Friday, 12 July 2019

part 28 : The Green Blue Hues

Recap: Riddhima thinks she's falling for Armaan, mehndi scenes, Armaan tells the kids about their marriage, Divya finds out the truth about AR fake marriage...

The crowd and noise in the house was getting on Riddhima's nerves as God knows how many relatives and friends piled into the hall for yet another some event she failed to understand. Excusing herself on the pretext of going to the kitchen, she ran up to Armaan's room, which was the only vacant room. True, she had been told not to go to his room till the wedding took place but the noise was giving her a severe head ache now. Rushing into the room, she closed the door behind her and sighed with relief at the sudden peace that enveloped her. She opened her eyes to see Rhea sitting on the bed, playing with her dolls while Ryan lay on the cushions, reading a book. Seeing her, Rhea jumped up from the bed and landed into her arms. Riddhima smiled and hugged her close to herself, relishing this moment for it had been long since she had been able to take out time for either of her siblings.


'DI!!' Ryan looked up from his book and like a little kid, clambered into her lap as she settled down on it with Rhea on one side of her lap.

'How are my babies doing, huh? Are you guys havng fun?,' She implored, playing with Rhea's hair.

'Fun? What fun? We never get to see you and Bhai around any time...and we are just plain bored here. I wanna go back Di!!,' Ryan explained his turmoil to her and Rhea nodded.

'Me too! Me too!!!,' Rhea added with enthusiasm.

'But why? Isn't it good here?,' Riddhima asked, curious to knwo why her siblings were suddenly not feeling comfortable here.

'It IS....its just that...we miss you!,' Ryan, being the sensitive kid that he was, said it with an innocence apt for a ten year old, and Riddhima's heart went out to him. She kissed his temple lightly and replied, 'Ryan, baby...I'm sorry! I just dont get enough time over here...I'm busy...,' before she could carry on with the justifications, she was stopped in the middle by an interruption.

'Getting married? You are too busy getting married, right?,' The over-perceptiveness of the kid surprised Riddhima, as did the agitated tone he spoke in. But most of all, she was surprised at how he had known about this. As long as she knew, the kids were just aware of some wedding taking place and she had planned to talk it out with them later on, herself.

'Who told you that?,' Riddhima inquired, keeping her tone as normal and unsurprised as she could, looking from Ryan to Rhea, the latter being a little uninterested in the talk going on and more in her doll's hair.

Ryan got down from her lap and stood before her, a forlorn looking ten year old who at the moment, seemed quite infuriated, 'Bhai did...he told us today, that you were going to marry him..'

Riddhima's mind went into a frenzy to sort out the information that had just been hurled at her. Armaan had talked to the kids? When? And why hadn't he informed her about it? As far as she knew, they both had not yet discussed what was to be told to the kids and how and when the information would be disclosed to them. Then how had he decided to take the leap himself, tell HER siblings about an impending marriage that would of course, shake the ground beneath them for Riddhima was the only person in their lives who resembled family. Then how could he have gone and told the kids himself, when he was very well aware of the possessive streak in Ryan, who also just needed a reason to mistrust people, after all that had happened in his life. And mainly, why hadn't Armaan asked her before telling them?

As her mind failed to find answers for these questions, a slow creep of anger hurled inside her, as she saw the unshed tears in her younger brother's eyes, who was now saying, 'Di, how could you do this? Why didn't you tell us? I knew you would do this too, you will leave us like Dad did, like Mama did...you don't love us anymore, you love Armaan Bhai and now you will live with him here and you will leave us alone...,'

This sudden outburst from someone she had somehow started to take as an adult, regardless of the age but because of the mature demeanor this little boy had put up for so long, startled her. As she headed towards him to take him in her arms, he stepped away and tears spilled from his eyes, over a realization that he would be loosing his sister after his parents too. Rhea, looking at Ryan crying, got down from the bed and hugged him, giving him company in the crying. Riddhima looked from one to the other and her head whirled, she could not bear to see her siblings like this. The slow anger that had been mounting in her rose to an unquestionable fury at Armaan as she realized how the way he had handled the situation with the kids had landed her into this mess now. Deciding to think over this pending issue later, she took a deep sigh and sat down before them, on her knees, and taking both of their hands in hers, by force, she started talking in a determined voice.

'Listen to me, very carefully....i am NOT going anywhere....."

