Thursday, 20 June 2019

part 19: Come Back to Me

He was there......

Sitting on the floor with his back against the edge of the bed........ absolutely still holding something, starring at it. Stepping closer Riddhima went right up to him and stood. He was sitting with his back facing her. Peering curiously Riddhima realized it was a photo frame. She boldly took a step forward and observed more closely. He seemed to be gazing at it intently, unaware of her presence in the room.

Riddhima wasn't very surprised to see that it was a snap of theirs together. It was the one which was taken when she first shifted to his place. He seemed to be gazing so intently at it. A gush of relief seemed to flow through her body, calming every nerve. She felt truly relieved seeing him safe but at the same time Riddhima felt her flesh tingle as she considered the worse. What if he wasn't stable, what if.........Riddhima tried pushing all these negative thoughts out, firmly trying to convince herself that he was fine.........everything was going to be alright......

She stepped close and gently put an arm on his shoulder.

"Armaan?" she called out uncertainly.

He gazed up at her and gave a small smile. Shifting his weight a little he made place for her to sit beside him as she kneeled on the floor next to him. Finally sitting next to him she looked at him starring back at the snap.

She was giving him a peck on cheek as he smiled when the picture was taken.

"Armaan?" she whispered again not knowing what to say. He was so still and the small smile playing along his lips was scaring her.

"Seems to be a long time ago right?" he mumbled looking at the snap.

"What?" she gazed at him confused?

"This snap, this moment…..seems to be another lifetime……" he mumbled his eyes distant and he spoke as though he had just been woken up from some dream.

"No….no Ar…..Armaan listen like…" Riddhima fumbled not knowing what to say.

"You know Riddhima remember you would say that I wasn't the Armaan you fell in love with? When I started neglecting you? You remember you would tell me during our fights, I wasn't the Armaan you fell in love with? You don't see that Armaan anywhere in me anymore?? You know Riddhima I look at myself in the mirror and don't even see my self anymore. I can't even recognize myself in that reflection. I keep trying in vain to make out who that guy is, staring back at me. I cant even make out myself…." His voice broke.

"Armaan…." She gently held his arm as looked away.

"Rid….Riddhima I am sorry, I don't even know how to apologize, how to show you my face. I tore you apart and yet you gave me another chance, gave yourself up to me again. Riddhima can I ever make you forgive me?"

"Armaan its nothing like that, Armaan we both took this chance to mend, to knit our lives back together again….."

He wiped a lone tear rolling down his cheek and stared at her as she continued.

"Armaan when you drifted apart, I was shattered, true I was shattered. I thought my love lacked that something you hold you back, I never once even fought to have you back, to demand you back in my life. I just took it all as it came, took it as fate. Allowed you to go away, just whined, and cried. I never got up, stood up and forced myself. I shied away in a corner. I thought you treated me as a mere object in your life, a toy you used and threw away, but Armaan……"

She paused feeling his hand on hers, seeing his eyes glistening …….

"You were never an object Riddhima…..I…" he stopped feeling her fingers on his lips.

"Let me talk today Armaan.

"Armaan I felt that way, that you treated me that way. A mere toy, plaything to amuse you but Armaan I never stopped and pondered over the fact that if you used me…..I allowed you to do it  If you played with me, I played along .Never questioning you, never arguing with you. If you put away in a corner of the house, I stayed there. I didn't get up and fight back. you took me for granted, I allowed you to take me for granted. Armaan somewhere we both were at fault. You drifted away, I allowed it…."

She stopped feeling tears in her eyes. This was something she had in her heart since long. Deep down she had discovered the truth. The months she spent apart from him had made her contemplate on this a number of times. She had analyzed and reanalyzed their relationship endlessly. And had seen finally discovered the truth, which had been deep down in her heart always. She just needed to accept it. Now it was time to put it forth and set things straight.

"Armaan" she whispered placing her hand gently on his cheek.

"Armaan somewhere we both went wrong. You dominated and I shied away. Our relationship was never between two people, never an equation with two halves, on with you and one with me. It was always am imbalanced equation with you dominating the scene. You were aggressive but I took it right?"

"Riddhima you're just being too sweet and gentle as per your nature to say this…..fact is I was a brute, a beast. You know I had all the riches in my life. I grew up that way, never had I been denied anything. If I wanted something, I had it. And Dad just gave fuel to that fire in me. He thought being so aggressive, dominant was good. You achieve your dreams that way. So as I grew these things became prominent in my nature. If I wanted it, I had to have it. And I couldn't see anyone else better then me, or being what I wanted."

