Saturday, 15 June 2019

part 14 : Come Back to Me

Riddhima looked over at the wild weeds and over grown lawn with surprise as she got down from the car with Rahul. Armaan had always made it a point to keep the garden well maintained and trimmed. Looking at its state she felt as though it had been years since the grass had been cut. She looked at Rahul with confusion. What was happening here??

She walked behind Rahul to the porch and was astonished to see Rahul opening the door with a set off spar keys. From where on earth did Rahul start keeping the keys to Armaan's place??

But none of the initial surprises could match the astonishment Riddhima felt entering the place. As she stepped in the main hall she gasped. The entire place looked like it had been closed up for months. Here there small cobwebs hung from places and the amount of dust that was accumulated dimmed the entire place to a great extent. Covering her nose she tapped Rahul.

"Rahul? What is going on here? Is this some joke? I don't even think Armaan stays here anymore and you said……." She looked at him with questioning eyes.

"Shhhh" he gave her a warning look.

"Armaan?" Folding her hands Riddhima stood looking at Rahul calling out Armaan's name gently.

"Armaan?" he whispered.

"I told you nobody stays here Rahul, your are being….."

"Who is it?" Riddhima stopped hearing his voice. It was his she knew, the same husky tone, the same voice which she could never ever forget. Turning around she saw him climb down the stairs slowly. Even in the dimness of the room she could make out that he seemed considerably thinner then he had ever been. While she stood there unmoved Rahul went forward.

"Hey Armaan" he greeted him cheerfully and gave him a hug.

"Look whose come with me to meet you" Saying so he quickly switched on the lights and stepped aside. Riddhima froze. She looked in shock at the guy standing in front of her. Was it really Armaan? He had become as thin as a rake. His eyes had deep dark circles surrounding them and a haunting look. Had he been taking drugs or……no no Riddhima decided as she digged her nails in her palms seeing him gaze constantly at her.

"Riddhima?" he whispered as though in a daze.

She looked nervously at Rahul who seemed to be standing motionless and gave her a slight warning nod asking her not to move.

Riddhima felt herself automatically take a step backward as she saw him advance towards her. But he took such a small step at a time that Riddhima stopped getting confused with each passing second. What the hell was going on here??

"Riddhima is it really you? My Riddhima???" Riddhima stood still as she saw him raise his hand gently and trail her face through air. It were as if he were feeling her face with his fingers ,the difference being he traced it in air as though testing a dream.

Riddhima?? Is it really you?" he asked again his tone much higher and delight creeping in his voice. He carefully touched her cheek.

"OMG it is you" before she could react she found herself crushed into him. He hugged her tight and caught her by surprise. She could here him whispering as he held her tightly caressing her back.

"Riddhima you are here?? See I was telling Rahul, you were not a dream, you were always here. Why did you greet Rahul when I used to tell you too? Like yesterday when he came I told you to greet him, to talk to him. Come on I told you I really don't have any problem with you talking to him, still. He said you weren't there. Riddhima but you na, always listen to whatever I say and never argue…..see Rahul I was telling you na" he pulled out of the hug and slipped his hand across her waist and held her firmly to himself.

Grinning widely he looked at Rahul.

"See Rahul Riddhima is here, you can see her now right??" he kept smiling and kept patting her head , stroking her hair gently much to Riddhima shock.

What was he upto now?? Another stunt, another act pulled by him?? Well once a fool not always a fool goes the saying she thought. Moving away from his hold she glared at him and turned to Rahul.

"What the hell Rahul? Can somebody please explain what is going on here? I cant believe you are in this with Armaan. And you……" she turned to Armaan who was still playing with her hair.

"Look Mr Mallik. Stop this ok. It's not funny……you can very well stop this act and give up. You have messed up my life more then enough already…….so please…." She gave him a furious look as he lowered his eyes.

"Riddhima this is not a game. You won in the game yesterday. You and Rahul didn't talk at all. I lost. But honey; believe me you can talk all you want with him……and see here….." he took hold of her hand and thrust it in rahul's hand.

"Rahul see, you can feel her right? She is here……I was telling you yesterday… just didn't believe me and even the day before. Riddhima was here with me….she wasn't talking to you because I had fought with her, you know I shouted at her, but see now I have no problem………." He kept mumbling to himself scratching his hair and took hold of Riddhima's hand again.

