Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Chapter 12 : Where Did I go Wrong

It was like she had been hypnotized, what started with hesitation now progressed with strings of endearments, cries of passion, loving phrases, receptive touches…their eroticism had been intensifying…They were discovering their potentials of being in deep intimacy again like never before, they weren't just physically exposed, but they were emotionally exposed as well. They let themselves drown in the deepest ocean and again would they resurface to only ignite into flames.


A caged lion when released would probably forget how to hunt for its prey, an infant would never know what to call its mother unless taught or reminded repeatedly and it would only be when the infant was able to control its tongue that it would speak coherent words, the first most commonly being - mother.

Temptations - Hard to resist, but you can try to decline. Habits - Hard to give up, but once determined - easy enough. Love – Impossible to forget and no medicine.

But Riddhima was neither the caged lion nor the infant. She never forgot what it was like to be in Armaan's arms, nor did she have to be reminded what she had to do when she was in them. She was home, the most familiar, secure and comfortable place to be in. A place where she felt she had been cared for. Nothing can replace your home. This temptation was not only hard to resist, it was hard to decline. Habits she thought and softly sighed. It wasn't a sigh of relief, neither was it pain or sadness, it was a sigh of end, not knowing what more to think on it, and love?

Love it was that had them kept in each others embrace, love it was that surrounded them in the last passionate hour, love it was that helped them both to survive the month's, week's, day's, hours, minutes and seconds that they had been apart, love it was that didn't leave them in the darkest hour but bounded them together, love it was that was responsible for all the past and current events of their life. Love it was that had them fail miserably in the various walks of life. Love was the medicine.

Love it had been all the way, what had she been fighting against, love? Did she hope that she would forget him and move on, had she forgotten that it was she who had left him by physically presence only while love had invaded her mind, she knew, in spite of everything love was one thing that had not left them no matter how cruel times had been towards them.

It was love all along, love was blinding and love was a veil, a thick translucent one.

From the time Riddhima had been staring at the ceiling with so many thoughts messing up her head, Armaan had been silent next to her, simply lain on her bed, observing her features he had so long not had a chance to notice. Not that her features had been distorted in his mind all this while. But being there and watching them again, gave him some sort of inexplicable sense of overwhelming satisfaction.

He raised himself by his elbow leaning towards Riddhima; it was a while now since she held his curiosity, not being able to read her expressionless face made him feel handicapped. He wanted to know her thoughts, it was getting him desperate. She had loved him tonight like nothing unfortunate had ever happened, loved him like there wasn't any fateful yesterday, and loved him like he exactly wanted her to. But what was running on her mind?

Riddhima seemed to have noticed his movement, she looked deep into his eyes for a while, slowly but determinedly and she raised herself to sit upright. Armaan turned her to face him, she did not protest, considering it as a good omen, he waited.

"Behind all that… ", she began to say, answering his unasked question. "… was my heart that failed to believe what my ears heard that day, you couldn't possibly be that cruel, you couldn't have possibly thought of having out baby killed"

"I did not Riddhima, I couldn't have thought of such a thing let alone say it out loud" Armaan said, his words tumbling out, in a rush, hoping that things would sort out by the next minute.

"… But I don't believe that my ears deceived me either" Riddhima continued, like she had not heard him.

He held Riddhima and turned her around, making his best attempt to snap her out of her trance.

"That day, when you stood by my cabin door, I wasn't talking about aborting our baby. I never knew you were pregnant; Mom was persuading me to convince Anjali for an abortion because her pregnancy had complications that could have ended her life!" Armaan said, slowly, elaborately stressing every word.

Riddhima looked like she was about to choke, she recollected her past.

"Armaan, do you understand the gravity of the situation?" Armaan's mother was saying.

"Yes I do" Armaan replied softly.


"I'll convince her to abort the fetus" he said, heavily.

Realization dawned upon her; she had been so deep into wondering about her matters that she would never have thought about Anjali. It was an excellent plot, set and played by her mother in law like a game of chess. Now she recollected again, there was no trace of her name being taken in her memory; he had never said "I'll convince Riddhima to abort the fetus". The word was she, that she could have been anybody. The precious months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds that had been wasted of their lives together, each minute had been like torture to have been without him and that was all because she jumped to conclusions, all because she never contradicted him, all because of miscommunication, misunderstanding, worst of all, she had concluded that Armaan had betrayed her, Armaan? How could she have let that thought engulf her mind? She had so many opportunities to just tell him, to share the joy of their coming parenthood.

If only I'd attempted to clear misunderstandings way back then, she thought. They could have shared the joy of their first baby together, Armaan would have done anything to satisfy her cravings that she had so often pressed underneath the surface so she wouldn't be a cause for trouble to Neha and Adi,… he would have filled their room with big soft toys instead of those little ones she now watched Ahana play with, he would be there to take care of her swollen legs, those legs she couldn't tend to because she was too big by the middle to bend and reach down, he'd have kept his ear close to her belly hoping to hear something some day soon, he'd have kissed their baby goodnight everyday after birth… So many countless inexpressible moments she had lost. These thoughts played so repeatedly on her mind that she began to feel dizzy, numbness was starting to engulf her, besides those strong palms supporting her by the arms, she had lost all her senses, once again she felt like she was slipping into nothingness. This time she wasn't in that never ending corridor, this time she wasn't in darkness, this time she wasn't alone, because now at this very hour she had Armaan, the last thing she saw clearly before tears blurred her view was his face.

