Tuesday, 11 December 2018

chapter 9 : SHALL WE DANCE?


"Rhea! Maloom hai aaj cricket practice nahin hai," Armaan informed her at the breakfast table.

"Kyun?" She asked.

"Kyunki hamari series cancel ho gayi hai''chalo aaj dance studio jaldi chalte hain'.thodi practice kar lenge'.what do you say?" He buttered a toast and to her surprise placed it on her plate. With each passing day, he had assumed more responsibilities and if one was unaware; their comfort level with each other would match any father-daughter combination.

"Good idea!" She applauded, "thanks for buttering my toast uncle."

"Oh!" He looked around, surprised at himself and then just shrugged his shoulders, "you are welcome."

After a leisurely breakfast, with him having finished reading all the sports sections of various newspapers, getting an update from Muskaan on the latest buzz in the Cricketing world and chatting with Atul and their team coach about their future strategies, they packed their bags for a long day at the dance studio.


Armaan and Rhea both put their sunglasses on and zoomed off towards the studio.

"Yeh Riddhima aunty studio kaise aati hain?" He asked, pretending to be uninformed.
'Bus se!"

"Hmm'.why don't we surprise her by picking her up today?" He winked at her and steered his car towards Riddhima's place.

"Aapko kaise pata wo kahan rehti hain?" Rhea rubbed her chin and raised her eyebrow.

"*cough*cough," he cleared his throat, "I know everything!" He continued to drive with a straight face.

"Aapko Riddhima aunty achchi lagti hain na ab?" Rhea bit her lower lip with a glint in her eyes.

"Uh..wo'.haan..theek thaak hain," he chuckled, "ab meri guru hain tho thoda respect tho karna padhega na."

Rhea folded her arms and rolled her tongue silently. She glanced at him with corner of eyes and smiled suggestively as they arrived at the park facing her flat.

"Hmmm'kaun se flat mein rehti hain wo?" He asked Rhea as he had no idea where she had disappeared in the dark last night.

"Wahan!" She pointed at an old building with chipped paint across the park.

"Chalo'chalte hain wahan." He narrowed his eyes and scrunched his nose at the sight of the worn out dwelling.

"Nahin'yahin wait karte'.abhi 10.30 hua hai na'.Riddhima aunty 11 0'clock waali bus yahan se leti hain'..let's wait here uncle." Rhea looked at her wrist watch and suggested. Riddhima had warned Rhea to stay out of her place whenever her chacha was visiting their place. Rhea did not know why, but she knew that Riddhima aunty did not like her chacha for some reason.

"Ok'yeh bhi theek hai,' he got off the car and then spotted a few young boys playing cricket in the park. The events of last night when he was practically mobbed were vivid in his mind, but he tried to brave it out this time.

"Hey bachchon'.kya main tum logon ke saath khel sakta hoon?" He walked into the park and startled the young boys. They froze in their spots as if they had just seen a ghost.

Armaan smiled and took the ball from a 14 year old boy and then ran a few yards to serve a ball to the batsman. The young boy behind the bat, still numb with disbelief, lifted his bat in the air as the bails and stumps went flying at the impact from the fast paced ball.

Armaan lifted his forefinger and jumped with joy as if he were in midst of a real cricket match.

"OUT!" The boys screamed in unison and surrounded him instantly.

"Come on boys'..let's play," he grinned at them. The boys could not have asked for a better winter break present than having the cricket star play with them on their own grounds. Rhea joined all of them and soon they were all engrossed in a riveting game of 'galli-cricket.'

Neighbors descended and clicked away as the Armaan having shed all his arrogance and starry airs, obliged them with photographs, autographs and demonstrated fine cricket techniques to the aspiring youngsters. People hushed and whispered amongst themselves, "kitne achche hain Armaan Malik jee'..na jaane sab kyun kehte hain wo ghamandi hain''.zaroor Atul saheb mein hi koi problem hogi'..ek star hokar bhi dekho kitni achchi tarah hum sab se mil rahe hain."

Half an hour later, an oblivious Riddhima walked into the park with her bag on shoulder and folders in one arm.

"AUNTY!" Rhea ran to her, startling her.

'Arre Rhea'tum? Kab aayi?"

Rhea hugged Riddhima and pointed towards the crowd in the park. Armaan lifted the bat in his hand and waved at her with a big smile. She had seen that familiar sight on television many times- Armaan saluting to the crowd with his bat, but today she knew that his famous salute was targeted to one person only- HER!

