Sunday, 28 July 2019

Part 15: How to Kill your Husband

Dinner? She stared at him with incredulous eyes. Man he looked every bit of serious. "Excuse me? Do you expect me to go to dinner with you?"

"Why not?"

"Shakal dekhi hai kamine?"

"Tum itni bhi buri nahi lagti riddhima." Armaan replied cheekily. "I am sure I can work with that."

Riddhima's mouth opened in protest. "I am talking about you idiot." She said pushing her chair behind and got up. "Anyways I thought beauty with brains weren't your types." She started walking towards the garden intending to finish her planting job first.



"Well I used to think that beauties with brains are too uptight and stuck up for my taste, but you became my only exception." He smiled lopsidedly walking with her.

Riddhima ignored his flattery. "Average women would rather have beauty than brains because average men can see better than he can think."

"Oooh that burnt my male ego." Armaan rolled his eyes. "Well everyone is entitled to their own opinion, it's just that yours is stupid." He chuckled seeing her face going all red.

"After that statement, don't sit in the car with" riddhima pushed her finger in his chest.

Huh? What? "And why is that?" amusement dancing in his eyes.

"Because I have this funny family history of people dying in the car." Riddhima said. "When I die, I want to go peacefully just like my Grandfather did, in his sleep- not like the screaming passengers in his cars."

"Someone once told me that if your wife wants to learn to drive, never stand in her way." Armaan chuckled shaking his head over riddhima's family history. Man 'Khooni Khandan'. Didn't he say that before? "Your family has got some good history eh? I wonder how the marriages worked in your family?" armaan asked just out of interest.

Riddhima reached the garden and took out the plants from the greenhouse. "All marriages are happy in my family. It's the living together afterward that causes all the trouble."

"When a guy marries he exchanges the attentions of many women for the inattention of one." Armaan reflects. Has there ever been any girl who made armaan run behind her so much?

"I will never marry again." Riddhima said grinning. "because I have three pets at home that answer the same purpose as a husband. I have a dog that growls every morning, a parrot that swears all afternoon and a cat that comes home late at night"

Armaan grins and helps riddhima pot the plant, ignoring her disapproving looks. Her I-don't-need-your-help looks "The secret of happy marriage remains a secret."

***

Riddhima was cleaning the kitchen worktop and armaan was dusting the vase. Riddhima told him that cleaning the house was part of her job and she doesn't need any assistance but armaan was adamant that if he couldn't stop her from working then atleast he can reduce her work load. Sometimes he just felt like picking her up and taking her back to india and giving her full bed rest. He knew that he was being demanding but he just couldn't help it. When you get a wife like riddhima who never do any house chore when someone tell her to do and when it's strictly a no-no as she's 6 months pregnant, she's going around waiting tables in some low ridden bars or housekeeping this massive house on her own. Now which sane person won't get angry at her antics? But at the same time he admired her survival skills. He knew that she's not the give-up kind of person, but she could fight to such limits for her survival was admirable!

When armaan found out from Michael, his detective that riddhima's second job is as a housekeeper in some rich lady's house, he wanted to bang some sense into that old lady's head. How can that buddhi keep his 6 months pregnant wife as her housekeeper? Doesn't she have any moralities? But when he went to Margaret White's house at night, she was angry at him! she accused him of leaving his pregnant wife like that to die in this unknown world and yak yak yak. Finally when he explained it to her about his situation, about their situation (which took him bloody hours and hours. Buddhi maan hi nahi rahi thi. Grrr) the kind old lady, agreed to help him and told him to be her paying guest, so that he can stay with riddhima and take care of her and also keep an eye on her property as she had so go somewhere out of town. He couldn't agree more.

"Armaan don't dust that vase. It's Margaret's ancestral vase, you'll bloody break it." Riddhima came rushing up to armaan with a knife in her hand and armaan immediately backed off.

"Is that knife for cutting vegetables or cutting your husband?" armaan grinned.

Riddhima looked at him in confusion. "Husband? You're not my husband. We're divorced dude."

"I can't remember signing any divorce papers wifey."

"But the contract said-"

"I ripped the contract and burnt it in my bin." Armaan said honestly. "I couldn't believe that a mere contract separated you from me."

"IT WASN'T THE CONTRACT. IT WAS YOU!" riddhima said angrily. Armaan was about to protest, when she shut her ears. "DON'T BLAME IT ON THE CONTRACT YOU FREAKO." Riddhima threw the vase in armaan's direction and he ducked down. Months of practice.

"You broke margaret's ancestral vase." Armaan pointed out distracting riddhima before she throws that knife at him as well. "Hawww. Ab to tum job se gayi."

