Saturday, 24 November 2018

Chapter 9: Where Did I go Wrong

"What did you say?" stammered Muskaan, almost afraid of the reply she was going to hear.

"I said yes" said Riddhima tonelessly. "That day my mind debated all it could, I remember it reasoning with my heart, from the time I reached home, till my eyes drooped off to sleep it debated, but for once my heart won over my mind. It was all because of him, he loved me so much and made me believe that no matter what he would be with me by my side, I didn't comprehend at first why he was saying that, but soon it was crystal clear. When he took me to meet his mother the next day I saw that she hated me the very instant she set her eyes on me. Of course, I couldn't expect anything less; she hoped her handsome good looking son and well reputed good family could fetch many dollars worth of dowry, but I wasn't the diamond she was looking for, clearly her son had picked just a shining piece of metal and mistook it for a diamond. I was a pauper in her eyes, but to be honest, I was, I had no parents and I lived a life of my own, the prince and the pauper. How dramatic. So then she asked me to drop my education to which I agreed without arguments. I wished I had some guiding soul to look up to and ask if I was right."

Riddhima walked to the window and now stood with her back facing Rahul and Muskaan. She wasn't crying, but her eyes were moist, a lost look descended on her face as the wind blew her hair.

"So we were soon married, the marriage was all hushed up, and the very next day the torture began"

Riddhima narrated all the days of torture she bore by her mother in law''

May 31st 2008

Riddhima quietly hummed as she dried the washed vessels in the kitchen. She was happy today, reencountering her last two romantic evenings with Armaan. She at last had decided that today was going to be the day she would tell him that they were to have a baby. A little baby girl she thought, gleefully.

Her happiness was short lived.

"Riddhima' leave the vessels and come here" came a commanding voice from the living room.

"Now what does she want" Riddhima muttered, exasperated. Nevertheless she made her way to the living room.

"Yes?" Riddhima said stiffly, facing the witches back.

"Look at this picture" she said, shoving it under Riddhima's nose, "and look at this one too" she said, immediately, shoving another picture under her nose.

Riddhima saw herself looking at the pictures of two pretty girls. She looked at them for a few seconds and handed the pictures back.

"So, what do you say Riddhima?" she asked, scrutinizing Riddhima's face.

"So what'uh?" Riddhima said, ridiculed.

"How do you like them?"

This lady is mad, what does she want? Then keeping her thoughts aside she commented "I think they have fairly too much make up on their faces, and their ornaments are thicker than their hands and necks, however they do look nice" Riddhima said, expressionless - then she added "who are they?" though she was the least bit curious.

"Which one do you like better?" Armaan's mom persisted.

Riddhima yet again looked at the two pictures against her will and picked the one that seemed polite by the face.

"Good, I like her too, you see, it's highly essential that the ex wife approves of the going to be wife" she said, her tone now going malicious.

"What are you talking about?" Riddhima questioned. She tried her best to keep the worry out of her voice, but she had never been successful, today was no exception.

"One of these girls is eligible to be my daughter in law; do I need to explain more? Consider this as a warning if you want Riddhima. I promise you that soon you won't be hanging around here. You'll be gone in a matter of time"

Riddhima's heart pounded wildly. She did not think she could trust her voice to ask what had her mother in law meant. All she knew was that she meant no good.

The rest of the day Riddhima had spent in her room awaiting Armaan's return from work. She hadn't eaten anything for the day and soon she felt dizziness engulfing her, but she stood firm, she didn't allow dizziness to get the better of her. She struggled her way to the bathroom and splashed water on her face, dabbing her face with the towel she slowly made her way back to the room and saw that Armaan has returned and was now undoing his shirt standing in front of the dressing table. He turned around to smile at her.

Temporarily pushing aside the dizziness she covered the distance in a few strides and hugged him. The tears she was holding back now cascaded down her cheeks and dampened his shirt.

Bewildered, Armaan pulled away from the hug and made her look up at him. One deep look into those eyes and he knew whose fault it was. He didn't even bother to ask, he knew it would be something mean and incredulous. Wiping away every tear and making her sit on the bed he handed her a glass of water and sat next to her. She looked at the glass of water reluctantly.

"You didn't have anything the whole day?" Armaan said, narrowing his eyes.

She couldn't meet that glare, so she looked away and shook her head acknowledging. She could never lie to him.

He sighed, kissed her cheek and then almost smiling proceeded to get dinner. Over dinner she giggled when Armaan attempted to make her laugh, she reciprocated to his gentle touches as they ate. He was the world to her.

She waited as he took a shower and after he had dried himself she went to hug him from the back cozying herself. Holding her hands more firmly on him he listened to her soft hesitating whisper in his ears "I have something to tell you" (She had finally plucked up the courage to tell him about her pregnancy)

He gave her hands a squeeze, encouraging her.

"You remember our 1st anniversary?" Riddhima asked, with the same whisper.

"What is it that you want me to remember of that night?" he asked, naughtily, grinning and stressing on the word night.

Smiling Riddhima started "Our conversation before'." when the phone rang, interrupting them.

Riddhima huffed, pulling away from the hug she said, "Someday I'll snap those cords"

Armaan laughed and held onto her now, "The phone can wait, you tell me what you have to" he persuaded, burying his face in her hair, nuzzling her neck.

"No, I'll keep wondering who called then" she said, noticing that the ring was long distance, now put off by the phones excellent timing she went to receive the call before it disconnected.

"Hello" she said, in the same irritated tone.

"Hello, Riddhima?" came a very familiar voice.

"ANJALI" Riddhima shouted, all the traces of irritation vanishing. Armaan grinned and put the phone on speaker mode and settled himself next to Riddhima on the bed yet again.

Anjali was Armaan's younger sister who had been married before Armaan, she and Riddhima had bonded rather well during Anjali's few visits.

"How is it going? How is Atul?" Riddhima asked, not being able to hold the excitement in her voice.

Armaan laughed to himself hearing the child like excited Riddhima. It had been a long time since he had seen the little kid in her.

Anjali too not being able to resist her excitement, blurted out on the phone "Riddhima, I'm pregnant, going to have a little boy soon"

"Oye, I'm going to be an uncle" Armaan said, joy ringing his voice. Riddhima was temporarily shut blank; she didn't know how to express her happiness to Anjali, especially when they both were pregnant together.

"Yes bro" Anjali shouted, "I'm so happy, Atul has been fussing over me all day, I'm not complaining, you know how I like the attention" she continued, giggling, "Now where is Riddhima?" Anjali enquired.

Armaan nudged Riddhima; it was then when Riddhima said "I'm so happy for you" her voice shook with content, then kidding she continued, "I'm going to be an aunty at a rather young age, now that's not fair"

Anjali laughed, "Where is the good news from you? With the rate you guys were going the last time I saw you, I thought you'll have babies like that" she went on bantering, teasing and embarrassing Riddhima.

Riddhima blushed, avoiding Armaan's gaze she continued, "I promise to give the good news soon"

"You better" Anjali said, "Otherwise I'll let Atul give Armaan some tips" now positively roaring with laughter.

And the fun filled conversation went on, the call ended some half an hour later with Anjali telling Armaan to take care of Riddhima, she wished Riddhima best of luck, and finally warned Armaan to somehow keep Riddhima out of their mothers endless torture.

They discussed Anjali before sleeping and with that ended Riddhima's chances of telling Armaan what she wanted to that night.

She never knew that the delay would lead to the worse consequences in the future.



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