He handed the bat to the youngsters and excused himself, "hey guys'.I need to go'..kal phir milenge."

'Kal bhi?" The boys yelped excitedly.

"Haan'roz'jab tak practice shuru nahin hoti," he winked at them and ran towards Riddhima and Rhea. He knew Muskaan would approve of his image building gesture and that would give him the opportunity to pick Riddhima every day. For some weird reason he did not like the idea of her traveling back and forth in the crowded DTC (Delhi Transport Corp) buses. He had grown up in a modest environment as a child himself and had travelled in those green buses. He recalled how as a teenager he used to tease young girls and women on the buses and imagining someone else ill-treating Riddhima on the bus gave him the shudders. He had suddenly acquired this protective feeling towards her and Rhea for which he had no reason. He shrugged it off to his desire to become friends with them and erase memories of the 'Pappu-dance.'

"Hi!" He waved again as he got closer.

'HI!" She replied with a subdued smile.

"We'we were just passing by your area'.tho socha tumhein lift hi de dein," he shuffled awkwardly.

"No one just passes by this area," she was amused by his excuse.

"Haan aunty'uncle jhooth bol rahe hain'.wo sach much sirf aapko pick karne aaye hain." Rhea interjected.

"RHEA!" He glared at her, "chalo'chalo'.ab car mein baitho tum dono'.I don't have all day to wait on you ladies," he fumbled and turned his back to them to walk towards his car, hiding his smile from them.

Riddhima smiled inwardly and held Rhea's hand, "let's go Rhea'..why waste precious petrol'..chalo unki car mein hi chalte hain."

Watch this video/song from 'Thoda Pyar thoda magic' that expresses Armaan's feelings as he drives off with them in his car'.

'Nihaal ho gayi.'


Sidhi Sapaat Zindagi Bavaal Ho Gayi
Sidhi Sapaat Zindagi Bavaal Ho Gayi

"Uncle'.I am hungry!" Rhea shouted from the backseat, "can we go to Nirula's for pizza?"

"NO'.we will go to a better place." Armaan steered his car towards downtown.

"Nahin mujhey bhookh nahin hai''please take me to the dance studio," Riddhima protested.

"Nahin aunty'.pehle khaana'.aap bhi khaa lee jiye please'.warna aaj phir lunch nahin khaayengi aap," Rhea blurted out.

Armaan glanced at the slender figure on the passenger seat next to him, "you miss lunch at times?"

Riddhima lowered her gaze, "At times'..I just don't have time'.."

"Riddhima jee'..aise tho jeet liya hum logon ne competition''petrol ke bina koi gaadi nahin chalti'..ask me'..any athlete like me or you needs to eat properly to perform well."

"Athlete? Aur main? I am just a dancer," Riddhima was surprised.

"Dance is a sport too," he smiled at her, "and a very elegant and sensuous one at that."

Instead of getting upset at him, for a change Riddhima found his words endearing and genuine. No one had ever compared her skill to a sport. For her, dance was meditation and prayer, but she knew for a lot of others it was just a source of entertainment and way to ogle at beautiful women gyrating to music, sometimes a way for men to fulfill their lust and desire. She had always placed Armaan in the latter category especially after having caught him gawking at her. This was the first time he had shown respect for her skill and elevated it to a respectable profession like any other sport or form of art.

Teri Ek Nazar Se'Ooo..Teri Ek Nazar Se'Oooo
Teri Ek Nazar Se Zindagi Nihal Ho Gayi
Nihal Ho Gayi'. Nihal Ho Gayi'.
Teri Ek Nazar Se Zindagi Nihal Ho Gayi

Jisko Mein Beedh Kehtha Tha, Woh Log Ho Gaye
Jisko Sadak Samjhtha Tha, Woh Raah Ho Gayi
Chamkthi Aasmaan Mein Gol Cheez Chaandh Ho Gayi
O Teri Ek Nazar Se..Oo Teri Ek Nazar Se
Taaliyon Mein Jhumthe Woh Rang Dhool Ho Gayi
Khusbuon Se Saans Saans Hamara Maal Ho Gayi
Teri Ek Nazar Se Zindagi Nihal Ho Gayi
Nihal Ho Gayi'. Nihal Ho Gayi'.
Teri Ek Nazar Se Zindagi Nihal Ho Gayi

Nihal'Nihal'..Nihal'.Nihal'.Nihal Nihal'Nihal
Ta Dina Din Dinaka' Ta Dina Din Dinaka

They arrived at the Delhi Cricket Club and were guided to a private corner inside the club restaurant.

