Wednesday, 6 June 2018

part 6: Pehchan

RECAP: "Then don't play with this burnt had….I want your teachers to hear your best compositions….not an out of tune one," she rubbed an antibiotic ointment on his palm, soothing not only his scorched skin but also his soul. He knew at that moment that even though, she could never belong to him, he would always belong to her. Come what may, he would always be there for her, thick or thin, just like a true friend would. She was his reason to love the Modis, his reason to stay back in India, his reason to prove himself to the Music Academy, and his reason for existence from now on…..

"RIDDHIMA!RIDDHIMA! WHERE THE H**L IS EVERYONE?" Abhimanyu roared into the house.

"Aap aa gaye?" Her husband's jarring voice startled her; she sprung up from the chair, dropping Armaan's partially bandaged hand on the table.

"What's going on? How did this all happen? Where is everyone?" Adjusting his glasses, in frenzy, Abhimanyu stared coldly at Armaan rolling a bandage on his burnt hand, "and who is he?"

"Hi! I am Armaan….remember me from the party?" Armaan stood up and offered his bandaged hand for a handshake, "sorry about my hand."

"Oh….the singer from America? What are you still doing here?" He stared down at him suspiciously, "the party was over a while ago.

"Abhimanyu…..we all asked him to stay over…..and…and you won't believe it… he saved Atul Bhaiyya, Anjali bhabhi and Kavya's lives tonight….agar yeh nahin hote tho…." She clarified.

"Oh I see! That's strange…..a stranger stays over at my house….we have a fire for the first time at our house…..and the stranger becomes a hero….ha! Perfect!" Abhimanyu mocked. A stunned Armaan and an embarrassed Riddhima stared at Abhimanyu with disbelief.

"Yeh…yeh aap kya keh rahe hain?" Riddhima shuffled nervously, averting her gaze from a visibly hurt Armaan. She was ashamed at her husband's rude comments.

"It is a strange coincidence…isn't it?" Armaan composed himself, "maybe that's what fate wanted… mom used to say that things happen for a reason…..I'll just say I am glad I could help."

"Well," Abhimanyu looked away, "Let me see what happened." Too arrogant to acknowledge that a stranger instead of him was the savior in the house this time, he walked over to the charred room. As the smoke hit his nostrils, he covered his mouth and briefly talked to the firemen still busy trying to put out the last of the flames. He handed over some wads of money to the chief fire officer while Armaan and Riddhima stood at a distance watching their interactions. The fire chief's face beamed as he pocketed the money, "shukriya saheb…..aap chinta mat kariye….hum aapke ghar ko kuch nahin hone denge."

"Shabash! Great work! I am proud of your bravery!" Abhimanyu commended him and turned around to leave. For the first time in their married life, Riddhima felt uncomfortable with her husband's actions. He could have at least thanked Armaan for saving his brother's family. If it were not for him, someone could have succumbed to the fire tonight. The firemen had arrived late on the scene and did not deserve the pat as much as their guest did.

"Abhimanyu……you know Armaan is the one……" She tried to speak up, but he interrupted her, "Riddhima…..where is everyone else?" 

"They have all gone to the hospital…..we were just waiting for you…..chaliye…..hum bhi chalte hain." She tried to placate his rising temper.

"HOSPITAL? Why are we wasting time then? RIDDHIMA! MY FAMILY IS IN THE HOSPITAL….AND YOU ARE STILL HERE?" He glared at Armaan's bandaged hand, "my family needs you more than anyone else…chalo….let's go."

"P..Abhimanyu…..the doctors and ambulance were with them…..and they are all fine…..that's why I stayed back to wait for you," she tried to defend herself.

"LET'S NOT WASTE ANY MORE TIME!" He strode off with his car keys.

Riddhima was aware of her husband's foul temper; she grabbed her bag and rushed behind her husband. At the door, she turned around to look back. Armaan stood still in the middle of the house, blood dripping down his shoes this time.

'ARMAAN!" She yelled, "your leg!"

"Oh," he looked down and touched his lower leg. His pants were soaked. There was perhaps a laceration, he had not noticed before, that had slowly oozed into his pants and shoes.

