Monday, 2 July 2018

part 29 : Pehchan



RECAP: "TUM?" He turned around in horror, "what are you doing here?"



"What are you doing here in the women's restroom with my wife?"



"It's none of your business!"



"It's bloody my business only!" Abhimanyu caught hold of Armaan's collar and growled.




"Leave my collar alone Abhimanyu!" Armaan scowled back, "and get out of my way. I need to attend the party."



"Party?" Abhimanyu released his grip, "abhi mera divorce nahin hua hai. Abhi se celebrations shuru ho gaye tum dono ke?"



"Divorce jab hoga tab itni choti party nahin karoonga….it will be a larger and bigger celebration than this." Armaan mocked at him, "and now please get out of my way before I knock you down."



Armaan noticed a woman step out of one of the bathroom stalls behind Abhimanyu; adjusting her blouse, with a mortified expression on her face, she dashed out of the restroom. Her uniform was proof of her employment at the restaurant.



"Ah I see! So, while I was making out with your soon-to-be-ex-wife, you were busy making out with one of the restaurant employees? Some people never change," Armaan laughed sardonically.



"You ba****d!" Abhimanyu pushed Armaan against the sink, "meri biwi ke saath kya kar raha tha?"



"Wo hi jo tumne kabhie nahin kiya uske saath!"

"We had a pretty good life before you walked into her life." Abhimanyu clarified, offended at Armaan's accusation.



"Well, for your kind information, it's even better now….Riddhima has no room for you in her life. Bhool jao usey."



"NO SHE IS MY WIFE! YOU STOLE HER FROM ME!"





"Let's not get into those details Abhimanyu. I saw what you were doing with that woman behind that stall. Those who live in glass houses, better not throw stones on others," Armaan held onto the walls and held his ground, "and I would strongly advise you to stop referring to Riddhima as your wife. You lost her the day you cheated on her, ab wo sirf meri hai, so stop dreaming Mr. Abhimanyu Modi!" Armaan straightened his jacket and walked towards the exit door.



"I will never let that happen."



"Tumhare chaahne ya na chaahne se kuch nahin hota Abhimanyu! No one can come between me and her now….not even her legally wedded husband," Armaan grabbed Abhimanyu's chin and shoved him to the wall, "samjhe?"



"Aakhir ek bad chalan aurat ki aulad se aur kya umeed ki jaa sakti hai?" Abhimanyu yelled as his head bounced against the wall.



Any mention of his late mother was enough to incense Armaan's senses; he turned around and gnashed his jaws, "wo hi jo ek bewafa baap ke bewafa bte se umeed ho sakti hai…..GOODBYE!" Armaan snarled his lips and left the restroom in fury.



Armaan stopped at the main desk, "make sure no uninvited guests are allowed into that banquet hall."



"Sure sir….but do we have a guest list?"



"Not really, but don't allow any more men to that party. There is a man in this restaurant who claims he is married to the chief guest of this party. He is kind of crazy…please keep him out," Armaan stuffed some cash into the staff member's pocket, 'got it?"



'Jee sir…samajh gaya."

………………………………………………………………………………………….





"Hey Armaan!" An excited Muskaan ran as she saw Armaan approach the banquet hall, "we are all anxiously waiting for you…kahan the tum?"



"Sorry…was just taking care of some business," Armaan brushed his collar and jacket with his hands and smiled, "how can I help you ladies?"



"We have a singing sensation amongst us, aur pooch rahe ho ki kaise help karoon? Come on man…your recent songs are a rage in the hostel….chalo hum sabko ek bhadakta hua gaana suna do."



"Gaana?" Armaan raised his eyebrows, "Oh boy….I was not ready for that. It's Riddhima's day, her party…she should be in the limelight, not me."



"Gaa do na Armaan," Riddhima pleaded; her luminous smile too irresistible for Armaan to refuse.



"Okay…if you insist," with a gentle tap of his finger on his lip, he winked at her, reminding her of their kiss in the restroom, "anything for you."



Turning a crimson red, Riddhima lowered her eyes, acknowledging his gesture.



