Saturday, 27 October 2018

Part 7: Chance Encounter

The next two days passed in a blur. Riddhima was very busy with one of her patients who had meningitis and before she knew it, it was time for Gappu's birthday party. She was getting ready for the party when Niki sauntered into her room.

"Hey ridzie! Ooooh, looking nice! Going somewhere?"

"Yeah, a birthday party," Riddhima smiled.

"Birthday party?" Niki frowned, "Anybody I know?"

Riddhima grinned, "I don't think so. His name is Gappu."


"Gappu? That's a weird name," Niki shrugged and sat on the bed flipping through a magazine. Suddenly her eyes fell on a football lying on Riddhima's bed. She held it like a dangerous specimen and looked at Riddhima, surprised,

"Ridzie? What's this?"

"Niki, that's a football, you idiot!"

"I know, it is a football, but what is it doing on your bed?"

Riddhima laughed, "That is my present for the birthday boy."

Niki snickered, "Come on Ridzie, you can't gift a football to the birthday boy! What is he, like, ten year old?"

"Actually, he is!"

Niki looked from Riddhima to the football and then back at Riddhima, her mouth open in wonder. She finally left the ball on the bed and walked up to Riddhima. She leaned against the mirror and looked at Riddhima critically,

"You are going to a birthday party of a ten year old?"

"Yep."

"But you are wearing your new churidar?"

"Yep," Riddhima said, applying mascara.

"And you are wearing make up?"

"Yep."

"Ridzie, let me get this straight. You are going to a birthday party of a ten year old wearing your new churidar and you are applying mascara! Something is definitely wrong."

Riddhima looked at Niki and smiled, "There's nothing wrong in looking good, Niki, and you are the one who keeps telling me that!"

"I know, but'" Niki stopped suddenly, her eyes widening with horror. "Oh my God! Ridzie, don't tell me!"

"Tell you what?" Riddhima looked puzzled.

"Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Ridzie, please don't tell me that'"

"Tell you what, Niki?"

"Please don't tell me that you are having an affair with someone who has a ten year old son!"



   It took a couple of seconds before Riddhima understood what Niki was saying and before she could say anything Niki sat down on the couch, her hands covering her face.



"Oh my God! I should have taken better care of you. You, you are so innocent and so gullible Riddhima. You can't do this. You deserve so much better. If he has a ten year old son, then he must be, like what 35-40 yrs old? Oh my God! I won't allow this! I '"



"Niki..?"

"No, no, Riddhima, don't try to convince me, he is too old for you."

"Niki, listen'"

"No Ridzie, its way too complicated. For God's sake, he has a son, he was married. What is he? Divorced? A widower?"



Riddhima bit her lip to stop herself from laughing,

"Actually, Gappu's father is still married and his wife is really sweet!"



Niki dug her hands through her hair and grimaced,

"Ridzie? What were you thinking? You are having an affair with a married man? You think his wife is 'sweet'? Oh my God! Have you completely lost it?"



Keeping a straight face any longer proved impossible and Riddhima finally gave in. One look at Niki's panic stricken face and she burst out laughing. Niki's eyes, if it was possible, became bigger and posed a serious threat of popping out of the sockets.

"You are laughing? You are LAUGHING! Stop laughing! It's not funny!"

"But, it is," Riddhima said hiccupping with laughter.

"It's not!"

"It is!"

"It's not!"

Riddhima decided to put Niki out of her misery and said softly,

"Niki listen to me, I am not having an affair!"

Niki looked up, uncertain, "You are not?"

Riddhima shook her head, "No. Gappu was my patient and he considers me a friend. That is why he invited me to his birthday party. And to put your worries to rest, Gappu's father is in LA owing to his job and I haven't even met him!"

Niki still looked uncertain, "Are you sure?"

"Sure!"

Niki finally smiled. She gave Riddhima a hug and said, "I am so sorry Ridzie, I got carried away. I was so worried, I over reacted."

"I know," Riddhima grinned, "And thank you!"

"Thank you?"

"Thank you, for caring so much!"

Niki laughed, "Anytime Ma'm, and anyways, I shouldn't have worried. After all, when you fall in love you will surely tell me. Right?"

  A face flashed through Riddhima's mind. A face with an adorable dimpled grin.

Riddhima nodded, "Right!"

Niki let go of Riddhima and went and sat on the bed. She took the football and throwing it up in the air and catching it again, said,

"Lucky kid, I must say. You are giving him a football, chocolates, Dexter DVDs and those superman comics. A pretty good haul!"

Riddhima grinned and thought, "Those superman comics are not for Gappu, they are for a bigger kid!"

 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Mia

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