Saturday, 22 June 2019

chapter 1 : Deception

He stood inside the doctor's office nervously pacing back and forth waiting for the doctor to arrive. After he had finished talking to Zak on the phone he had called the hospital ahead of time to get an update on Riddhima. They had told him that she was being looked at and that the doctor wanted to see him. He had been worried to say the least but was more angry then anything. He just couldn't get what had popped into her head that would make her want to cut her wrist. He had told her several times that he wanted to help her out and was trying to fight for her but it seemed that his words had fallen on deaf ears. Well today he was going to make his point as clear as possible. He wasn't going to put up with this anymore. If she could be stubborn then so could he. It was then that the sound of the door being opened caught his attention and in walked the doctor or in this case his best friend Rahul Grewal. Armaan had known Rahul ever since the age of 7. They had started out hating the sight of each other as they had been rivals. Armaan had always been the cooler one where as Rahul had been the smarter one. All throughout there school years they had constantly tired to out do each other. But as time went on they had slowly grown out of that phase and learned to like each other. And now 20 years later they were not only best friends but brothers. They knew things about each other that no one knew. They had each other's back in times of need. And today was just another one of those days where Armaan was needed by his best friend.

"Sorry to keep you waiting man."

"Nah it's okay. I know how busy you are."

"Like you're no different. I can never get a hold of you."

"Oh don't give me that. I always answer your call."

"Yeah right. I called you 5 times yesterday and you didn't call me back."

"Oh. Sorry. I was busy."

"What was her name?"

"Dude. I was working. I was reading over cases. I was not with a girl."

"Sure you were."




"Why! Why! Why do you have to always bring her into everything?"

"Cause that's the only way you shut up!"

"You just wait. You wait until you get a girlfriend and then we will talk."

"Okay fine. But for now can we get back to why you wanted to see me?"

"Oh yeah. So she's doing fine. Her blood count is going up again. And she is gaining strength too. But the problem is...

"The problem is...

"I don't know how to say this but...

"Just say it Rahul. Stop with the suspense."

"Armaan. She's suffering from AD."

"She's WHAT?"

"She's suffering from Adjustment Disorder."


"What is that?"

"Basically it's when a person is unable to cope with a stressful time or event in their life. In this case she suffered the loss of her child and now she blames herself for it. And because of all that she is not only still living in that moment but she is trying to punish herself in anyway she can. Hence she wants to die."

"But how is that possible? I mean she never showed any signs."

"Why would she? She was never diagnosed. No one had been given the chance to check her. I mean she was arrested and then put into a jail cell. So there was never any way to see this."

"So what do you want me to do?"

"I need you to get her out of the past. I need you to make her realize that she didn't kill her child. I need you to give her a reason to live."

"And how am I supposed to do that? I don't even know anything about her? All I know is her name and age."

"Look. I know this won't be easy for you but if you really want to help her then you're going to have to do this. It's the only way."

"But what if I can't? What if I make things worse?"

"You won't know unless you try! Look it's only for a few days until she is stable enough to give you the information you need. And then she'll be well enough to move on. So are you in?"

Armaan thought over everything Rahul had just told him. He hadn't expected any of that. He had come to tell her off and here he was being told that she was suffering from AD. He felt his mind spin in circles. He didn't know how to respond to that. He had never been put into a situation like this before. He knew Rahul was right. If he really wanted to help this Riddhima then he would have to do anything in his power. After all this was his case and if he wanted to bring justice to her then he would have to do what Rahul said. He would have to give it his best shot. He didn't know if what he was about to say was right or not but for the sake of his job he went ahead and said what his brain told him to. He just hoped that what he was about to embark on wouldn't come crashing down.

"I'm in."


He slummed down onto the couch after a long tiring day. His mind was still reeling with what had happened during his meeting with Rahul. He still wasn't able to absorb the fact that Riddhima was suffering from AD. If only he had known this before and maybe it would have made his job a lot easier. He would have been able to help her much quicker. But that wasn't the case. He had found out all this now and there was no way to change that. He did however feel a sense of hope arise. At least things were now slightly clearer. He now understood why Riddhima was behaving the way she was. And knowing that gave Armaan a sense of relief. He would now be able to come up with a plan to help her out of her current state of mind. He still had his doubts about if he would be successful or not but for the sake of Riddhima he was going to give it his best shot. He owed her that much. And so before he had left he had told Rahul that he would come and see her before heading to the station tomorrow. That way he would be able to spend the rest of the day coming up with ideas.

