Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Part 18 : The Green Blue Hues (AR ff)

Riddhima looked at Rhea and Ryan playing with Armaan, and her mind wandered to the past amidst all the laughter and squealing.


The first thing she remembered about her childhood was the adoption centre. She had lived there as long as could remember, and had been surprisingly happy there. Having never been acquainted with parental love, she found solace in the company of her friends at the centre, and the absolutely adorable and gorgeous Miss Samantha, whom everyone called Sam. She was Riddhima's idol, she went behind her wherever she went, tagging along to the grocery stores and to the shopping malls whenever she could. The one thing that Riddhima was obsessed about since childhood was reading; she was an avid reader and spent most of her time buried in books. Her life had been going as normally as a 5 year old's could, despite the lack of parental love and care. And then one day they came.

Sam had called her into her study while she had been reading peacefully in the library. Thinking that the visit promised a trip down to the grocery store where she could buy her favorite ice-cream, she hurried down the corridor to her study. She had always been an extrovert kid, beautiful, sharp and extremely joyful. Meeting her was a pleasure, as she could bring a smile on anyone's face. She had entered the study to see a young couple sitting before her. She immediately knew what was going on. Many of her friends had gone the same way too, and never returned.

She cuddled up to Sam, almost hiding behind her when she saw the people. The man scared her, intimidated her. He wore an expensive Armani suit and his tie hung loosely around his neck. There was a frustrated expression on his face, and he kept looking at the watch again and again. Though he gave a curt nod to her when she greeted him, his eyes remained cold and distant. There was a silent sneer around his mouth, and she immediately disliked him.

However, she warmed upto the woman at once. She was a beautiful woman, around her early thirties, and she wore a beautiful sari. Her eyes were warm, and unlike the man, the smile reached them as she looked at her. Riddhima felt in awe of her, she was so beautiful and delicate. She found herself being taken into her arms and hugged lightly. When the woman started talking to her, Riddhima at once decided she liked her more than the man.

The couple left after some time, and Riddhima went back to her room. Two days later, Sam again called her to her study, and this time, she knew this was it. She had been informed that the couple was ready to adopt her and she had been packing her belongings, majority of which were her books, ever since. After having bid a final goodbye to everyone in the centre, she walked down the corridor for one last time and entered the study.

An hour later, she was standing in a huge, beautiful mansion in the suburbs of London. Having lived there for the whole 5 years of her life, she was still astounded with the beauty of it. She was so mesmerized by the whole surroundings that for some time, she couldn't speak. The lady, who had introduced herself as Misha Gupta, held her hand and showed her the whole house. The man, Rajeev Gupta, had dismissed their company as soon as they had entered the house.

Riddhima was shown her room, which was so huge she thought she'd get lost in it. Her whole day was spent with Misha, who pampered her and loved her so much that Riddhima felt on top of the world. Though Rajeev rarely talked to her, she didn't miss out on much from his side as Misha was so concerned about her all the time that she couldn't ask for me.

Riddhima got into a new school, made new friends, and easily adjusted to her new posh life. There wasn't any problem in doing so, because Misha was always with her, in everything she did. She was there at all school plays, at all the sports events, at all the 'silly little things' she did. She was with her at home, giving her company, making her favorite food, having tea parties for her friends, but most importantly, giving her so much of unconditional love that Riddhima instantly fell at ease. Misha Auntie soon became Mama.

She didn't know when and how the years of her lives sped away. The life she was living was the envy of many, she was the daughter of a rich business tycoon, who had all the luxuries in life. And even then, she wasn't the usual brat kind of a girl, she was every person's best friend. At school everyone wanted to be her friend because she was so full of life and so sweet with everyone that no one could stay away. Apart from the love, Misha had incorporated in her all the values of a good human being, and she always did what Misha told her to.

Over the years, Rajeev opened up to her too. Though he wouldn't mingle much, he still stopped cringing whenever she called him Dad, and slowly he started being normal with her. Riddhima always kept her distance from him, because she felt that it was only Misha who had been interested in adopting her, and Rajeev had just played along. The home environment wasn't cold and unwelcoming, it was pleasant, though Riddhima did not like being around Rajeev along. Her life revolved around Misha.

Slowly the years passed, and soon Riddhima was a beautiful, bubbly girl of 11. Life couldn't have been better for her, and then came Ryan. His birth was the happiest day in Riddhima's life, she had awaited it since Misha had tearfully broken the news to her. Riddhima had cried with happiness. The first time she held her was the most beautiful feeling ever, and not for a second did she feel jealous because she knew that Ryan was as important to her as to Misha.

Misha and Riddhima both took on taking care of Ryan as best as they could. Riddhima was surprisingly extremely responsible when it came to him; she would change his clothes, his diapers, make his bottles, put him to sleep so efficiently that Misha was often left surprised. However, Riddhima felt a sudden change in Rajeev's behavior towards her as Ryan came into their lives; he started acting the same way he had used to, not talking to her, not listening to her, overall just ignoring her presence over all.

Riddhima opened up to Misha about how she felt about Rajeev's attitude towards her, but Misha consoled her saying that he was just busy and tired from all the work, and he often did not talk to her properly too. That was the first time Riddhima started seeing the cracks in their marriage. But she didn't have the time to dwell on Rajeev's attitude towards her, as she had her hands full with Ryan and Misha.

