Wednesday, 19 September 2018

part 31 : To Err is Human

When We Dream Alone it's Just a Dream,
When We Dream Together We can Turn It into Reality…..



As soon as they set foot on the soft sand, Armaan threw his socks and shoes off, "come on Riddima…..let's go in the water."


"Armaan…..paani mein nahin…..my clothes will get wet."



"Don't worry Riddhima….achcha hai na geele kapdon mein aur sexy lagogi," he winked mischievously.




"Armaaaan! Tum bhi na! You are too much!" she glared at him.



"Ok baba…sit down here….I will help you," he forced her to sit on the sand and removed her sandals.


"Yeh kya kar rahe ho?" she was aghast.


"Ek ek karke tumhare kapde utaar raha hoon," he chuckled and ducked as soon as he saw her sandal shooting towards his face.


"You rascal! Ek bholi bhali ladki ka faayda uthaate ho?" she pretended to be upset.


"Kahan hai bholi bhali ladki?" he looked around, "I don't see anyone….I just see a sweet and sour girl jo kehti kuch hai aur karti kuch hai," he pinched her nose affectionately and then rolled up his pants to his knees, "now you roll your salwaar too….phir kapde geele nahin honge."


"Yeh salwaar nahin buddhu….churidaar hai….and it is impossible to roll it up."


"Tho aise kapde kyun pehnti ho? Such inconvenient clothes?" he made a face.


"Tho kya pehna karoon?" she asked innocently.

With a mischievous grin on his face, he gave her a side glance, "kuch nahin!"


"YOOOUUUUU!" she shrieked and ran away bare feet towards the water as it gently caressed the sands on the beach. Armaan caught up with her and grabbed her by her waist. She let out another shriek as he lifted her in his arms and gazed up at her face, "itna darrti kyun ho? Kya mujhpar vishwaas nahin hai?"




"Hai….apne aap se bhi zyaada," she placed her arms around his neck and kissed his forehead, "let's take a walk…..main jaanti hoon tum jitna bolte ho….utna karte nahin ho."


"Madam….ek baar shaadi ho jaane do….you will know Dr Armaan Mallik does what he says and says what he does…abhi tho sirf meri sharafat dekhi hai tumne……bus ek baar suhaag raat tak pahuncha do mujhey…..phir dekhna mera asli roop!"




"Bilkul deewane ho tum," she chuckled and slipped off his arms. They held hands and strolled on the beach. The warm water sprayed their feet gently as Riddhima ignored how soaked her churidaar was getting with each wave.


"Armaan….Angad kitni achchi ring laaya tha Kripa ke liye," she leaned her head on his shoulder, "kya tum bhi mujhey kabhie aise propose karoge?"


"You mean kiss karke? Ya cake khilaake?" he squeezed her closer.



"Dono."


"Nahin….main rings mein believe nahin karta."



"Kyun?"she was surprised.



"Main," he pulled out a box from his pocket, "neeche baitho…phir batata hoon."



"Phir baithoon? I am tired of doing push-ups on the beach."



"Please baitho na," he practically pushed her down on the wet sand.



"AHHHH! Mera kurta bhi geela ho gaya," she whined but was soon pleasantly surprised as he slipped a pair of beautiful anklets on her ankles.


"Armaan…payal?'



"Haan….payal ki jhankar ring ki jhankar se zyaada sureeli hoti hai…..ab tum jahan bhi hogi….mujhey pata chal jaayega…..a ring is only visible to the eye…..but this anklet will sing to me everyday….it will remind me that you are around…..agar tumhein dekh bhi nahin paaoonga tho mehsoos kar sakoonga," he came closer and gazed into her eyes after removing a tendril of hair from her face.



"Kitne romantic ho tum," she whispered shyly.



"Romantic bhi…aur practical bhi," he drawled amorously.


With a confused expression on her face, she asked, "practical?"



"Haan…..the anklets will remind me that you are around….so I can shoo away my other girlfriends just in time." Before she could response, Armaan had buried his face in her lap as she showered him with tons of tiny slaps and dug her nails into his hair, "you rascal!"



"Sorry…sorry….mazaak kar raha tha," he got up and ran as fast as he could. Riddhima giggled and ran after him but he was too swift for her. Her anklets jingled on the beach as she tried to reach for him. Their playful laughter interrupted the silence of the isolated beach as the gentle splashes of the waves and the tinkling anklets sounded like background music to the ears. They had never been happier in their lives; never felt as liberated as they did at that moment. At that moment, as if hit by a flash of lightning, Armaan knew what he wanted from life. A boy who had always been accused of being 'unfocussed' and 'inattentive' had found his focus in life on these beaches of Goa- he knew he wanted to live, work, breath and play on these beaches. This is where he wanted to settle…..this is where he would work, have a beautiful house on the beach with Riddhima on his side and at least half a dozen of their kids surrounding them.