"RIDDHIMA!" Abhimanyu walked back in rage, "what happened now?"

"Abhimanyu….Armaan should come with us too…dekho unke pair me se khoon aa raha hai." She trembled, her feet glued to the ground, caught between her desire to go and help Armaan verses face her husband's wrath.

"OH SH*T!" Abhimanyu grumbled, "come on….let's go….you can come too……there is no point calling an ambulance for this."

Riddhima wanted to give Armaan a hand as he stumbled across the room, but restrained herself. Thankfully, a few of the servants had heard about the fire and had returned to help. One of them helped Armaan settle in the back seat of Abhimanyu's new BMW.


"Jee saheb!"

Riddhima flinched once again, shut her eyes and sat on the passenger seat. She had no idea how inconsiderate her husband could be in such situations. Armaan sensed Riddhima's discomfort, "Abhimanyu….you're right….even I wouldn't want anyone messing my car…and that too with black soot and blood…..urgh! Ramu kaka…..jaldi se laao plastic." He limped out of the backseat and waited outside for the plastic barrier to arrive.

Riddhima looked back sheepishly as Armaan settled on the crunchy plastic, "please take this handkerchief…..tie it around that wound on your leg."

"Thanks," Armaan held his hand out and noticed the initials 'AR' embroidered on the handkerchief- probably an initial for Abhimanyu-Riddhima.

"Are you sure?" His glance flickered between the initials and her eyes.

"Don't worry," she tried to put him at ease, "I have tons of these…..I can always make more."

"Thanks," Armaan bent down and tied the piece of cloth around his oozing wound. The initials 'AR' faded away as his blood seeped into the handkerchief.

As they drove away, Abhimanyu asked Riddhima for the details on the fire.

"We were all asleep when I heard screams from Atul bhaiyya's room…..i ran down and saw smoke coming out of their door. Soon Rahul was there too. He ran to call mummyji and daddyji….then Armaan ran down from the guest room…..I went to call you….but when I got back…..Armaan had already jumped into the room……and he helped Kavya….Anjali bhabhi out of the room…..they were in shock…..had a few burns……then the fire trucks arrived…..and rescued Atul bhaiyya…….he was unconscious……with no burns…"

"No burns?" Abhimanyu asked.

"He was outside the room… the balcony," Armaan clarified.

"What was he doing there?" Abhimanyu frowned.

"The doctor said Atul bhaiyya was drunk," Riddhima added softly.

"SH*T!" Abhimanyu cursed, "and what started the fire?"

"Either an electric short circuit….or…or," Armaan hesitated.

"Or?" Abhimanyu stared in the rear view mirror.

"Or a cigarette butt…..Atul had a pack of cigarettes in his pocket," Armaan cleared his throat.

Abhimanyu's calculating mind ran a number of scenarios in his head. He knew that this fire could potentially become bigger and more damaging- to his family and their reputation. Journalists were always on the lookout for a prey- what better one than the rich and famous Modi family? He could already envision newspaper headlines the next morning:


A scornful smile graced Abhimanyu's face; his sharp mind ready with a plan of action.

"Hmm…..cigarette butt? Yeah of course…..Atul bhaiyya has always been a smoker…..but he is usually careful….especially around Anjali bhabhi…..hmm….hey…'s your leg Armaan? I hope it's not hurting too much……I'll make sure you see the best doctors here…..we might not have the health care system of the US but still have the best doctors," his tone had softened considerably as he smiled at Armaan.

"I am fine….thanks," Armaan was baffled at Abhimanyu's sudden interest in his well being. What had changed him from a don't-mess-up-my-car to I-hope your leg-is not-hurting person in these few seconds?

They were at the hospital. Abhimanyu got off and threw his keys to the Hospital valet, "park kar do…..Riddhima you go in…..I will help Armaan."

Pleasantly surprised at her husband's changed behavior, Riddhima complied and ran inside to accompany the rest of the family. Perhaps, Abhimanyu had realized his folly and was finally showing his gratitude to their guest.

"Theek hai," she replied.