A while later when Armaan let her cry over things and she had calmed down a little, he raised her face by the chin and said, almost pleading, "All the bad days are over Riddhima, they're gone, we can have babies again, we can bring back those days, we have a long way to go together. You can finish your education and then we'll go far away, away from all the evil eyes! We'll continue from where we stopped, minus all the hard times of course, and with the joy that's in coming days, we'll together get over the past.. But please don't cry"

"Armaan, I, - I'm sorry, I was so wrong about you, I was wrong when…" Riddhima began to blabber.

Armaan cut across, "Riddhima, it's over, forget it now, it's hard enough to have lived the past year, don't make it harder by making us go over this again, if you were wrong, then so was I, in many ways than you can't get down to counting"

She sighed, then a thought struck her and she voiced it loud her eyes were narrowing suspiciously. "How did you know that I was standing by your cabin door that day? And how did you know…?"

Armaan grinned knowing what was coming and stopping her mid sentence he simply said, "We have well-wishers"

She wondered for a second before she smacked her head lightly, "Rahul…" she said, a moment later even louder she said, "Muskaan"

Armaan was nodding, pleased.

"Those two knuckleheads, the last thing I ever expected them to do was spill out everything to you" she said, shaking her head sideways in awe.

"Their curiosity got better of them" Armaan said, "which turned out to be a bonus for us, or rather me", he continued happily, lowering his hands from her shoulder to circle her waist and now placing his head on her shoulder. It'd had been a long stressful day. Then remembering he added, "Anjali was stubborn, she never aborted her baby, she had it, it was a miracle, both coped great in the end"

"That's great" Riddhima squealed. He had answered the question that was running on her mind, but now she was still thinking, absent mindedly moving her head a bit out of the way so he could pillow his head properly on her little shoulder , "So that means they've told you about Ahana?" she said, disappointed.

"Who?" he replied rather puzzled and looking quizzical he raised his head.

Riddhima gasped, that look on his faced confirmed her doubts. Rahul and Muskaan had saved the best part for her.  He didn't have a clue about Ahana. Armaan was bewildered, in a matter of just seconds Riddhima had finished pulling on her night gown, she half knelt on the bed, her hands on his shoulders and muttered frantic instructions to Armaan who stared back puzzled. "Armaan, stay here" she was saying, like he was a dog and she was asking it to stay, "Don't move and don't step out of this room, I'll be back in 10 minutes"

She ran out, excitement pulsing in every vein of her racing body, she raced upstairs 2 at a time making sure she didn't trip over her gown. She took deep breaths and knocked the door to Neha and Adi's bedroom. She cajoled her heart, waiting. Drowsy Adi opened the door, "Oh, its morning already?' he said, yawning.

"No no, of course not" Riddhima said, talking fast in a rush. "Actually I aint getting sleep, do you mind if I take Ahana to my room and keep her with me for the night?"

Adi took time to register what she was saying, Riddhima hoped he wouldn't ask too many questions, but he didn't, he ushered Riddhima into the room, Neha was snoring, Riddhima sniggered, careful not to wake Ahana, she lifted her cautiously from the pram, "come to mommy" she whispered, watching Ahana's nose pucker in sleep.  Once Ahana was off her pram, Riddhima hugged her close thanked and apologized to Adi, closed the door behind her and raced back down.

The glint in those eyes and glow on Riddhima's face didn't seem quite right, Adi thought. May be he was just imagining things; "Come to mommy?" She always insisted in never letting out the fact that she was Ahana's mother, what made her say that?

He was asleep in a matter of seconds.

Armaan was pacing around the room when Riddhima entered with what looked to him like she was holding bundled clothes together. But the instant later he couldn't find himself capable of talking; she had walked right upto to him and slowly placed Ahana into his hands that he had raised subconsciously.

He was staring into a bright face that was just like Riddhima's but also whose hair stuck out at all ends just like Armaan's did when he slept. Her forehead wrinkled like she was disturbed, but a moment later she had smiled, he wished he could watch her dreams. Riddhima's eyes were filled with tears, for so long she had been dreaming of this moment, now it was reality; it was like the best present life could give her.

His eyes were filled with tears too, she let him be… silently watching him gathering all those moments he had lost, she felt that it was entirely her fault. But she stayed quiet and before even she knew it, he shifted Ahana to one hand where she slept still quite peacefully on his shoulder and came forward to hug Riddhima tight.  She hugged him around his waist, her head against his cheeks as tears cascaded down their cheeks; he kissed her forehead and twisted his head around to kiss Ahana's cheek.

That did it! It was a moment before Ahana's wails rang out, loud enough to bring down the house.

There was a knock on the door. "Riddhima…?"

It was Neha. Uh-Oh.  

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