He stopped to catch his breath and turned around to welcome Riddhima into his arms. She obliged and collapsed in his strong arms. As they panted and held each other, Riddhima mumbled against his chest, "I love you Armaan…..I love you the way you are…..please kabhie badlna nahin …..na apne liye….aur na mere liye…..I love your playfulness…..I love the way you tease me….the way you pull my leg." As always, she was in a trance in his arms as Armaan absorbed the true meaning of her words. Never before, had someone loved him for who he was; it was always who he could and should be. He was grateful to Riddhima for accepting the real Armaan in him; he might have let others down but he could never let Riddhima down.




"Thanks Riddhima," he murmured back in her ears, "I will always keep you happy….tumhari khushi mein hi meri khishi hai."



"Tum mere liye kuch bhi kar sakte ho?" she looked up and challenged him.


"Of course! Hukum karo sarkar!"


She kissed his chest and leaned closer, "aaj nahin…..jab zaroorat hogi tab bataaungi tumhein."


"bandaa haazir rahega," he chuckled as they decided to walk back to the beach house.

"Kitna sunder hai yeh sab….I love your parent's beach house," Riddhima could not help admiring the single storey structure as they headed back to the house.


"Ek din…hamara bhi beach par aisa hi ghar hoga….yahin Goa mein…..tum….main….aur hamare 5-6 bachche….bas aur kuch nahin chaahiye mujhey," Armaan replied dreamily. His words came as a surprise to her. Despite having known each other for so many months, they had never discussed their future with each other.


"Really? Lekin America se aane ke baad," she said matter-of-factly.


"America?" he pulled away his arm from her shoulder and looked at her quizzically.


"Haan…America….I want to specialize as a cancer specialist….papa bhi yahi chaahte ki main US mein higher training karoon."


The color and expression on Armaan's face changed from a happy and content crimson to a stunned and disappointed pallor.


"Kya hua?" she asked, "we will both go to the US Armaan….main akeli nahin jaaoongi….and then we can always come back to Goa or wherever you want."



"Of…of..course," he fumbled, "as…as you wish."



"No Armaan….what we wish….it would be great for both our careers….have you given any thought on what you want to do after internship?"



"Roz….roz sochta hoon ki internship ke baad kya karoonga," he smiled.


"Kya?"


"Tumhari ghulami…..aur tumse dher saara pyaar," he cupped her face and kissed her lips tenderly, "rest…I don't care."

"Deewane ho bilkul," she wiped his lips with her fingers, "let's go inside….Kripa and Angad must be wondering where we are."



……………………………………………………………………………….


MEANWHILE BACK AT THE BEACH HOUSE:


"Kya hua Kripa?" Angad wandered why she was lost in her thoughts as he held her in his arms. She twirled the ring on her slender finger and replied, "zindagi ka itna badhaa decision le liya hai maine….wo bhi bina mama papa ke bina."



"Let's call them." He took his mobile out from his back pocket, "number batao."


"It's late Angad….wo so rahe honge."



"Aakhir unki ek lauti beti ki aaj sagai huyi hai….I am sure they won't mind….jaldi number batao yaar."


His insistence on talking to her parents came as a pleasant surprise, "theek hai…let me call from my cell…..tumhara number jaante nahin hai na….I don't want them to get worried in the middle of the night."


"Hello…mama?"


Gayatri- Kripa beta? Sab theek hai na? Itni raat ko?


Kripa- mama…sab theek hai….bahut achcha hai….aur aaj main bahut khush hoon mama


Gayatri- yeh tho bahut achchi baat hai….kya khush khabri hai? Tujhey intern of the month award mila hai kya?


An impatient Angad snatched the phone from Kripa, "let me talk."


Angad- hello aunty…..mera naam Angad Khanna hai….main aapki beti ke saath internship kar raha hoon…..aur….aur….us se shaadi karna chaahta hoon….I love her aunty.


Kripa's jaw fell as she heard Angad's words on the phone. She was sure, across the phone line, her mother probably had a similar expression.



Gayatri (stunned and speechless at first; finally mustered the courage to respond to that statement from a strange man): A..Angad? Beta….yeh kya keh rahe ho tum?


Angad- 100% sach….aur sach ke siwa kuch nahin


Suryabhan (Kripa's dad) was up by now. After seeing the color drain from his wife's face, he took the phone from her: Hello….kaun bol raha hai?


Angad- Sorry to wake you up uncle…..but my name is Angad Khanna….I am a doctor like your daughter…..I love her uncle….and would like to marry her.