Riddhima stared at the vase in horror and grasped her mouth with her hand. Suddenly she burst into tears and now it was armaan's turn to look at her in horror? Is she crying? But she never cries! Has to be the miracle of pregnancy hormones.

"Meine vase tod diya. *sniff hiccup* ancestral vase tod diya." She cried and cried. It was like a tsunami in the mansion. Armaan was never good with crying ladies, so brought her a glass of water.

"Don't cry, here drink some water." Armaan rubbed her arm and kept water in front of her.

Riddhima looked at him with terror in her eyes as she grasped her glass and threw it across the marble floor of the hall way. "TUMHARI WAJAH SE KAMINE. MEINE KHANDANI VASE TOD DIYA."

Khandani? Wow nice name. "I'll pay for it, chill wifey. Just stop crying. I get scared when women cry."

Riddhima rolled her eyes. "Promise?" she asked. "You won't break it right? Khao apne six packs ki kasam."

"Yeah yeah I'll pay for the expensive 'khandani' vase on your behalf." He said between gritting teeth. "After all marriage is about giving and taking. You better give otherwise she'll take it anyways."

Riddhima's crying face changed in a matter of seconds. "Well that's out of the way then." she said winking at him.

Armaan gaped at her. "That was a drama?!!" it was more of a statement then a question.

"what? Don't you know that a husband's last word should always be 'Okay buy it'" riddhima said cheekily and started clearing the vase. Armaan just stomped and went off in a huff. Bhalayi ka to sacchi mein zamana nahi raha. Those were real tears as well. She knew he couldn't handle crying women and still she took advantage of him. Way to go wifey! Learn how to take revenge from Riddhima!

******************************************************

Armaan rolled over his bed and checked the bedside digital clock. 7:30 am it flashed. He dragged a hand and swore. He felt as if he didn't catch more than a ten minute shut eye. Erotic dreams plagued his sleep. The kind of dreams he'd not experienced since puberty.

Riddhima was entirely to be blamed.

He got off the bed and looked out of the window overlooking into the garden where Riddhima was working yesterday. He padded down the hallway in search of his wifey, he scanned the kitchen, spare bedroom, garden, shed.

No sign of her.

She'd be here soon. He told himself. She needed this job. Still an odd stab of disappointment was felt when he didn't see Riddhima. He shivered as the cold air prickled his naked chest. Damn he was standing here in his boxers! He's in a serious need of a cold shower.

Checking his emails over fruit and toast. Coffee in hand, he made a call to India taking care of his business through phones and video conferences. Then called secretary that he'll have a video conference at ten and took a little while to look at his new projects.

When Riddhima still didn't turn up by nine o clock, he grew annoyed. He asked Riddhima yesterday to help him with some office work as she had the most experience and he had no personal assistant here to help. She just gave a little 'Mmm' and changed the topic.

At 10 o'clock he rang his secretary and postponed the conference.

Responsibility! Riddhima seriously lacked that. Punctuality wasn't really her forte was it? He rung on her number but it came switched off. Swearing under his breath, he picked up his car keys and left the house.

Parking outside riddhima's building; he looked up at her sorry looking apartment and climbed the steps. He took two steps at a time, finally reaching her apartment, then knocked on the door.

No answer. "Riddhima? Are you in there?" impatience snapped at him, he barely waited before knocking back louder again.

A scruffy looking teenage boy in dirty grey hoodie excited the apartment down the hall. Armaan approached the teenage boy with BO and dirty sneakers.

"She ain't left yet." Scruffy said as he passed Armaan.

Armaan studied him with narrowed eyes. "And you'd know this how?"

The scruffy boy popped a chewing gum in his mouth. "See everyone from my living room window. You dropped her off yesterday night didn't ya? Black ford?"

A tinge of concern jolted through Armaan. "Do you watch everyone's comings and goings?"

"Has to. It ain't safe around and it's just me and mum. She's in wheelchair you see, so has to keep an eye on everyone."

"And you are?"

"Jake." He stuck out a hand from his hodded jacket. "You're riddhima's boyfriend?"

Armaan shook his hand. "No'I am her husband." And watched doubt in jake's eyes. "Long story buddy. My name is Armaan by the way and I'll see you around."

"Okay. See ya." Jake hunched took a swagger stride and headed down the stairwell.

Armaan resumed knocking. "Riddhima! I know you're in there." Finally he heard muffled noises and the door creaked open. Her face was only partially visible and what he could see didn't look good.

"What are you doing here?" she dug a tissue from her dressing gown and dabbed in under her red nose.