Armaan poured his feelings and heart out with this new song:



'Dil ibaadat' from "tum Mile' (Thanks Hinnu)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieNVnLQjvJY&feature=related



Dil ibaadat kar raha hai
Dhadkanen meri sun
Tujhko main kar loon haasil
Lagi hai yahi dhun
Zindagi ki shaakh se lun
Kuch haseen pal main chun
Tujhko main kar loon haasil
Lagi hai yahi dhun

Oh seyo leyo sama leyo
Seyo leyo aa…
Oh seyo leyo sama leyo
Seyo leyo aa…

Dil ibaadat kar raha hai
Dhadkanen meri sun
Tujhko main kar loon haasil
Lagi hai yahi dhun
Zindagi ki shaakh se lun
Kuch haseen pal main chun
Tujhko main kar loon haasil
Lagi hai yahi dhun

Jo bhi jitne pal jeeyun
Unhe tere sang jeeyun
Jo bhi kal ho ab mera
Usse tere sang jeeyun
Jo bhi saansein main bharoon
Unhe tere sang bahroon
Chaahe jo ho raasta
Usse tere sang chaloon

Dil ibaadat kar raha hai
Dhadkanen meri sun
Tujhko main kar loon haasil
Lagi hai yahi dhun

Mujhko de tu mit jaane
Ab khud se de mil jaane
Kyun hai yeh itna faasla
Lamhe yeh phir na aane
Inko tu na de jaane
Tu mujhpe khud ko de luta

Tujhe tujhse tod loon
Kahin khud se jod loon
Mere jismojaan pe aa
Teri khushboo odh loon
Jo bhi saansein main bharoon
Unhe tere sang bharoon
Chaahe jo ho raasta
Use tere sang chaloon

Dil ibaadat kar raha hai
Dhadkanen meri sun
Tujhko main kar loon haasil
Lagi hai yahi dhun

Baahon mein de bas jaane
Seene mein de chup jaane
Tujh bhin main jaaoon toh kahaan
Tujhse hai mujhko paane
Yaadon ke woh nazraane
Ik jinpe hak ho bas mera



Armaan's glances and smiles had Riddhima captivated; she knew he meant every word of the song- his desperation and yearning for her exuded through the beautiful song…..





Teri yaadein mein rahoon
Tere khwaabon mein jagoon
Mujhe dhoonde jab koi
Teri aankhon mein miloon
Jo bhi saansein main bharoon
Unhe tere sang bharoon
Chaahe jo ho raasta
Usse tere sang chaloon

Dil ibaadat kar raha hai
Dhadkanen meri sun
Tujhko main kar loon haasil
Lagi hai yahi dhun



As the Armaan's song kept the guests mesmerized, Shailendra whispered into Aradhana's ears, "yeh tho bahut achcha gaata hai."



"Jaanti hoon….aaj kal kal kaafi popular ho raha hai," Aradhana whispered back, "now I know why Riddhima loves him and his voice."



Shailendra's scheming mind quickly hatched up a web of tactics on how to exploit this budding singer's talents for his self interest. He regretted notifying Abhimanyu about Riddhima's party; Abhimanyu's value had dwindled over the past few months; he would rather cash on Armaan's charisma and popularity. If Shailendra wanted to woo the youth, what better way to have a youth icon on his side?



"Arre wah wah! What a beautiful song and kya awaaz hai! Wah bhi wah!" Shailendra stunned everyone with his loud applause and boisterous response to the song.



"Thanks," Armaan bowed to all the admirers, a little taken aback by Shailendra's over the top response.

"Kya baat hai! Armaan bhai…maan gaye!" Shailendra pulled Armaan's hands and shook it vigorously, "I always knew you are a special guy! The day I saw you in Dehradun, I knew you will be a big star one day!"



"Really?" Armaan chuckled, "but I am not a star."



"Arre bhai abhi nahin ho tho jald hi ho jaaoge. In fact, I can make that happen even sooner."



"I am in no hurry," Armaan withdrew his hands and placed them in his pockets, "but thanks for the vote of confidence."



"How modest," Shailendra smiled, "why don't you join my party? You will get a lot more exposure, and this way we can recruit more youngsters too….kyun? A win-win situation for both of us?"