"Hey Riddhima come see, yesterday I asked you whether you liked the wall colour and bedsheets shade too…… didn't reply….ok so now come na, I'll show you. I have set up the room exactly as your taste. All your colours……..arre Rahul you come alongtoo" he brightly added as he firmly pulled Riddhima to their room.

Looking dumbfolded and helpless she looked up at Rahul who signaled her to keep quite and follow him.

Stepping in the room she gaped. Each wall had been painted in lilac, her favourite shade. She remembered telling Armaan how she would love to have atleast one wall in lilac in their room. Looking around she now saw the room arranged exactly in the same manner she would have loved. The shade of the bedsheet too was her choice. She glanced at Armaan who stood there smiling, lowering his eyes every now and then and stealing expectant glances every now and then.

"So…..?"he finally asked looking at her.

"Armaan….." she started meaning to put an end to this….

"Its beautiful nahi Riddhima?" Rahul cut in between smiling at Armaan.

"Really?" Armaan's eyes lit up.

"Oh Armaan it's amazing. So this was the surprise you were planning for her? And didn't show me too??"

"Yea……Riddhima….you… wont say anything?" he looked at her looking forlorn.

"Riddhima come you loved it right?" Rahul gazed into her eyes and gently nodded pleading her to say yes.

"Yes……yes its beautiful Ar…..Armaan….." she muttered trying to smile.

"Really you liked it?" Armaan asked in a shy tone.

"yes…..its done so beautifully…." She mustered a smile. He lurched forward and hugged her again.

"I knew it" he whispered. "I knew you will like it……thank you Riddhima. Now the room is of your taste, and we will do up the whole house in your taste only. Then we will stay together always and……."

"No……" Riddhima pushed him back.

"Armaan get this straight. This room, all this act isn't going to work ok. Stop it. And where was I here yesterday. I was at my place, my home. Not here….so STOP this crap……" she gave him a dirty look and turned to go.

"So you weren't here…..Rahul you believe me …….Rahul said you were here. You guys were just playing a game like the day before right. That day too you were here…sitting right next to me….Rahul said you weren't there" she stopped hearing him mumble.

"Rahul is right I haven't been here at all…..and stop behaving like you have lost it Armaan….." she shot back.

"You weren't here….."he asked her with a sudden dazed expression. "But you are here….always been here" Riddhima looked alarmed as he talked to himself, mumbling softly and frowning.

She glanced at Rahul who signaled her to stop and went forward.

"Armaan?'" he gently tapped on his shoulder.

"Huh….Rahul….Riddhima was here right?? You saw her didn't you??" he asked with a hopeful expression.

"Yea…..yea…" Rahul muttered in a comforting tone.

"Riddhima was just joking Armaan, ok now go take a shower and shave off this beard you have…….Riddhima wants you to look clean and nice na….then we have to go see Dr Atul" Rahul spoke to him as though a parent was ordering his child.

"Dr Atul?" Armaan looked at him confused.

"Yes…..remember I had told you about him. You know Riddhima was not well, we have to take her to the doctor, so get ready come on"

"Riddhima isn't well?" he asked looking suddenly alarmed.

"Armaan its just a minor cold or infection I guess, hence we are taking her there right. Get ready quickly come on" Rahul opened the bathroom door and indicated.

"No…." Armaan shook his head violently.

"Armaan….." Rahul looked at him sternly.

"She…..she will go away I know…" armaan whispered looking suddenly fearful.

"Ahh no see….." Rahul came forward and took hold of riddhima's hand firmly.

"She isn't going anywhere. I am holding her here ok…..go now"

"Oh ok" Armaan nodded brightly.

"Riddhima we all we go to the doctor ok…..see I am there with you….you will be fine soon" he blew her a flying kiss and walked into the bathroom closing the door behind him.

Rahul sat down on the bed heaving a sigh of relief. An unnerving silence followed. In a quivering voice Riddhima asked.

"What is going on Rahul?'

Rahul looked up at her and looked away.

"Cant you see…..Armaan has lost his senses, he is almost become practically insane??"

