both Armaan and Arima. Armaan was very confused with the sudden change in her behaviour while Arima who too had noticed Ridhima's change in behaviour had stared to grow agitated because Ridhima had been avoiding her as much as she could, so much so that she hardly picked her up in the last few days...It was just one such day when Armaan was sitting on the living room couch watching TV but his mind was busy thinking about Ridhima and why she was behaving so weirdly, he could not pin-point the reason and in fact had even tried asking her but she always escaped the question in some way or the other  not only  that but she hardly spoke to him about anything and more or less Just stayed in her room alone and this really worried him, what happened that had changed her overnight...Arima who was left to play freely on her rug just near armaan suddenly squealed loudly looking towards the stairs breaking Armaan's chain of thoughts he turned his head to look at what had caught her attention and saw Ridhima coming down, Ridhima who also felt his gaze could not help but look up making their eyes Meet...Both their eyes conveyed how much they were hurting to be apart from each other.



Tere mere darmiyaan hain baatein ankahi

Tu wahaan hai main yahaan

Kyun saath hum nahin



Arima who finally saw Ridhima after the whole day could not contain her excitement and immediately crawled towards her...Ahhh she blabbered holding on Ridhima's legs asking her to pick her up. Ridhima's heart melted like a puddle and a smile instantly covered her face a she saw the small baby asking to be picked up even Armaan smiled at this and was almost sure that now Ridhima would definitely pick her up, he knew Ridhima dotted on Arima it was just something that was troubling her that stopped her from being himself. On the other hand Ridhima was so lost in Arima's smile that she actually did bend down to pick her up but stooped mid-way as she realized what she was doing; only she knew how hard it was to stay away from the two people who had become her world but she had to do it. So she closed her eyes tight forcing her heart to be strong and got up making Armaan frown hard. Arima was getting impatient to be held by her and when she saw her mom not reacting she started crying, still pulling at her legs with her little fists. Ridhima looked down to see the baby shed continuous tears and only she knew how much it hurt her to not be able to just hold her and hide her in her arms. Armaan on the other hand was shocked beyond limits, in fact he was angry at her because no matter what the matter was why was she bringing Arima in the way. Since the last few days that poor child had been in a miserable state, crying away most of the day, not eating properly, nothing...All she wanted was to be with Ridhima and she very well knew that then why was she doing this. He waited for a few minutes still hoping that Ridhima would let go of whatever it was that was hokding her back and soothe Arima but when she did not do it he could no longer hold himself or see his baby cry so miserably and so he got and went towards her and at once took her in his arms..."Shhh bas mela baby...bash bacha...dada haina apke pass...it's okay sweetheart bashhh shh" he said rubbing her back comfortingly while he looked at Ridhima straight in the eye. His eyes had so much anger in them; there were so many questions so much pain that if looks could kill she would have definitely not been standing there. Before either of them could say something Armaan just stormed out from the living room and made his way towards his room while Ridhima just stood there crying her eyes out, she did not want to do this, she really did not but she had no choice. That night all three of them did not get any sleep, Arima had been cranky the whole night while Armaan had been trying his best to make her feel better, he was not even angry he was upset at Ridhima's change in behavior and this thought left him awake for the rest of the night as well. Ridhima on the other hand was upset with herself, her fate...She just could not understand what was right or wrong.



Faisley jo kiye
Faasley hi mile
Raahein judaa kyun ho gayi
Na tu ghalat, na main sahi



~Next Day~

 Ridhima had been in her room the whole time she had heard Arima's cries time and again and had even seen the maid go in and out Armaan's room a few times. For some reason something did not feel right, she was not having a good feeling. Armaan too had not come out of his room since morning which needless to say even Arima did not. Not seeing them both at all made her very restless and to add to it the sinking feeling she felt in heart was just adding up to her anxiety. Just then she saw Muskaan who she knew was Arima's pediatrician entering the house. Surprised at her visit she went towards her and greeted her. "Uhmm Muskaan aap yaha? Koi kaam tha kya?" she asked her politely but Muskaan's reply literally shook her feet from the ground. "Haa Ridzi Woh Arima ko fever hai na to bas use hi check karne ayi hoon"  "WHAT??? Ar...Aru ko bukhar hai?" asked a really shocked Ridhima. "Haa Ridzy mujhe bas abhi Armaan ka call aya to so I have come to check her" replied Muskaan as she made her way towards Armaan room with Ridhima following her. "Hi Armaan..." Muskaan greeted as she entered his room and hearing her voice Armaan who had his back towards the door around only to see Muskaan and behind her Ridhima with a really worried expression. "Aru..." she whispered seeing Arima lay on the bed, she looked so weak and so pale that Ridhima's heart at once went out to her. "I'll just check her...tu tension mat le" Muskaan told Armaan squeezing his shoulder a bit to which he just nodded keeping his gaze fixed at Ridhima. "Ar...Armaan kya hua Aru ko?" Ridhima asked him getting really tensed when he came and stood beside her so as to let Muskaan check Arima properly. "Do you really care Ridhima?" he retorted in a low tone so that only she heard him. "Armaan??" Ridhima asked surprised with the coldness in his voice. "Kya Ridhima? Kal jab woh bachi tumhare pairo ke samne baithkar ro rahi thi, tadap rahi tumhare pass ane ke liye tab to tumhe koi farak nahi padha to ab kyu padh raha hai? Why do you care now?" he asked with such an accusing tone and looking at her with bloodshot eyes that made her shiver. He himself felt rotten telling her all this, he knew she was doing all this for some reason but he was a father as well and he was obviously upset with the outcome that her actions were having on that child. Before she could say something Muskaan turned back grabbing their attention..."Uhmm vaise to she is fine bas zyaad rone ke vajah se bukhar ho gaya hai, she should be fine in a day or two." They took a sigh of relief but hearing the fact that it was the crying that caused her to be ill Ridhima could not help but feel guilty. "Uhmm Armaan can I talk to you for a minute" said Muskaan to which he nodded and stepped out of the room with her while Ridhima just went towards a sleeping Arima and very carefully picked her in her arms..."I am sorry my baby...I am so sorry, maine apko bohot rulaya na bacha I am really sorry" she cried hugging her as tight as possible yet making sure she did not disturb her and Arima in spite of being asleep had held on to Ridhima with whatever strength she had in her as if afraid that if she let's go then Ridhima would leave her again and this made Ridhima's eyes well up even more seeing how insecure this little angel has become and she was the one to be blamed for it.