Armaan sighed, well aware of Shailendra's devious ways, "Oh I see! Now I get it…well Mr. Shailendra Sareen….thanks but NO THANKS!"



"Arre bhai, how can you refuse such a lucrative offer? Party mein position mil rahi hai…that too without any political experience."



"Sorry sir! I have no interest in politics, nor in political parties…now if you allow me, can I enjoy this party?" Armaan excused himself and walked towards Riddhima.



Shailendra cleared his throat and stood back with a stern look on his face. "Yeh aap kya kar rahe hain?" Aradhana confronted him, "leave that poor guy alone."



"Aradhana, don't interfere in my work. Tum jaanti nahin ho, this could be really big for me!"



"This is not about you Shailendra. This is Riddhima's night; just stay out of it!"



…………………………………………………………………………………



"LET ME GO IN! THAT'S MY WIFE'S PARTY!" Abhimanyu tried to wrestle his way into the banquet hall, but was stopped by two of the restaurant staff members, 'sorry sir….you are not on the guest list."



"What the hell! Wo meri biwi hai!" Abhimanyu frowned.



Before he could come to blows with them, Keerti and Krina walked up to them, "what's going on here?"



"Remember me?" Abhimanyu scowled at Keerti, "I am Riddhima's husband. You have got to allow me inside. I have to congratulate her."





"Of course I remember you Mr. Modi. You are one of the few privileged ones who went to jail because of us," Keerti chuckled, "how can I forget you?"



'Please ma'am," Abhimanyu pleaded, "can I see my wife? I just want to wish her….once," he folded his hands.



"I will need to check with Riddhima" Keerti objected. Krina, sensing some commotion in the restaurant, slipped out to the main dining area. Abhimanyu's presence in the restaurant meant trouble and potential clues in favor of her client.



"What happened di?" Riddhima, concerned about the activity at the entrance walked towards them. Armaan, surrounded by a number of young fans from the hostel, stiffened at the sight of Abhimanyu, "excuse me ladies," he ran behind Riddhima. He didn't want any interference in Riddhima's happiness; Abhimanyu's presence could portend conflict and turmoil for Riddhima.



"RIDDHIMA!" Abhimanyu ran and hugged her as soon as she walked in, throwing her off balance and taking her by surprise.



"ABHIMANYU! TUM?" She pushed him away, rebounding into Armaan's arms behind her.



"Congratulations darling!" He tried to come closer, "I am really proud of you. Waise mujhey pehle bataya hota tho tumhare liye ek degree ka intezaam waise hi kar deta. Why did you go through the hassles of taking an exam? I have contacts in all colleges and universities. Jaanti ho na kitna influential hoon main."





"ABHIMANYU PLEASE LEAVE MY PARTY! I DON'T NEED ANY UNINVITED GUESTS HERE!" Riddhima gave him a scornful look, "and you would never understand the pleasure of honesty and hard work."





"Riddhima…please sweetheart…..meri  baat suno….let's forget the past….I am willing to forgive you….aa jao mere paas wapas….jab se tum gayi ho, meri life bilkul bikhar gayi hai….I need you….we need each other sweet heart." Abhimanyu begged. A stunned audience stood still with their jaws dropped. Padma couldn't believe her ears; had her son finally accepted his miserable life without Riddhima? She was confused- was he asking for forgiveness or willing to forgive Riddhima for no mistake of hers?





Armaan stepped forward, shielding Riddhima, "Abhimanyu, please leave…right now! We will have to call the police otherwise." Padma came forward, "Abhimanyu…let's talk about this at home. Yahan tamasha mat karo."



Riddhima pushed Armaan and Padma out of her way and glared at Abhimanyu fearlessly, "Abhimanyu. It's too late. I have moved on. You need to move on too. I don't need you or your forgiveness. I am very happy right now. If you have any remorse about your actions, then the best thing would be to leave me alone…shayad phir main tumhein maaf kar sakoon."



"Riddhima baby! Don't break my heart," Abhimanyu tried to touch her again, but she held her hand as a barrier, "please leave. NOW!"



A shaken up Abhimanyu averted her hateful gaze, gave a scornful look to Armaan but did not budge.