Armaan was not as impressed. He had noticed the change in Abhimanyu's expressions in the rear view mirror after the 'cigarette butt' discussion, and knew there was something cooking in his mind. By now, Armaan had figured out that Abhimanyu was a typical business man and a hard core opportunist. He was curious to know what had triggered a change in Abhimanyu's behavior.

"I am OK Abhimanyu….I will help myself…..please go to your family," Armaan insisted and walked out of the car limping.

"Arre nahin nahin…..let me help you," Abhimanyu grabbed Armaan's shoulders and helped him inside. Thanks to Abhimanyu's presence, the staff gave Armaan a VIP treatment. There were no long waits or extensive paper work to be filled. Armaan was wheeled into a private room, akin to a five star Hotel room rather than a hospital room. After checking in, Abhimanyu came and sat next to Armaan.
"Ok Armaan….I have talked to the staff here…..tumhein kisi baat ki pareshaani nahin hogi."

"Thanks," Armaan smiled; impressed by Abhimanyu's influence at the hospital. Maybe, he was genuinely thanking him for his act of bravery. Hospitality was certainly a virtue of all the Modis, thought Armaan.

"I'll go and check on my family now," Abhimanyu got up to leave.

"Sure….thanks for all your help."

"Mention not," Abhimanyu smiled, "err….I just wanted to warn you about one thing Armaan."

"Warn me?"

"Yeah…..don't be surprised if a journalist or a policeman comes in to interrogate you."

"Interrogate me?"

"Yeah….fires at home are taken seriously in India…especially when a daughter-in-law is involved….and in this case a disabled one."

Armaan had heard about bride burning cases in India, but had never thought this case could be misconstrued for something as heinous.

"But this was an accident."

"Yes…I know….but they don't… I need some help from you."

"Help? Sure…..I would be glad to help."

"You need to tell them that you are Atul's old friend from the US… were both reminiscing your old days in the balcony over a few drinks and cigarettes……at one point you got up to use the bathroom…..and accidentally left a burning cigarette butt inside Atul's bedroom…..that's what started the fire…..understand?"

Armaan was mortified, "what? That's an absolute lie! I don't even smoke!"

"Yes, you do!" Abhimanyu took out a pack of cigarettes and squeezed them into Armaan's hand, "keep these in your pocket."

"I cannot lie Mr Abhimanyu Modi!" Armaan was livid.

"Yes, you can….and you will!" Abhimanyu's stern expression was back, "you should be indebted to us for the hospitality we have given you….this is the least you can do for us."

"Least I can do for you?" Armaan felt a stab on his self respect. He had risked his life for Abhimanyu's family, and this man had the balls to say-this is the least you can do for us?

"Yes Mr Armaan….uh…whatever?"


"Mr Armaan Malik…'re lucky I am not pressing criminal charges against you……a stranger in my house….claims he is the son of my dad's childhood friend… we have a proof here? NO….WE DON'T! Then sweet talks my family and manages to stay overnight…..then we have a mysterious fire at our house…..and that too in the oldest son's bedroom…..great way to hold my family ransom to your dirty tricks!"

"I am appalled Mr Abhimanyu! I love your family….I could never even hurt them," Armaan swallowed painfully.

Abhimanyu sighed and sat next to Armaan. Threatening was obviously not working; he would have to try another technique, "I know you wouldn't….you are a good man Armaan…..can you please do what I say? This is India…..and we are a rich and famous family……prime targets for politicians and journalists…..please do what I say….it wouldn't change anything for you….you will still be the hero as you saved their lives… would just look like an unfortunate accident…please," he pleaded, "I'll take good care of you in India….tumhein yahan koi problem nahin hogi……but you will save my family and their reputation forever."

"But uncle…aunty…Rahul…Riddhima…all saw me outside the room…..they know I was not with Atul."

"I know…..unhein samjhana mera kaam hai…..thanks Armaan….I know you will do this for us….you are a good man," Abhimanyu patted Armaan's shoulder and smiled at him, "and dependable….OK…I need to go now…..thanks again." Abhimanyu left with a parting expression, a mixture of victory, intimidation and pleading.