"Hello Armaan jee," the waiters and attendants greeted one of their regular members.

"Hello! Aaj mere saath mere do khaas mehmaan aaye hain''make sure you take good care of them." Armaan smiled and ordered. He made sure both Rhea and Riddhima ordered their favorite foods and took personal interest in their orders.

Riddhima and Rhea exchanged glances and were pleasantly surprised by Armaan's hospitality and attention to detail to their needs.

Ek Hawa Jo Paas Aayi To, Jhonka Kaha Use
Paani Jo Barasne Laga Rimjhim Kahan Use
Hoton Ke Moddh Ne Ko Muskurahatein Kaha'Oooo
Oo'Teri Ek Nazar Se Zindagi Nihal Ho Gayi
Badala Mahina To Naya Mausam Kaha Use
Sur Naya Nayi Nayi Si Taal Ho Gayi
Teri Ek Nazar Se Zindagi Nihal Ho Gayi
Nihal Ho Gayi'. Nihal Ho Gayi'.
Teri Ek Nazar Se Zindagi Nihal Ho Gayi

Sidhi Sapaat Zindagi Bavaal Ho Gayi
Sidhi Sapaat Zindagi Bavaal Ho Gayi
Teri Ek Nazar Se Zindagi Nihal Ho Gayi
Nihal Ho Gayi'. Nihal Ho Gayi'.
Teri Ek Nazar Se'Ooo..Teri Ek Nazar Se'Oooo
Teri Ek Nazar Se Zindagi Nihal Ho Gayi

After a sumptuous lunch, a rarity for Riddhima, they were back at the dance studio. Anjali was surprised to see them all walk in at the same time.

"Oh'someone is getting personal rides from the superstar himself?" She gave Riddhima a curious look.

"Aisi koi baat nahin hai Anjali," Riddhima retorted back and disappeared into her office.

"Anji!" Armaan drawled and placed his hand on her shoulder, "don't get jealous dear'..tum chaaho tho tumhein bhi lift de sakta hoon." Armaan, who was jubilant after his long car ride and lunch session with Riddhima, unruffled Anjali's feathers in case she turned nasty on Riddhima because of jealousy or spite.

His experience with women told him that a jealous woman was worse than a serpent. Ordinarily, he wouldn't have cared if two women fought over him or clawed each other out of jealousy, but his protective instinct towards Riddhima made him strike preemptively. After having dropped and picked Riddhima from her modest neighborhood and being aware of the fact that she had a lot of financial burdens on her, and the fact that Anjali was taking undue advantage of her dance instructor, he felt like shielding Riddhima from this obnoxious woman.

"Oh'how sweet Armaan,' Anjali gave him a hug and a wide grin, 'aaj tumhari agent aayi thi'Muskaan Misra'.she is so sweet na'.i just loved her."

"Me too," he withdrew from her embrace, "she is my right hand '..mera saara kaam wo sambhaalti hai."

"I know'she told me'.and guess what'.she will help us get lots of sponsors for the dance show'..and also help advertise my studio'.I am so happy Armaan'.you have come as a blessing for me'.I am so happy Sid got hurt!" She blurted out without giving much thought to her words.

"Uh'oh'really?" Armaan raised his eyebrows and excused himself from the utterly selfish owner of this studio, 'let me go and change'." With a polite smile, he walked away, disgusted at Anjali's glee at her injured dancer. He recalled the first time he had been selected to the Indian cricket team- he had been a replacement there too! A strong player had been injured during practice and he had been summoned as a last minute replacement at that time. How he had prayed that the other player would never get well so he could find a permanent spot on the team! He wondered if he was a male version of Anjali?

That afternoon, Armaan and Riddhima practiced their dance steps several times. Both their couple's dance and the group dance with the other dancers kept them busy for hours. After having spent time with Armaan on friendly grounds, Riddhima was more relaxed and less tense during their practices. They both could not deny the fact that each time they touched or came close to each other, their hearts flapped with excitement and anticipation, each time they gazed into each other's eyes they felt an unspoken bond between the two of them. There was an invisible connection that they were gradually forming between themselves, a connection only the two were aware of, but unable to express.