"Mr. ABHIMANYU MODI!" A burly man tapped his shoulder, "the manager wants to see you."



"The manager?" Abhimanyu turned around and faced a brawny, tall man, "kaun ho tum? Why does the manager want to see me?"





"You assaulted his sister in the restroom. He will not leave you alone now!" The tall man gave him a dirty look.



'What rubbish?" Abhimanyu pretended innocence. Riddhima, Padma and the other women gasped with disgusted expression. Riddhima was glad she had not fallen for his lies; instead she turned her face with a horror-struck expression. Little did Abhimanyu know that by falling for temptation, he had dug his own grave at Riddhima's graduation party? Although, Shailendra had invited him to attend the party to make amends with his estranged wife; he had been sidetracked by a beautiful waitress at the restaurant, who had led him to the women's restroom for some quick gratification in exchange for some extra cash. He had no idea she was the manager's sister, and by not fulfilling his end of the deal, he had invited the brother's wrath. As always, he blamed Armaan for the digression.





"The manager's sister has been crying since she came out from the restroom…she says you forced yourself upon her. CHALO MERE SAATH!" the tall man picked Abhimanyu in his arms and carried him out despite his protests and yells.



"NO! NO! It was by mutual consent. I did not force myself on her," his cries fell on deaf ears.



Krina rubbed her hands in glee; the pattern of assaulting and harassing women had become Abhimanyu's second nature. After the hostel fiasco, this restaurant incident would definitely make her case stronger.



"Di! Ab dilli door nahin hai," she whispered in Keerti's ear.



"I think you are right li'l sis!" Keerti shook her head, dismayed by the dent in celebrations.



"SHAILENDRA!" Abhimanyu screamed, "please save me yaar….kuch karo…..get these goons…..bandh karwaa do yeh restaurant…..jalaa daalo saalon ko!"



Shailendra turned his face away, smiled sheepishly at the other hotel staff, "I.I am not sure what he is talking about…I don't even know who he is…..looks like a mental case."









"Let's all resume the celebrations!" Keerti announced and shut the door behind her.



Riddhima and Padma were too distraught to move or respond.



"Riddhima," Armaan placed her arm on her back, "chalo…everyone is waiting for you to cut the cake."



"Hmm?" She nodded gently, "why Armaan? Jab bhi meri zindagi mein koi khushi aati hai tho kyun uska saaya beech mein aa jaata hai?"



"Let's not analyze the situation right now….you have guests waiting there," he stroked her back, 'chalo."



"You are right Armaan. My friends have organized this party for me. I can't let them down."





Padma walked over, 'beta…main chalti hoon…bhagwan tum dono ko khush rakhe…I am sorry Riddhima, I can't stay any longer."



"Nahin mummyji….aap kahin nahin jaayengi," Riddhima held Padma's wrist, "please stay back."



"Beta…" she hesitated and looked at Armaan with a soulful expression, a mixture of apology, ashamed of her son's actions and guilt.



"Aunty….please stay," Armaan said softly, "it's not your fault. Don't blame yourself for Abhimanyu's actions."





"Beta…that's very nice of you to say that. Main tho tumhari bhi gunahgaar hoon. Kaash us din maine tumhein rok liya hota….meri chuppi shayad meri kamzori thi ki….I am really sorry beta." Padma's eyes welled up; her own son, just like her husband had let her down again. For the first time in his life, Armaan felt sorry for Padma's plight- an unfaithful and weak husband and an immoral son- no woman deserved such a double whammy in one life.





"That's okay aunty. Even you have been a victim for all these years. I admire you for being strong and dedicated to your family. Shayad main aapki jagah hota tho aisa kabhie nahin kar paata." Armaan felt his eyes mist up with emotions. His anger against Padma rinsed away with his tears.





Riddhima, sensing the emotional heaviness, held both their hands and smiled, "ab chaliye aap dono….wahan sab cake ka intezaar kar rahe hain….and I am dying to eat the cake…come on now…NO TEARS!" She dragged both of them to the table, trying her best to put the Abhimanyu incident behind her; instead cherishing her moment of celebration.



……………………………………………….



"CONGRATULATIONS!"



"WISH YOU ALL THE SUCCESS IN LIFE!"