"I can't do this!" Armaan murmured to himself, "what a disgusting man!" He hung his head and stared at the crushed pack of cigarettes in his hand. Suddenly, Riddhima's gentle and caring smile flashed through his mind. Padma and Shashank's parent-like attitude towards him had won his heart forever. He would hate to see them in any form of crisis. A bad name for their family would spell unhappiness for all of them. Abhimanyu was right- he had nothing to lose; if a little lie could help his gracious hosts, he was ready to say it. Even though, he was sure he despised Abhimanyu, he would do it for the Modis- just like he would do it for anyone he cared about.

His hunch had been right all along- Abhimanyu was a conniving and selfish man. He felt sad for Riddhima. She deserved better, and Abhimanyu did not deserve her…..

He leaned back on the bed, his eyes heavy from the jet lag and exhaustion after the fire, his emotions a mixed bag of turmoil and peace. A nurse walked in at that moment and woke him up from his stupor.


"Abhimanyu! Tu aa gaya beta?" Padma ran and embraced her son. Anjali, Kavya and Atul were being taken care of inside while the rest of the family anxiously sat in the waiting area.

"Armaan kahan hai?" Shashank enquired, "Riddhima told us he had injured his leg also."

"Yes…I have taken care of him…..don't worry dad….he is in good hands…..after all we owe him a lot….bechare ne apni zindagi daav par lagaa di hamare liye," Abhimanyu empathized. Riddhima was relieved that her husband had finally acknowledged Armaan's deed, and heartened that Abhimanyu had finally shown some respect to Armaan.

"Good job beta," Shashank commended Abhimanyu, "mujhey tumse yahi umeed thi."

"Of course dad….after all we Modis are the most benevolent Industrialists in this country," Abhimanyu beamed, "how's everyone doing?"

"They are all fine….you can all go and meet them," a doctor walked out and informed them, "even Mr Atul has regained his consciousness."

"GREAT!" Abhimanyu thanked the doctor and then took him aside to whisper some words in the doctor's ear. Riddhima was curious to see what they were talking about but was shocked when she saw Abhimanyu stuff a wad of cash into the doctor's lab coat.

The doctor walked away with a big smile and pat on his lab coat pocket. Riddhima had never questioned her husband before; she knew giving bribes was a way of life in this country, but why bribe a doctor? She recalled that Abhimanyu had given some money to the fire chief also? She knew, like in the past, Abhimanyu would dismiss her questions: RIDDHIMA YOU DON'T KNOW HOW THE REAL WORLD WORKS. JUST STAY OUT OF IT!

The family was relieved to see Atul, Anjali and Kavya all sitting up in bed, sipping on juice and crackers.

"DADI!" Kavya yelled for his grandmother as she walked in.

"Mera beta! Ab kaisa hai?" Padma kissed Kavya's forehead and sat next to him.

"Atul beta….ab kaise ho?" Shashank sat next his oldest son; his bowed head indicative of his guilt and remorse over the event. Rahul sat on the other side and patted his brother, "bhaiyya we are happy you are fine."

"I am sorry dad," Atul burst out into tears and hugged Shashank, "yeh sab meri wajah se hua hai."

"Maarna tha tho mujhey waise hi maar dete," Anjali sobbed on her bed, "aaj agar mere bte ko kuch ho jaata tho?"

"Bhabhi," Riddhima placed her arm around Anjali and let her sob on her shoulders, "you know it was a mistake……Atul bhaiyya loves you and Kavya…..he would never want to hurt you both."

The hospital room soon became a pit of overflowing emotions with Anjali blaming Atul and his alcoholism for the near tragedy, and Atul lamenting his actions. Padma, Shashank, Rahul and Riddhima tried to console them all while Abhimanyu sat in a corner making some phone calls. While no one paid attention, Abhimanyu had called his office manager and asked him to issue a statement in the press regarding the fire at their house and the circumstances under which this accident had happened. Armaan's carelessness was highlighted in the message.

"Armaan kahan hai? I need to thank him from the bottom of my heart," Atul wiped his tears and looked around.

"He is being treated in another room," Abhimanyu answered.