Kheeche Mujhe Koi Dore, Teri Ore..teri ore'
(Singh is king)

During one of the dance lifts, Armaan's strong and intense presence distracted Riddhima for a few seconds. She lost her balance and suddenly felt a pop in her knee. Armaan was the first one to spot the wince on her face. Cautiously, he brought her down from his arms and helped her to a chair.

"NO! I am fine'.let's continue guys," she protested.

"No Riddhima''I think you just pulled a muscle or something." He refused to budge. Naina turned the music off, "kya hua?"

"Kuch nahin'I will be fine," Riddhima insisted and hobbled across the room to turn the music on.

"Sorry gurujee," Armaan turned the music off, "no more practice till you are better."

"How dare you defy me Armaan? I am the teacher'not you!" Riddhima yelled at him.

Armaan grinned and shook his head, "aise nahin maanogi na," he grabbed her legs with both his arms and lifted her in the air as she flailed and protested. He walked over with her to the changing room and shut the door behind them. The other dancers were awestruck by Armaan's persistence and their teacher's obstinacy.

"How sexy!" Naina commented and nudged Yuvraaj's elbow.

"I can do that too'..you want me to try?"

"SHUT UP!" Naina gave him a dirty look and moved away.

Inside the changing room, Armaan laid her on a bench and knelt down beside her. She protested once again and tried to get up. He forced her down and rolled her sweat pants above her knees, "hmmm'..look at your knee'.it's all swollen'..I bet you pulled something'.let me take care of it." Swiftly, he brought his gym bag into the changing room and took out an ice pack, muscle rub and crepe bandages. Like an expert physiotherapist, he worked on her knee as she winced and yelled in pain, "kya kar rahe ho?"

"I am an expert at this Riddhima'jaanti ho cricket field mein yeh aaye din hota hai'..and it's best to take care of it sooner than later'.late jao chup chap." He scolded her.

She had no choice but to lay down. His fingers worked magically on her muscles and joint- he stretched, pulled, moved and maneuvered her leg as if it were a piece of jello rather than her leg.

"THAT HURTS!" She screamed.

"First time is always painful," he grinned mischievously.

"I'll kill you!" She cried in pain and threw the roll of crepe bandage on his face.

"You have already killed me'..I am just waiting for the post mortem now," he winked playfully and chuckled loudly.

"You are an incorrigible flirt!" She clenched her teeth, "kya bahana dhoonda hai mere kareeb aane ka."

"If you had kept your balance while dancing'.tho aisa nahin hota."

"It's all your fault'..you didn't hold me properly." She frowned angrily.

"Yes'I know it's my fault'..you got distracted by me," he scrunched his nose and grinned again.

She knew he was right, but there was no way she would admit to it. Nikita had warned her that he could be pretty charming and disarm any woman's defenses. Was she falling trap to his charms too? No- she was stronger than that. She had to remain focused on her goal and not get sidetracked by his lure and magnetism.

In the end he taped the swollen parts of her knee and then looked at her, "now stand up! Try to walk."

Obediently, she stood up and to her surprise was back on her feet like nothing had ever happened.

"Can I get a thank you at least?" He asked as he packed all his supplies.

"Thanks,' she replied softly and rolled down her sweat pants. Embarrassed, she walked out of the changing room to be greeted by all her wide-eyes dancers.

"WOW!" They all exclaimed. Armaan stepped out with his bag and a big grin on his face.

"Andar kya ho raha tha?" Naina asked.

"Wo hi jo hona chaahiye tha," he smiled playfully as Riddhima glared at his outrageous statement.

"KYA?" The dancers asked.

"Wo hi jo aksar ek ladka aur ladki ke beech bandh darwaaze ke peeche hota hai." He winked at her mischievously.

"KYA?" Their jaws dropped as they stared at Riddhima.

Riddhima decided to play along and instead of getting upset, took a light hearted approach, "seva!"

"Seva?" They all asked as Armaan squint his eyes.

"Haan'.jaante ho aadmi log jab aurat ki seva karte hain tho sharam se darwaaze bandh kar lete hain'..aur jab seva karwaate hain tho khullam khulla karvaate hain." She chuckled, "aakhir ek aurat ki seva karne se unki mardaangi kum ho jaayegi na?"

Armaan rolled his tongue and folded his arms, "achcha tho yeh ek aur challenge de rahi hai ho tum mujhey''tho theek hai main sab ke saamne tumhari aisi seva karoonga'.ki aap sab dekhte reh jaayenge," he licked his lips and blew a kiss to all the dancers and then a generous, lingering one in Riddhima's direction, "get ready Riddhima!"