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

The silent drive to the mall was absolutely close to physical pain, for both parties remained so quiet it seemed there was no one actually present in the car. Armaan was lost in his thoughts; that was all he had been doing since this crazy idea had popped into his mind, he mused. However, now what conquered his thougts was not whether what they were doing was right or whether they should tell everyone and blah....all he could see were flashes of Riddhima from the previous day, her dressed in a yellow suit, her hands adorned with mehndi and that strange twinkle of happiness in her eyes he had seen rarely before. She had looked just so beautiful, and even now his breath hitched when he thought about her; not because he had never thought her beautiful before or that she had not looked prettier before yesterday; but because the reality of the situation had hit him, in a fairly different way. Yesterday, she hadn't been his best friend, the person he had known for he past few years and to whom he felt the closest to. He had actually felt, for the first time since this craziness had started, that she was dressed like a bride, his bride. That thought was such a rush of adrenaline, such a happy one that he couldn't stop smiling all the way as he drove.

Divya eyed him slightly, noticing the dreamy look in his eyes and the smile that played on her lips. To say she was disappointed in what Armaan was doing and she had got to know just yesterday was an understatement. Ranging from her shock at the stupidity of this plan to a feeling of restlessness at what would happen now and moving on to the major feeling of utter disappointment at finding out that he hadn't confided in her, she couldn't begin to express herself. Any sensible head would realize that this was a plain crazy idea; then what had compelled Armaan, the one who had always been known for his SANE head, to go ahead with this foolishness of the highest level? Didn't he realize how this was not a matter of few days, but a whole lifetime? And why hadn't he told her, so that they could have together found a better, more sensible solution to whatever problem had compelled him to take this decision? God knew, they both had always been each other's support stand, then what had happened now? Did he stop trusting her now that he had Riddhima, or correction; did he stop feeling the need to confide in her? Yet amongst all this, as she looked at her brother's dreamy smile, the one most important question rose in her mind, did he love her?

As he parked the car, Armaan got out of his reverie and looked over at Divya, who, he realized, was also immensely lost in some thought. Smiling, he shook her shoulder a little and she came back to the world.

'D, let's go! We're here!,' he said, only to be answered by a blank look by her. Before he could say anything more to propel her to move, she spoke up.

"Armaan, i need to talk to you,' Armaan looked at her, narrowing his eyes and then took a breath. 'D, isn't this a VERY wrong time? We need to pick up the sherwanis and be back home in an hour...can't this wait?'

'No it can't! It's very important.' Her short answers and the slightly vexed tone told him that it really was, and so he settled in his seat and turned to look at her.

'Okay, tell me, what?,' he asked, and after taking a deep sigh, Divya looked him in the eye and started off.

'I know. I know everything between you and Riddhima and whatever plan you guys are carrying out. That this marriage is a facade and you guys are just playing along with it is an issue I'm not enthralled about at all, but this is not what i have to talk about..,'

Before she continued, she took a look at Armaan's surprised, in fact, shocked face as she revealed him the truth she had known. How she had come to know, she knew this question had arisen in his mind but she wouldn't answer now.

'Armaan, I won't even go towards telling you HOW crazy and foolish this idea is...because you know it yourself. To marry for the sake of others and not your own happiness is, i agree, a very noble thing to do...so noble that i know you wouldn't do it. And that is what i want to know...why?'

An impregnated silence followed, only to be broken by a small gush of air Armaan breathed out, and then, pursing his lips, he started, 'D, I know you are angry and...'

'This isn't about me Armaan. You are taking me wrong! You know how much I have honored and respected your freedom to do anything you want to, so I am not angry....I just want to know, why you are doing this? And please dont feed me the crap about family's happiness and everything, I know and you know that there's another reason behind it.'

The hidden meaning in her words wasn't lost to Armaan. It was what he had been trying to deny since days, weeks, months even, and yet it had been glaring him in the eyes. Unsuccessful he had been in living in denial, for his own mind would play games on him, everyday, to make him believe what he didn't want to, only he adamantly failed to accept it. The underlying reason for marrying her was his own wish, what he had wanted, if not for years then for those few months he had thought of her in the role of his wife, as a part of his family. And the idea had been tempting, so much so that this whole facade had not seemed as foolish as it would to anyone else, had to Muskaan, Rahul and now to Divya. He shook his head again, doing what he perfected over the past few days ; denying.

'D, i dont know what you are...'

'Yes you do. You very well know what I'm talking about,' she cut him in between, and continued after a momentary pause. 'I have seen the way you look at her, the way you unknowingly glance at her after every single moment...that look in your eyes, I know that look Armaan. It's not a look you have for your best friend, not for your girlfriend even. It's the look you have, for the person you love.'