"Oh….even I want to meet him and thank him again," Anjali wiped her tears and sat up, "he was so brave."

"Mujhey bhi milna hai mere guitar hero se!" Kavya jumped out of bed.

"Guitar hero?" Riddhima laughed.

Rahul chuckled, "just like the Wii game? You are funny Kavya."

"Yes, he is my guitar hero," Kavya flapped his hands, "chacha….please take me to his room."

Abhimanyu frowned at Kavya, "abhi nahin Kavya…..…..we will meet him at home…..hum sab ab ghar chalte hain."

"Lekin Armaan ki wait karte hain beta," Padma insisted, "kaun se room mein hai…..main dekh kar aati hoon."

"Mom….koi faayda nahin hai," Abhimanyu hung up his phone, "I just talked to the doctor…..they are putting stitches in his leg……it will take some time." Riddhima's heart felt a sting as she heard stitches on Armaan's leg. She was surprised at herself and little shocked by her own responses. Each time, there was any thought of discomfort on Armaan, she felt a strange twinge inside her- a feeling she had never experienced before- even when she had seen herself or other's hurt themselves. It was a bizarre connection, an alien sensation- an inexplicable but real one!

"Ok…I think we can discharge you all," the doctor walked in and handed Abhimanyu some papers, "and make sure you all leave through the back door…..there is a lot of press waiting out there for you."

"Really?" Abhimanyu acted surprised although it was him through his office manager that had summoned the press to arrive at the hospital. Instead of the press chasing them down after the fire, he had preemptively invited them to the hospital. This way, they would have no doubts about the Modi family, and would also be able to meet "Atul's friend, who had accidentally started the fire." He had killed two birds with one stone- saved his family from embarrassment and interrogations, and also demonstrated to Armaan that power and fame were more important than his act of bravery. For some reason, Abhimanyu had been threatened by Armaan's presence in his family, and it was important to show this man the strength of Abhimanyu's influence and power in this country.

Why? He had no answer, but there was something about this man, Armaan that bothered him from the moment he met him at the party. He was like a covert enemy who had just arrived on the scene- a man who could prove to be his biggest threat one day. Why? Again, he had no answers again, just a hunch.

"Riddhima and Rahul…..why don't you take everyone home…..I'll handle the press," Abhimanyu ordered and walked to the front to address the press. As always, no one questioned him. After all, Abhimanyu was the new face of the Modi family- their spokesperson, their representative. As they left, both Shashank and Riddhima had an intense desire to go and check on Armaan, but both felt odd leaving the family. Instead, they both accompanied the family through the back door to a van waiting to take them home.

Riddhima said a silent prayer in her head as they drove off, "bhagwan…..aap Armaan ka khayal rakhiye ga…..bechara akela hai wahan."

Shashank shut his eyes and reciprocated Riddhima's prayed, "God….please take care of my son….I am sorry beta, I am not there with you….but I know you are a tough man, and will take care of yourself."


The previous day had gone by clearing up the mess after the fire- both literally and figuratively. Streams of well wishers had stopped by to offer their good wishes and express their concern.

Armaan had returned home late Sunday night after spending most of the day in the hospital, answering questions from inquisitive reporters and policemen. Abhimanyu had dropped by a couple of times to ensure that Armaan had stuck to the story fabricated by him.

Abhimanyu left for Bangalore early Monday morning. Although, he had to postpone his trip by a day because of the fire and it's aftermath, he was looking forward to the trip. Nikita had already checked into a hotel room in Bangalore the day before, and after his official meetings, he planned to head to the hotel for some relaxation and pleasure with his mistress.

"Riddhima….I want you to get all my clothes dry cleaned while I am gone….and here….make sure these files are organized properly…..I will be away for 3-4 days," Abhimanyu picked his bags and without an signs of affection for his wife, left the house early in the morning.

"Abhimanyu!" She ran after him, "aaj wo press waale tho phir nahin aayenge?" She asked, hoping that her husband would at least give her a good bye hug or kiss before his trip.

"Don't worry," she smiled wryly, "I have taken care of everything…..they won't bother us anymore…..and yes, if there is a problem….just contact my office manager, he will handle everything."