Years passed by, and soon Riddhima was a beautiful girl of 17. Her life had been going as smoothly as it could. Ryan was now 6, and the utmost joy of her life. They both were like best friends, and she was extremely attached to him. Rajeev had further busied himself in his work and Misha had finally confided in Riddhima about all the problems she was facing with Rajeev. In the past 15 years of her marriage, Misha had been afflicted upon by his anger and rude behavior towards her. However, now the situation was worse than ever; due to some reason or the other, he had been drinking excessively now, and the effect had been visible when his work started declining and his temperament worsened. In these times, Riddhima was a support to her mother and consoled her faithfully. Misha found her solace in her two beautiful kids.

One day, when Riddhima had come back from college, she had been surprised to find Misha crying in her room. Though she knew her mother inside out, she had never seen her cry, because she was an extremely strong woman. Riddhima instantly knew something was wrong. On insisting, Misha told her that she was pregnant, and the news had not gone down too well with Rajeev. He thought that she had cheated on him, and the child wasn't his.

Riddhima was shocked out of her wits, but she controlled herself and calmed down her mother, making her believe that he would soon be home and pamper her like he had done when Ryan was to be born, and it was just the initial shock that had made him say it.

That night, Riddhima woke to the sound of something heavy falling down on the floor with a huge clank. Jumping out f the bed and making sure that Ryan was asleep behind her, she went to her parents room to see Misha sitting on the floor, her hands around her head, yelping with fear as Rajeev stood before her, apparently drunk, and holding a belt in his hand.

Anger like she had known never before erupted inside her and Riddhima strode forward, and as the belt whipped down, held it in her hand before it could touch her mother. Though the sharp hit almost made her shout with pain, she looked at him with daggers in her eyes, saying 'no, you don't' to him. He looked at her, and before she could understand what was happening, she had been hit several times, and soon she was lying on the floor, crooning with pain.

As Misha made to stop Rajeev, Riddhima turned to her and shook her head at her, pleading her not to say anything. That night, Rajeev shouted profanities at Riddhima that she couldn't even bear to hear, but she listened to all of them quietly, for the sake of the mother who had loved her more than anything else.

The whole next week, every night the scene was repeated. She was bruised all over the body, but she had made Misha swear she wouldn't intervene, lest he provided any harm to her or to the baby. She didn't go to college the whole week. Then, one night, Rajeev did not do anything and Riddhima spent the whole night, waiting for the second she would hear a sound of him trying to hit Misha.

The next day, she didn't go to the college again, but went to the tuition centre where she helped out younger students. That was where she first met Armaan. After the tuition, she had been sitting in the basketball court next to the tuition centre, and it had started raining. But she still sat there, her whole being numbed. The day before yesterday, Rajeev had kicked her in the ribs, and she was sure one of her ribs was fractured, as the pain wouldn't go away. She didn't know how long she had been sitting there, when she felt someone walking up to her and sitting down next to her. She had looked up to see him, his hands clasped under his chin, his eyes set on her. She had never seen him before. She had ignored him, thinking he would go away after some time. But they both sat there for long, not saying anything, drenched in rain.

At last, he had spoken up and she had been surprised at his comment, 'Lets just get you to the hospital now…'. She had looked up in surprise, and he had smiled back at her. She was shocked, how had he come to know she was hurt. As if reading her mind, he had said, 'I can see it in your eyes….the pain…'…..Riddhima had looked down with a lump forming in her throat, tears streaking down her cheeks. They had sat there longer, then on an impulse, she had stood up with difficulty and walked away while he sat there.

This started happening every day. Every day he would come and sit next to her, and though it wouldn't be raining always, they both would sit there quietly for a long time, then she would walk away. She couldn't figure out why he used to come, but unknowingly, she felt a sense of calm prevail her whenever he was around. The silence was comforting. Then one day, when she stood up to walk away, he had held her hand. Riddhima had whipped around, shocked. He had smiled back lightly, and made her sit down, and then said, 'let's just talk now…okay???'….Riddhima had looked into his eyes and felt a sense of belonging, of pure, genuine care. And it had all come tumbling out.

Armaan sat silently as Riddhima narrated everything to him. As she finished, her face was tear stained, and she couldn't stop sobbing. Armaan just held her hand and let her speak her heart out. She had looked at him after that, embarrassed at herself and making up an excuse, had hurried away.

As she entered the house that day, she didn't know why she had told him everything. She hardly knew him, and she had told him all the details of her life. She pushed these thoughts out of her head and walked up to her room. That night, hell broke over her house. The usual routine had followed, Rajeev had been beating up Riddhima when Ryan entered the room, crying at not finding Riddhima next to him. He had been shocked to see his father hit his sister while his mother stood in a corner, crying her eyes out. Ryan had immediately run forward and stood between Rajeev and Riddhima, while Riddhima tried to push him away. His small hands had wound around Rajeev's wrist and in a moment of anger, he had slapped Ryan so hard that he went twirling around the room.

Pain erupted inside Riddhima and she didn't know what she was doing after that. All she knew was that this man had hit her younger brother, the apple of her eye, and she couldn't bear it anymore. She had hit him as hard as she could, and soon his head had collided against the table side and he became unconscious. Riddhima, taking matters into her hands, told her mother to pack some of their belongings and the check books of their accounts. Within half an hour, they had crossed the threshold of their house forever, never to return again. As Riddhima looked back, she promised to herself that she would never let anyone hurt her family ever again.


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