"BEST OF LUCK!"



"NOW WE WANT A BIGGER PARTY AFTER THE DIVORCE!"



 Her friends cheered her up as Padma, Aradhana and then Armaan fed her pieces of the chocolate cake.



"Armaan! Itna badha piece nahin!" She screamed, "I am full!" She was mortified by the huge piece Armaan had cut for her.



"Mere haath se is se chota piece tho milega nahin," he laughed, "come on Riddhima….we know you can do it….if not, I can help you at the other end," he tried to bite into the piece hanging from her lips, making Riddhima turn a deep red at his comment. She pulled away from his approaching lips and forcefully stuffed the big piece in her mouth.



"YAY!" Everyone cheered as she gave Armaan a dirty look.



"Kya karte ho sab ke saamne?" She elbowed him, muttering under her breath.



"We can go back to the restroom and finish the rest of cake if you want," he chuckled and whispered back, "I can demonstrate 101 ways of eating cake." He licked the icing off his fingers.



"Mummyji aur Aradhana didi peeche khade hain." She whispered, her cheeks flushed with his mischievous comments.



"Tho unhein aage bulaa lein? They can give us some ideas too- after all they are more experienced in this field," he chided, making her turn various shades of red once again.



The rest of the party turned out to be a big blast, with games, dancing and more singing. Abhimanyu's saga did not deter the women from partying hard and making Riddhima feel on top of the world for a few hours.



……………………………………………………………………………………..



On their way back from the restaurant, Riddhima rode silently as Armaan drove her back to the hostel. She was worn out after riding the emotional roller coaster all evening. For the sake of her friends, she had put up a brave front after Abhimanyu had been taken away by the restaurant staff, but now when she was alone with Armaan, the reality of Abhimanyu's intrusion and his disgusting act with the waitress had dampened her spirits once again.



"Riddhima? Are you still upset by the whole Abhimanyu incident?" He broke the wall of silence.





"Armaan. Why? Why me? Mera ek aise insaan ke saath kyun rishta juda tha? Why can't he leave me alone?"



"It's partially your fault Riddhima," he sighed.



"My fault?"



"Why did you have to invite Shailendra to this party? You know he is such a trouble maker. Hamari zindagi mein hamesha dakhal andaazi ki hai usney."





"Armaan….I couldn't help it. He is my jijajee…married to my sister. How could I say no to him?"



"Then don't ask me that question that why Abhimanyu was there? You need to move out of the shadows of your past Riddhima. Jab tak tum past se bandhi rahogi, aage kaise chalogi?"



"ARMAAN! You are being unfair to me!"



"I am not!" He stirred the car towards an empty space beside the road and slammed the breaks, "main tumhein pehle bhi Shailendra ke baare mein bataa chuka hoon Riddhima…I don't want to see that man again," he stepped out of the car, hoping to get some cool breeze to cool off his temper.





Taken aback by Armaan's fury, Riddhima stepped out and followed him in the dark, "Armaan….one cannot like everyone in life, but one has to maintain relationships. Mujhey bhi jijajee koi khaas pasand nahin hain, lekin iska matlab yeh tho nahin main un se rishta hi thod doon."





"You are right Riddhima," he turned around, his anger softened a bit, "I guess we can't isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, can we?" He cupped her face in his hands, "why have we started arguing about little things? Pehle tho aisa kabhie nahin tha."





"That's because love is more complicated than friendship," she answered, "the closer we get, the more we expect from each other."





"No Riddhima, I think our differences erupt only when we let a third person come between us," He kissed her forehead and gazed into her eyes inquisitively, searching for an answer, "why do I want a world with just the two of us? Jahan hamare beech aur koi bhi na naaye…..phir hamari kabhie ladhai bhi nahin hogi…bas pyaar hi pyaar hoga," his eyes twinkled, brimming with love and passion.



"Jab tum mujhey aise dekhte ho, tho mann karta hai ki tum jo keh rahe ho, waisa hi ho. Bas hum tum ho, aur koi nahin ho," her eyes reciprocated his feelings.



"Tho chalo aaj hi kahin door bhaag jaate hain…sab logon se door," he drawled, kissing her fingers tenderly, "kisi ko pataa bhi nahin chalega."