Suryabhan (initially stunned himself but soon regained his composure): Beta…..hamara aashirwaad tumhare saath hai…..agar Kripa ko tum pasand ho….tho humein bhi tum pasand ho….mujhey apni beti par poora vishwaas hai….agar usney tumhein apna jeevan saathi chuna hai….tho soch samajh kar kiya hoga…..hum Mumbai aa rahe hain….ab milkar hi aashirwaad dena chaahenge tumhein.


Angad (a bit emotional from intense relief and happiness): thanks uncle….thanks a lot.



Suryabhan: uncle nahin beta….papa kaho…..aaj se tum hamare bte ho.


Angad: yes papa. I look forward to meeting you both….and I promise to keep Kripa happy…..always.



Suryabhan: Jaanta hoon….jis ladke mein raat ke do baje itna badha sach bolne ki himmat hai…..wo meri beti ko sachche mann se hi pyaar karta hoga….congratulations son….we will see you in a few days.



Angad hung up; still stunned from disbelief. Kripa was speechless after overhearing the conversation between her father and Angad. She did not expect her parents to oppose her choice, but had never expected to reveal the news to them this way or her parents to respond so calmly. Her father's magnanimous response had filled her with an immense sense of relief and pride in her parents. They trusted her more than she trusted herself and she knew there was no way she could betray their trust even if she was ever tempted to.




"Kripa," Angad kept the phone down and lifted her chin, "lagta hai Diwali tak intezaar nahin karna padhega….you know I always considered myself unlucky…..but had I known that one day I would be the luckiest man in this world ….I would have never complained."



"Angad!" she buried her face in his chest, "You are amazing…..I can't believe how you were so fearless on the phone."



"jab pyaar kiya tho darna kya?" He chuckled, "and I don't believe in wasting time…..I want you to be mine ASAP."



Kripa pushed him away, "Dr im-patient…..you will have to wait for that."



"Kripaaa! Kitna tadpaadti ho," he whined, "I wish I had a remote control in my hand…..I really want my life to go in fast forward right now." He grabbed her from behind and kissed her neck, "I want everything in life…….sab kuch chaahta hoon main…..ek badhaa ghar….….3-4 imported cars….khoob naukar chaakar…..successful practice……badhe logon ke saath uthna baithna…..I want us to be famous and successful like Armaan's parents."



Kripa's color drained as she heard Angad whisper his dreams in her ear. She remained silent, still trying to absorb and sort out real from unreal- was Angad's conversation with her parents real or the peek she just had into his world of dreams real?


"Angad," she said softly and walked away from his arms, "is that what you really want?"



"Of course…..but only after I make you mine forever," he stepped sideways and gazed into her eyes, "then we will accomplish our dream together…..saath saath…..hamare liye saare raaste khud ba khud khul jaayenge phir."



Kripa was in a fix. Angad and she had just emerged from the most painful experience in their lives. She could not afford to lose him once again; the very thought sent a shudder through her body. She looked away, unable to meet his gaze, "Angad…..let's take one day at a time…..pehle internship tho poori ho jaaye."



"Of course Kripa…..but that should not stop us from dreaming…..zindagi mein pehli baar kisi aur ke saath sapne le raha hoon….I have never been happier Kripa…..tum jaanti nahin ho Kripa…..tumhare aane se meri zindagi ko ek naya roop mil gaya hai…..and I promise to keep you happy and give you everything the world has to offer," he kissed her hands and embraced her passionately. Kripa shut her eyes and embraced the tender moment…….waqt ke saath apne aap samajh jaayega Angad…..abhi kuch keh kar usey naaraaz nahin karti…..mera bhagwan usey khud raasta dikha dega…..wo naadan hai abhi….ek din samajh jaayega ki jo wo sapna dekh raha hai, usmein khushi nahin….sirf dard hai…….. She had decided to suspend any discussions on this matter for now and hope that one day Angad would see the light himself.



………………………………………………………………


"KNOCK! KNOCK! Thermostat check!" Armaan walked in after tapping at the door.



"Thermostat check?" Angad chuckled


"Jab hum gaye the….tho is ghar ka temperature bahut high tha…I hope it has cooled down by now," Armaan chuckled back.




"Sorry buddy," Angad gazed at a very wet Riddhima and a clammy Armaan, "looks like the temperature is about to rise once again."


Armaan winked back and stretched, "let's go raise the temperature Riddhima!"



Kripa came to the rescue as she knew what the men were hinting at.



"Sorry guys…..Riddhima and I are very tired….aap logon ne humein kuch khaana bhi nahin khilaaya…..you guys never kept your end of the deal….so goodnight….and sweet dreams," she grabbed Riddhima's hand and headed towards the master bedroom.



The men heard the door latch behind them.


"Chal yaar….sweet dreams se hi kaam chalaate hain," Armaan placed his arm around Angad and walked towards the guest room with disappointed expressions.


………….to be contd…….

bheegi

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