"Nooo……" Riddhima felt the earth beneath her move as she whispered.

"Yes…." Rahul continued.

"I had come a month a ago here to invite him for Muskaan's birthday bash……we hadn't seen him anywhere, no parties, no contracts, no media exposure, nothing at all. I was wondering where he disappeared after that night……." He looked at her uncertainly as she sat down beside him with a fear stricken face.

"That night after he publicly apologized and you turned him down he left the function. And for a few days we heard he was into depression, drinking and all. I thought best leave him alone. Then he disappeared. There was no news at all. After a few months like I grew worried. I mean he was a great friend once upon a time. His first contract had been with me just like you. Hence I took Muskaan's birthday as an excuse and landed here meaning to invite him…….and I had the shock of my life just like you had Riddhima…." He paused. The splashing of water could be heard from the bathroom.

"He was in a mess totally. Seeing me he hugged me. I was taken aback. He kept mumbling he has no problem with his Riddhima talking to me and all….and kept mumbling sorry…." Rahul looked at Riddhima looking completely lost.

"Did Armaan suspect both of us having an affair?" he gently asked.

Riddhima nodded silently feeling tears in her eyes.

"I thought as much….." Rahul sighed

"Anyways he kept hallucinating about you. Seeing you everywhere and talking to you ……..I initially tried telling him you weren't with him anymore and that you infact not even present here but he just didn't listen and its been growing worse. He either keeps hallucinating or slips into depressions……..I thought people get into drugs, drinks……I had expected the same with him but its much more worse with him. He has been deeply affected when you left him, he still loves you and…….."

He stole a glance at her sitting motionless……he knew it was hard for her too….but what had to be done had to be………

"Riddhima…..?"he softly called.

"Who's Dr Atul…?" she suddenly asked.

"You might have guessed….he a psychiatrist, I consulted him seeing Armaan's state and it was he who advised me to get you here, we are seeing him now…..before it's too late…" Rahul's voice trailed away hearing the tap in the bathroom being closed.

"Riddhima…" she looked up startled as Armaan walked out from the bathroom to her. Pulling her into a hug he muttered

"You will be alright soon baby, don't worry ok……I am there with you" he mumbled placing a gentle kiss on her forehead.

"So are we ready???" Rahul asked.

Nodding Armaan followed him outside followed by Riddhima. Feeling him taking hold of her hand she felt uncertainty and discomfort creep in. he had entered her life once again……in what way was he going to change her life yet again??


"Riddhima…….Armaan is almost close to becoming mentally deranged. Thought not yet fully, we still have a chance………."Riddhima looked at Dr Atul gazing at her as he continued in a grave tone. Armaan had been taken outside by Rahul saying Riddhima needed some tests to be done.

"You see he is having hallucinations of you being with him, giving him the love he is craving for, he making up for whatever wounds he gave you. He feels deeply guilty and regrets whatever he did to hurt you greatly. And you left him I believe?? So it has left a deep mark on his mind. Hence he is behaving this way…..if we don't act soon he might become mentally insane."

"So what do we have to do?" Riddhima asked nervously.

"The solution is simple Riddhima, keep him with you, and stay with him. Let him feel your presence for real. If he does then he will stop feeling guilty and stop being so hard on himself. If he feels you have forgiven him he will get out of the madness and misery he has brought upon himself"

Riddhima looked at him stunned. Have him back in her life?? Start it all over again??

"Riddhima I know the entire story. He loves you and you love him unconditionally too. You both are still stuck at that same point where you parted. Will you be able too see your love die?? Will be able to live with the thought that you made your love go insane?? See him go unbalanced just because he loves you and regrets what he did??" Atul asked in a gentle tone.

"No….'" Riddhima whispered feeling her eyes fill up. She saw Armaan standing at outside the cabin peering worriedly through the window. As their eyes met he blew a light kiss. Tearing her eyes away from him she glanced at atul who waited patiently for her reply.

"Fine….I will do as you say…." She answered making up her mind. Fine….she would save him…the truth was she couldn't see him go mentally deranged. But the wounds he gave her still stung in her heart. Sure she would have him back in her life but this time she would be the one controlling the reins. She was going to do this her way….she firmly decided.


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