"Can I ask you a question?" She asked hesitantly.

"Haan….ab kya hai?" He sounded impatient, "I'll miss my flight at this rate."

"Oh…sorry…..theek hai….aap jaaiye," She pulled back.

"Bolo! Kya baat hai?" He rolled his eyes.

"Wo….why were the press people asking Armaan so many questions?"

"They were just doing their job Riddhima….uffo…..itne sawaal kyun karti ho? And why are you so concerned about Armaan?" He asked sourly.

"Wo…wo….he….he really helped us Abhimanyu….tho..tho."

"Don't worry…I am taking good care of your guest…..I have arranged a private car for him….he can use it till he has recovered…..I think he is going to his music academy today…isn't he? Now let me leave…..I don't want to get late."

"Oh sorry…….theek hai main unhein bataa doongi….bye," she waved cautiously. Abhimanyu shook his head with a frown on his face and departed for the airport.

Riddhima walked back, disheartened that once again she had annoyed her husband before his trip. Lately, she had managed to do that more often than not. Abhimanyu always seemed impatient and irritable when they were alone. Was she not being a good wife? She wanted to keep him happy, but everything she did, always seemed inadequate and fall short of her husband's expectations. What could she do to please him?

Lost in her thoughts, she bumped into Armaan in the foyer.

'Arre…..aap kahan jaa rahe hain?" She saw him standing with his bag and guitar case, ready to leave.

"Good morning!" He replied cheerfully, "well you forget Riddhima….today is my first day at the academy….I don't want to be late….it's at least an hour journey from here."

"Arre….aap aise nahin jaa sakte," she pulled his guitar case off his shoulder, "you need to have breakfast…..aur maine aapke liye prasad bhi rakha hai……prasad ke bina nahin jaa sakte……mere saath puja ghar chaliye."

He could never refuse her; he placed his bag on the floor and hobbled behind her to the puja ghar.

"Why the prasad? Is it a special occasion?" He asked.

"Yes it is…..your first day at school…..isn't that special?" She bent down and picked a puja thali.

"Wow…..I didn't know we celebrate that."

'Yes Mr America! In India, school is considered as sacred as a temple…..Saraswati ke aashirwaad ke bina wahan nahin jaate," she got up and held the plate in front of him. A lit diya in the center of the plate illuminated his radiant face as he looked down quizzically.

"What am I supposed to do?" He asked.

"Arti lo…..aur phir teeka," Riddhima glared at him in disbelief, "kya America mein itna bhi nahin karte?"

"Sorry…..I am a novice in this field," he apologized.

"Beta…..aao main sikhati hoon," Padma walked in and helped Armaan with the arti, then she placed a red teeka on his forehead, "ab lo…prasad khao," she placed a piece of sweet in Armaan's mouth.

"Mmm…..this is yummy," he bit off a piece of the sweet meat, "I love this."

"God bless you son," Shashank joined them and patted Armaan's shoulder, "I am sure you will do well at the academy."

On an instinct, Armaan bent down and touched both Padma and Shashank's feet, "aap logon ka aashirwaad chaahiye uncle- aunty."

"Jeete raho beta," the couple blessed him.

A misty eyed Armaan grabbed the rest of the sweet on the plate, "mmm….can I finish this?"

"There is real breakfast too……don't fill yourself with this," Riddhima chuckled.

"This is the best breakfast I've had in my life." Armaan wiped his sticky hands with his jeans, "and now I've got to go…..warna pehle din hi late ho jaaunga."

"Nahin late nahin hoge…..Abhimanyu has left a private care for you…..the driver will take you to the academy," Riddhima put the puja thali away and informed him.

"Private car? No….that's OK….I don't need that," Armaan shook his head; he knew the car was part of Abhimanyu's bribe to him for his so called white lies.

"Arre bte…..don't say that…..that's the least we can do for you," Shashank interjected, "you can keep the car as long as you need it."

"Haan beta…..aisa mat kaho….tum bhi ab hamare ghar waale jaise hi ho," Padma insisted, "agar Rahul ya Abhimanyu ko aisi chot aayi hoti tho kya unhein car nahin dete?"