"Aur tumhari music training?" She raised her eyebrows, "uska kya hoga?"



"I have told you many times, you are my inspiration. Mujhey music academy ki nahin, tumhari zaroorat hai. Tumhein dekh dekh kar gaane gaata rahoonga."





"Aur main kya karoongi wahan?" She chuckled, gently tapping his forehead with her hand, "kahin baithi baithi but (statue) na ban jaaun?"



"Don't worry I will keep you very busy," he smiled mischievously, "ek second bhi akele nahin chodunga tumhein."



"I think that would create more problems," she laughed.



"Why?" He squeezed his eyes quizzically.



"Itna saath bhi relationship ke liye achcha nahin hai….I will have my own career, and you will have yours….we will need to give each other some space."



"Kitni unromantic ho Riddhima," he sulked, "yeh pyaar ki baaton mein career, space, relationships….na na….let's not get that pragmatic….I wish there was a restroom here. That's one place where you know how to romance." He looked up in the sky and murmured, "it's such a beautiful night." He placed his arm around her shoulders, "let's admire this serene loneliness. I could spend the whole night here; star gazing, with you in my arms."



The cool breeze sent a ticklish chill all over her body; his words, his soothing presence, his strapping arms were all she needed that night. She snuggled against his chest, burying her face inside the seams of his jacket, "lekin mujhey thand lag rahi hai Armaan."



Like a typical filmy hero, he removed his jacket and placed it around her shoulders, "I have a solution for this problem too…..I had an inkling you would need a jacket tonight. That's why I wore it." He teased her.



"Yeah right!" She nudged him with her elbow, "I am exhausted Armaan," she yawned.



'I have a solution for that problem too," he pulled her down to the ground, "let's sit down for some time."





They sat down on the grassy knoll, snuggled against each other, her head resting on his shoulder, his arms circling her like a protective shield.



"This is a great idea," she replied sleepily, resting her head on his shoulder.



"Riddhima, yeh shaam mujhey hamesha yaad rahegi." His demeanor became a bit more reflective and serious, "Kabhie bhi hamari zindagi mein koi problem aaye, ya differences aayein, remember this is the only truth about us….hum, hamara saath aur hamara pyaar…wo hi amar hai, baaki sab jhooth."





"Mmm," she moaned and nuzzled her tiny frame into his strong arms, inhaling the sweet fragrances of the night, relaxed and tranquil, away from the realities of the world.



Please enjoy this beautiful song by Vital signs (thanks Annu for the recommendation)….





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnDgk6mQ8MY





Yeh shaam phir nahee ayegi
Yeh shaam phir nahee ayegi

Iss


shaam ko, iss saath ko
Aao
Amar karlain
Amar karlain

Yeh shaam phir nahee ayegi

Iss shaam ko, iss saath ko
Aao
Amar karlain
Amar karlain

Yeh shaam phir nahee ayegi

Dil ki baatain sabhi
Bin kahay hum sunain
Hont khaamosh hon
Aankhain kehti rahain

Dil ki baatain sabhi

Aankhon aankhon mein
Baaton baaton mein
Jeevan...
Basar karlain
Basar karlain
Amar karlain

Yeh shaam phir nahee ayegi

Main tumharay kareeb
Tum meray paas ho
Aur kuch ho na ho
Bus yeh ehsas ho

Tum meray paas ho

Aankhon aankhon mein
Baaton baaton Mein
Jeevan
Safar karlain
Safar karlain
Amar karlain

Yeh shaam phir nahee ayegi

Eik doojay mein gumm
Iss tarhan hum jeeyain
Haath main haath hon
Lamha lamha banay

Iss tarhan hum jeeyain
Aankhon aankhon mein
Baaton baaton mein
Aao
Sahar karlain
Sahar karlain
Amar karlain

Yeh shaam phir nahee ayegi

Iss shaam ko
Iss saath ko
Aao
Amar karlain
Amar karlain

Yeh shaam phir nahee ayegi

Iss shaam ko
Iss saath ko
Aao
Amar karlain
Amar karlain

Amar karlain...





….to be contd…

Bheegi

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