Riddhima was taken aback by his gesture and turned red, not from fury but from bashfulness. His flying kiss sent a twitch down her body as she felt a strange warm and throbbing sensation inside her at the thought of his kiss and longing gazes at her.


(VM by ssh57 especially made for this ff'PLEASE WATCH IT AND COMMENT)

Dil Kho Gaya, Ho Gaya Kisi Ka..,
Ab Raasta Mil Gaya, Khushi Ka..
Aankhon Mein Hai Khwab Sa, Kisi Ka..
Ab Raasta Mil Gaya, Khushi Ka..
Rishta Naya Rabba, Dil Chu Raha Hai,
Kheeche Mujhe Koi Dore, Teri Ore..

The following dance practices were less intense and gentler than before but the passion and attraction was palpable in the air. Never before had the students seen their teacher so absorbed in the practices. They couldn't help noticing that she was less critical of them, less demanding and overlooked a lot of their mistakes, especially Armaan's. They were all convinced that Armaan had swept their strict and stern teacher off her feet. Even Armaan seemed smitten by his dance instructor. It was better than any soap opera on TV. Naina's mind was already working overtime on how to leak the story to the press and cash in on this tabloid worthy news item.


Armaan hung around the studio at the pretext of practicing his dance steps while Rhea completed her class. A number of press reporters hounded Anjali for more information on Armaan and his dance lessons, which she savored with open arms. Armaan did not care what crap Anjali said about him; he was used to reading controversial topics about himself.

He excused himself from the press, "jo bhi Anjali jee kahein'wo theek hai'.I am busy!"

Instead, he watched Rhea and the other girls dance with Riddhima. To his pleasant surprise, Riddhima shot lovely smiles at him whenever she looked up at the window. He found himself drowning into an amorous sea each time she smiled or gazed at him''

Ek Heer Thi Aur Tha Ek Raanjha,
Kehte Hai Mere Gaon Mein,
Sacha Ho Dil To.., Sau Mushkilen Ho
Jhukta Naseeba Pao Mein..,
Ho Ho..Aanchal Tera Rabba;
Falak Ban Gaya Hai,
Ab Iska Nahi, Koi Ore, Koi Chore

After the practices, he offered to drop her home after a quick dinner.

As expected, she refused and declined the offer, but Rhea persisted.

"Please aunty'chalo na'.aapne bhi kuch nahin khaaya hai'mujhey bhi bhookh lag rahi hai," Rhea pleaded.

Riddhima could not refuse Rhea's persuasive pout, "theek hai'.sirf aaj'.please roz roz aisa mat karna," she looked at Armaan.

"I am not good at keeping promises you know," he smiled, "let's go."

Riddhima turned the lights off to the studio and followed them to the car with a knot of confused emotions inside her'it was a struggle between her heart and her mind, between right and wrong, between loyalty and betrayal''.despite all these internal struggles, she was sure that there was an invisible cord that drew her closer and closer to this man, whom she had pledged to despise, but was now having a hard time resisting'..

Teri Ore, Teri Ore, Teri Ore, Hai Rabba..Teri Ore, Teri Ore, Teri Ore
Teri Ore, Teri Ore, Teri Ore, Hai Rabba..Teri Ore, Teri Ore, Teri Ore

Khulti Fizaein, Khulti Ghatayein,
Sar Pe Naya Hai Aasamaan,
Chaaro Dishayein, Hass Ke Bulaye,
Yu Sab Hue Hai Meharbaan..
Haaan..Hume To Yahi Rabba,
Kasam Se Pata Hai,
Dil Pe Nahi, Koi Zor, Koi Zor

Dil Kho Gaya, Ho Gaya Kisi Ka..,
Ab Raasta Mil Gaya, Khushi Ka..
Aankhon Mein Hai Khwab Sa, Kisi Ka..
Ab Raasta Mil Gaya, Khushi Ka..
Rishta Naya Rabba, Dil Chu Raha Hai,
Kheeche Mujhe Koi Dore, Teri Ore..

Teri Ore, Teri Ore, Teri Ore, Hai Rabba..Teri Ore, Teri Ore, Teri Ore
Teri Ore, Teri Ore, Teri Ore, Hai Rabba..Teri Ore, Teri Ore, Teri Ore

'to be contd'.


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