Armaan was touched and overwhelmed by their compassion and genuine affection, "thanks…..aap sab bahut achche hain."

While Rahul, Atul and Anjali were still asleep, Armaan waved a good bye to the rest of the Modi family and placed his belongings in the car.

"Beta….aate rehna!" Padma yelled from behind.

"Aana hi padhega!" Armaan laughed, "After all I am Kavya's new guitar teacher."

"NO GUITAR HERO!" Kavya ran out in his pajamas and gave Armaan a thumbsup sign. Riddhima picked him up in her arms and helped Kavya wave to Armaan.

"OH…I love that title! Better than bandwaala," Armaan chuckled back, blew a flying kiss towards Kavya. Kavya, in Riddhima's arms returned the flying kiss. Armaan blew another kiss before he sat in the car. He did not notice that Kavya had slid down Riddhima's arms by now; the flying kiss hit Riddhima like a bolt of thunder. It almost seemed that the kiss was meant for her, and not Kavya. Padma and Shashank had turned around to go back inside, and were oblivious of how crimson their daughter-in-law had just turned after Armaan's innocuous invisible flying kiss. A flustered Riddhima held Kavya's hand and bent down to pick the morning newspaper to hide her stumped expression.

A few yards away from their home, Armaan asked the driver to stop.

"Bhaiyya….mujhey local train station par drop kar do."

"Train station? Lekin aapko tho Music Academy jaana hai na?" The driver was confused but obeyed his orders.

"Haan….lekin train se jaana chaahta hoon…..thanks for the ride," Armaan limped out of the car with his bags and self respect to catch the local train to the Indian Music Academy….

Please listen to this wonderful song as it plays in the back ground while Armaan enjoys his ride on the local Mumbai train to explore the city on his own terms, his way…….

'Main chala' from 'Black and White'


Na Na Ra Ta Ra Ta .. Ta Ra Ta
Na Na Ra Ta Ra Na
De Ra De Na

Main Chala Main Chala
Is Gali Uss Gali
Is Dagar Uss Dagar
Is Taraf Uss Taraf
Saath Mere Chale Zindagi Ka Safar

Main Chala Main Chala
Is Gali Uss Gali
Is Dagar Uss Dagar
Is Taraf Uss Taraf
Saath Mere Chale Zindagi Ka Safar

Main Chala Main Chala

Aaaaaa… Aaaa…Aaaa…Aaaaa

Ajnabee Raste, Ajnabee Hai Jahan
Main Kahan Se Kahan Aa Gaya Hun Yehan

Ajnabee Raste, Ajnabee Hai Jahan
Main Kahan Se Kahan Aa Gaya Hun Yehan
Saath Rango Ki Hai Teri Duniya Haseen
Hai Ujala Kahin Tho Andhera Kahin
Hai Kahin Shayam Tho Kyun Kahin Hai Sehar
Main Chala Main Chala

Kaisi Hai Uljane Kaise Halat Hai
Dil Main Umdhe Yeh Kaise Zajbath Hai

Kaisi Hai Uljane Kaise Halat Hai
Dil Main Umdhe Huwe Kaise Zajbath Hai
Hai Dhuwa Hi Dhuwa Rasthon Ke Nishan
Har Kadam Par Mere Honsle Hai Jawan
Meri Manzil Mujhe Aa Rahi Hai Nazar

Main Chala Main Chala
Is Gali Uss Gali
Is Dagar Uss Dagar
Is Taraf Uss Taraf
Saath Mere Chale Zindagi Ka Safar.

Main Chala Main Chala
Main Chala Main Chala

"Arre drive itni jaldi kaise aa gaye?" Riddhima was surprised when the chauffeur showed up at their doorstep within 15 minutes of Armaan's departure.

"Armaan saheb train se gaye hain."

"Train se?" She was surprised, "achcha jao…..tumhein baad mein bulaaungi," she let go of the chauffeur and sat down with her cup of morning tea to read the newspaper.

"Why did Armaan not go in the car?"

Her question was answered as soon as she saw the newspaper headlines.

………………to be contd…………………


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