"Armaan this can't go on like this forever...Arima ko Ridhima ki zarurat hai, she really needs her Armaan, already kafi time se woh apna feed sahi se nahi le rahi hai, upar se ab yeh sab. Armaan you very well know she is a premature baby aise main extra care rakhna padta hai and yaha yeh sab" Muskaan told Armaan while he just stood there rubbing his temple "I know Muskaan, main sab janta hoo...Par main majboor hoon, main chahkar bhi kuch nahi kar paraha hoon. The two people I love the most in this world are suffering Muskaan and main kuch nahi kar sakta, kuch bhi nahi" said Armaan choking on his own voice. Muskaan just placed a comforting hand over his shoulder, she felt so bad for him, for them they were such nice people and yet they were hurting so much. "Oye...Tu aise tootega to kaise chalega tu to humara hero hai na?" she said trying to make light of the otherwise very serious situation to which Armaan just smiled half-heartedly. "Cha lab tension mat le maine yeh davaiya likhi hai, give it to Arima every six hours or agar do din main bukhar na jaye to call me again...And uhmm Armaan I know you already know this but as much as possible keep Ridhima around her, she needs her mother the most" Muskaan informed scribbling some medicine name on a piece of paper, Armaan just nodded and thanking her bod her goodbye. He just turned around to go to his room when he saw Ridhima standing on the door for a minute he was scared did she hear what Muskaan said. He still stood there scared to make a move when Ridhima herself walked towards him making his heart beat increase with every step that she took...Ar...Armaan I think Muskan sahi keh rahi thi" she said looking down at her knotted fingers. "Mat...Matlab?" he asked still frightened of what she had heard. "Armaan main janti hoon maine tumse wada kiya tha that I won't ask you about your wife, lekin Armaan Arima really needs her mother, abhi Muskaan ne bhi to wahi kaha na" she replied while looking up at him, though it pained her to talk about this but she knew it was needed. Armaan on the other hand sighed in relief that she had not heard her name "Main is bare mein koi baat nahi karna chahta" said Armaan maintaining a straight face and proceeding towards his room when Ridhima stopped him by holding his hand "Armaan baat tuhare chahne ki nahi hai, baat Arima ki hai and she needs her mother, theek hai tum mujhe nahi batana chahta lekin at least use bula to do, woh bachi kitna tadap rahi hai" she said trying to make him understand the gravity of the situation. "Ridhima mera hath chodo, I don't find it necessary to talk about this, aur tum Arima ki chinta mat karo I can take care of her" he said trying to make her leave his hand, his head was already blasting with all the tension and he really did not have the patience to make her understand why he was mum about this topic. "Kaise chinta na karu Armaan, that baby is suffering so much, kitni zyada halat kharab hai uski or tum bol rahe...She needs her mother Armaan, use apne maa ki zarurat hai and very honestly akhir kaisi maa hai who apne itne chote se bache ko koi aise chodta hai kya...I am really sorry to be saying this but this is really selfish..."  "ENOUGH...how dare you talk about my child's mother that way. Tum bina kuch jane kisi ke bhi bare main kuch nahi bol sakti and definitely not about my wife, SAMJHI" Armaan raised his voice cutting her in between. Ridhima was taken aback with his tone but today she had decided that she would find out about his wife..."To tum hi bata do ki woh kaun hai or kaha hai, agar woh itni hi achi hai then where is she when her child needs her the most?" she asked again keeping her teary gaze fixed on him. "Ridhima...mera hath chodo" he said now really fed up and also very tired with how the day was turning out to be "Nahi Armaan aaj to main jankar rahungi,,,akhir aise konsi maa hai jo apne bache se itne din dur reh sakti hai. Who is...? " "TUM HO USKI MAA...YOU ARE HER MOTHER...Sunna tumne tum ho Arima ki maa, meri patni TUM HO" Yelled Armaan in the spur of the moment without realizing the impact of his words. Ridhima who had been holding his hand suddenly left it, shocked at what she just heard.

-Tani(Tanishka)

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