He paused and rested his head on her shoulder.

"Then you entered my life. Again I had to have you, in my life. I loved you so much that I just wanted you to love me the same. When it happened I was over the moon I remember. Initially I was fine, then again as we finished of with the degree I wanted to be the top. I wanted to soar high as I had defied my dad and fought with him to enter this field. He so wanted me to join his business but no, I defied him. I wanted to prove myself to him, to this world!! Slowly I got driven into it, in the event of going away from you. I know I had forced you into being intimate with me too. And you never objected…."

"Exactly…." She whispered. "I never objected….."

"I knew I was neglecting you. I thought once I sort out my career we would see yours. I became selfish. I wanted you to be with me and at the same time wanted to reach the pinnacle of success. Then came Rahul, he molded your career, he gave you that push, the push I should have perhaps given you? He supported you the way I should have. You soon became busy with your projects. I couldn't take it. I felt he was snatching you away from me, and you were allowing it. He did everything I wanted to do for you……."

Riddhima gazed at him in surprise. He looked up and smiled.

"Funny  how people tend to think right? Then when you look back and see how much damage that thought has done, you don't even have enough tears to regret it."

"Armaan but you should have asked me, you should have just called me back to you and I would have come running back…."

"I know but as I said I never thought that way, I was foolish, aggressive and a beast. I thought I would live off without you. That I didn't need you in my life…..and see what I did…...I killed…." Riddhima put her fingers on his lips once more.

"Armaan just lets forget this…..whatever happened, we both are at fault" she lowered her eyes.

"Riddhima you may feel that way but still I am and will always remain a murderer, of my own blood, my own child…." He paused choking and sobbed holding her hands to his face.

"I am sorry….sorry sounds so false, too less a word to show you my regret, that I feel so shameful, that each wound I stabbed in you is hurting me a hundred times more….Riddhima…"

"Armaan it was just an outcome of our actions. Maybe it was never meant to be Armaan, we both needed to be shaken up, and maybe we both too were just never….."

"Shhh never say that Riddhima, you don't know how I have coped up with you walking out of my life….I went crazy, I went mad, totally…"

"So you knew???" she looked at with disbelief.

"Knew what ??"

"That you were……."

"Yea…" he gave a small smile.

"Yea there were brief spells in which I exactly knew what I was doing, I was aware of my surroundings and then suddenly I would be drowned .The moment I would feel you were going away from me I started getting lost. That night when I apologized and you left…,…trust me I never felt so squashed .So broken, so low, and so shattered. I wanted to break everything I could, kill myself, come and grip you demanding an explanation, and then it dawned. I was the one who pushed you away."

"Suddenly your face flashed in front of my eyes, the state I left you in that night when I pushed you came flooding back….I couldn't take it. I started pushing it all out of my mind. I wanted to believe that nothing has happened. You will come back. Everything was normal. I started living in that fantasy, that imaginary world I created. There were spells when I would snap out of it….I knew I was going mad. But then without you there was no reason for me to stay sane. Then when you actually came back, you changed my imaginary world to reality. As soon as I snapped out of my illusion I saw nothing had changed. But my Riddhima had……you were with me and still you weren't. I saw all the hurt I gave you clearly on your face"

He paused putting arm around her shoulders.

"I wanted to take it all away. See that twinkle in your eyes, that smile on your lips. But as time passed by I knew perhaps you would never forgive me, perhaps I could never undo what I did. But I was happy. Atleast you were there with me…..atleast you had me in your life. I was ready to be a doormat if you wanted……so I just let things be. I won't ever force anything upon you ever again Riddhima. I love you way too much for that"

"Armaan…" she looked at him surprised.

"No don't cry, if some one has to cry…….. its me. Today when Rahul told me Muskaan was pregnant and our child would have been a year by now………I sort of snapped out. In a flash I knew it wont ever be the same again. I have lost everything, and I won't ever be able to sum it up ever again…….all is lost…."

He ran his fingers through his hair and cried silently breaking down.

"Perhaps all isn't lost…." She whispered placing her hand on his cheek as he pulled her into a hug.

"I love you Riddhima" he whispered.

For the first time in these few days he had spent with her Armaan dared silently to raise his hand and stroke her hair, moving it down to her back. She didn't hug him back he noticed, but she didn't withdraw back either. Tightening his hold on her he tenderly spoke....

"If you say all isn't lost Riddhima, can you give me, can you give us another chance?"


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