No wonder she hadn't turned up. "You're ill." He said unnecessarily. "You should've called me." He pushed the door open, taking in her dark circles as he pushed the door close behind him.

"Why?" she turned around and headed for her bed.

"To let me know that you're not coming in today." He followed her in her bedroom. "To let me know that you're not feeling well." The place was colder than the winter arctic.

"On my day off?"

"Your day off?"

"I don't work on Saturdays. I told you at on our interview." Stepping out of her fluffy slippers she climbed into her bed, dragging the covers over her. "So, if there's nothing else...Pull the door shut on your way out."

Even beneath his leather jacket he could feel goosebumps. "Don't you have a heating?"

"It's broken." Came her mumbled reply.

"I can't leave you alone like this."

"Sure you can. Don't have any work to do? Meetings to attend?" a vague hand came from beneath the covers as she grabbed a tissue.

"Are you mad?" he crossed the room, came up to her and stood towering her. "Forget meetings, forget work, forget appointments. You shouldn't even be here on your own and this place is an ice box. You're coming Margaret's place with me."

"No!" her reply was razor sharp.

"I don't want to argue with you riddhima."

"Good." A moment of silence. "I am better off here. If I sleep it off today, I'll be right for work day after."

He gritted his teeth and lowered himself of the bed. "You shouldn't be even working in this condition riddhima." Armaan wanted to strangle her out of frustration. "Why are you doing this to yourself riddhima?"

He could hear her taking a long frustrated sigh from under the covers. "Think of this as my punishment for falling for you."

Okay now armaan could really strangle her. She's not only torturing herself but their baby too. "I can carry you down in your pyjamas and put you in the car myself or you can get dressed first- your choice. But you're coming with me in five minutes."

"I am staying here. I am going to try to sleep. Here. Thanks for your offer. Now go away."

He pushed up. So be it. He scanned around the room and found a supermarket plastic bag. Then started shoving her clothes in. "Four minutes." He opened the drawer till he found her underwear.

Behind him he heard a gasp. "You're so no touching my-"

"Think again honey." he pulled out a flimsy looking white bra and panties and tossed them in the bag. Added a pair of socks.

Riddhima's eyes narrowed to slits as she watch armaan disappearing into her tiny bathroom. That guy has some nerves. If she wasn't so ill, swear to god she would have thrown something...heavy on his head. Squeezing her eyes shut, she willed him to leave. She was an independent woman. Had to be. If she made it clear, didn't want his assistance, didn't need it, he'd respect that. He'd-

Her eyes snapped open again when the quilt's warmth vanished. A tide of cold air and defeat washed over her as she looked up in to the eyes of one determined man. Mouth resolve, jaw tight, her bag of stuff in one arm.

A man accustomed to having his demand met.

Well she has news for him then. "Look yeah-"

His dark eyes challenged hers. "Since you're obviously not going to co-operate-" he said sliding his hand beneath her armpits."-why wait the extra two minutes?"

She saw a glint in his eyes as he dragged her upright. "You wouldn't. I am too heavy for you-"

The glint remained as he slipped her slippers on her feet, tightened the sashay of her dressing gown and fastened the top button of her pyjamas. "I would riddhima." Then scooping her up, he swung her in his arms.

Riddhima wriggled in his hold and kicked her legs into air. "PUT ME DOWNNN."

Armaan carefully took her out of her apartment when suddenly he remembered something. "Keys?"

"JAHANNUM MEIN!" riddhima shouted adamantly.

"Okay then we'll leave your house unlocked. Cool? Choro ko to maza aa jayegi."

A moment of silence. "On the wall behind you." Riddhima said meekly and armaan grinned in victory.

They both left her apartment with riddhima  in armaan's arm. "This is crazy. I am not ill. I've just got cold."

Armaan gave her a disbelieving look. Suddenly riddhima's neighbour Mrs Steele came out of her apartment and saw armaan carrying a pregnant riddhima in his arms.

"What happened dear? Is she in labour? Shall I call the ambulance?" Mrs steele patted riddhima's head and she groaned in frustration. Bas isi ki kami thi! Nahi nahi aur padosiyo ko bhi bula lo.

"Offcourse I am 6 months pregnant and in labour." Riddhima hissed sarcastically and armaan chuckled. "Why don't you call Guiness book of world record before calling the ambulance?"

Mrs Steele gave armaan a flustered look and he just mouthed a 'She's lost it' and started walking down the stairs.

"Man you've gone so heavy these days riddhima. Kya khati ho?" armaan asked chuckling and riddhima gave him evil glares.

"Tumhara bacha!"

saniya

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