Okay let's think here. What can I do? I could take her out? That might work. I mean if she has a change in environment then maybe she will be happier. And that way she will come out of her current state of mind faster and she will be able to talk to me. But what if she doesn't like it? What if she gets more upset? What if she goes deeper into her disorder? Then what am I going to do? Nahhh! What if I... Nahh...Oh I could...Nahh that won't work at all. What if Z talked to her? No! He'll just hit on her. And then I'll get into trouble for it. Ughhh! This is so confusing! I didn't think this would be so hard! I mean usually I don't have this much trouble coming up with ideas. But then again look who we are talking about! A woman who doesn't say more then four words! Thank you Rahul! I hate you for dropping this bomb on me! Now what do I do? Oh God! If your up there please help me cause I got nothing!...Wait! Woman! That's it! I will get her to talk to another woman! OMG! Why didn't I think of that before! But who? Who can she talk to freely without being scared or nervous?...Muski! That's it! I'll ask her! And besides she owes me one! Thank you god! I love you!

He didn't know if this would work out the way he was thinking but he wasn't going to let it go without trying. And so he picked up his phone and dialing Muskaan's number put his idea into motion.

"Hello Muski!"


He glanced at the entrance of the Starbucks for the umpteenth time. Where was she? Why was she taking so long? After his conversation with Muski Armaan had come straight to the closet Starbucks. He had wanted to talk to Muski face to face rather then over the phone. Hence he had asked her to meet him here. But that had been 20 minutes ago and there was still no sign of her. He was beginning to get worried. He hoped that she was okay. And so instinctively he was about to reach for his phone so he could call her when he heard a voice from in front of him catch his attention.

"I'm Sooo Sorry! I got stuck in traffic! But I'm here now. So go head and tell me what is it that you need my help with?"

He looked up and seeing Muskaan sitting in front of him in one piece. He signed in relief.

"It's okay. I'm glad you're here. I was about to call you. Anyways I need your help."

And so taking Muskaan's cue to go ahead Armaan began to narrate everything that had happened in the last few hours.


"And that's why I need you to talk to her."

Muskaan stared at him as he finished telling her about Riddhima. She felt as if someone had punched her in the stomach. She had never imagined that a woman like Riddhima would want to end her life like that. Muskaan was a therapist by profession and so she had come across many patients over the years who were dealing with mental illness. But for the first time in her 6 year career Muskaan felt Riddhima's pain. Muskaan being a woman herself was able to understand how Riddhima must be feeling. And for Muskaan that was what struck a cord with her the most. She knew she could never imagine what it must have been like for Riddhima to lose her child. But what she did know was that she wanted to help her. She wanted to be able to lessen the pain that she was enduring. And so without even thinking over it Muskaan had made up her mind. She was going to help Riddhima the best she could.  She wanted Riddhima to get a second chance. She didn't want her world to come crashing down any further.

"I'll do it. I'll talk to her."

Armaan smiled as he heard Muskaan's words. He knew she would understand. Now all he had to do was get Riddhima and Muskaan in one room.

"Thank you Muski! You're the best! Okay I got to go right now but I will let you know when and where you can meet her. And thanks again!"

"Okay.Sure. And don't mention it. What are friends for?"

As she watched him get up and leave. Muskaan couldn't help but rewind her conversation with him just now. She didn't know why but she had a weird sudden feeling as she watched him leave that there was something there. She didn't know what it was. But she knew there was something there. She just wished she could put her finger on it.

What is going on here? I have never seen him talk about a case like that. He's usually the last person who would ask me for help. Then why all of a sudden does he think of me? I mean he could have asked anyone and yet he comes to me. He almost never comes to me. He always runs to Rahul or Z. Then why me? Maybe because I'm a therapist and he feels that I will be able to understand better? Yeah that makes sense. But then this Riddhima person. What about her? Why is he leaving no stone unturned to help her? I mean he was talking about her as if he had known her for years. He just wouldn't stop taking her name. It was like it was a natural thing for him. Muski there is something wrong here for sure. And you need to find out what! Armaan Mallik I'm watching you. I am SO watching you.


He lay on his pillow staring up at the ceiling above him. From a far it seemed as if he was trying to count the popcorn sized dots that were etched in the ceiling pattern but in reality Armaan was lost in his jumbled mind of thoughts. He was still trying to absorb the fact that Riddhma had a disorder. He had never imagined that his one year of hard work would lead him to this. He had thought at first that she was maybe scared to open up and talk to him about what had happened with her. But he hadn't expected to be told that she was mentally unstable. He wasn't sure what was going to happen in the morning but he hoped that his decision of asking Muski to help him out would bring some light into Riddhima's already dark life.


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