Even before she completed, Armaan had started shaking his head at her, 'D, you have got it all wrong. I know you think I love her and everything, but...' he was again cut off by his sister, who pounced at his words.

'Don't you?'

'What?' Armaan asked, confused at what she was trying to imply.

'Don't you love her?,'

That simple line held the answers to everything taht had been going on in his head, had been troubling him since days. Did he love her? Yes, his mind and brain answered, for the first time in sync. Instead of battling it out with her, he turned and walked out of the car, to be followed with his very satisfied sister who knew her work was done.

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

The backyard of the house was a place rarely populated by any species inhabiting the place, for it was never visited owing to it's unmaintained situation, the hedges and overgrown grass no body ever took care of. Riddhima, however, had ventured out here today as she tried to figure out a few things, and thus she sat on the root of a tree which only had its base in the backyard, and the rest of it hung out on the other side of the fence. In her hands lay her mobile, a picture she had taken last night of the three people who mattered the most to her opened on the screen. She stared at it, at Armaan's peaceful face, at her siblings unperturbed expressions.

Ryan's outburst had totally shaken her today, brought her out of what she was now calling 'a dream'. Amongst all her own personal denials, fights and decisions, she had somehow forgotten to think of her brother and sister, the two people who depended on her and who needed to be taken care, not by anyone else, but by her. People often took her to be an unruly, impractical person, and she had proven to be just that by behaving the way she had in the past few days. The love for fun, frolic, independence from responsibilities and a craziness that had taken over her senses had bowled her over to take decisions she didn't honor now. Now that she thought back, she couldn't understand what she had done; how she had put herself before her siblings, how she had lost track of how every act of hers would affect them, leave an impression on their minds. As far as she was concerned, they weren't her siblings, they were literally like her own children, then how could she have been so negligent towards them. And how had she put Armaan's family, like she had convinced herself that she had, before her own. Or had she? The question unsettled Riddhima, as she fidgeted on the root she sat.

Did she really believe that whatever she had been doing till now had absolutely NO connection to whatever she wanted? Did she really believe that everything had been done to keep Armaan's family away from hurt and pain, and not because she herself had somewhere wanted it? A lifetime of what she had with Armaan, maybe even better. But he had supported her in it, been half a part of it, so did he want the same? Or did he genuinely think of his family only when taking this decision?

As her fingers lightly caressed the screen where Armaan's face was, she wondered again, would her mother approve of it? Ryan's outburst today had been a huge sign of how wrong had she been, and this added to the fact that she KNEW her mother would strongly disapprove of it disturbed her. What could she do now? Could she back out of it now? No, her mind instantly answered, it was too late for that. Plus Armaan had shown his discontent at the slight mention of calling it off, it was too big a spoof. Riddhima sighed, cursing herself for what she hated most about herself, her impulsiveness. That was what had gotten her into this mess, she couldn't blame Armaan for THAT, she had fully agreed to it herself. It was her impulsiveness that was to be blamed, for she had rushed into things, not taking care to think through every aspect of it, especially when there were so many people involved.

This thought took her back to the scene from the morning, when the kids had shouted at her and blamed her for leaving them alone. The insecurities she had witnessed in their eyes made her sure of the fact that she was, on absolutely no grounds, hurting them again. Anger twisted in her again, for if she couldnt blame Armaan for this overall mess, she COULD for the pain she had put her siblings through. It had been the most inappropriate way to tell them, and she also knew that had she been the one to clear out this between them and the kids, then things would have been better. Definitely, they had felt estrangement at knowing something so important from someone who wasn't her. Of course, they were close to Armaan and loved him, but he was still an outsider and could not take her place in their lives, thus he had no right to go ahead and just blabber out what he had in front of them.

Riddhima stood up, a determination in her eyes to set things right. Even though she had cleared up things between Ryan and herself, she still couldn't keep her anger within herself when she thought of Armaan. If she had taken so much trouble to take care of his family, couldn't he have done the same. What would have a little sensitivity on his behalf cost him? First telling the kids, then not telling her that he had. It was something she had to talk to him about, and a lot of other stuff too.

As she walked back inside the house, searching for Armaan, she forgot to reckon, in all that retrospection, that she was doing exactly what she hated most about herself. Being impulsive.

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

Even though the bachelor's party had been set up for him, Armaan felt no delight or happiness sitting in the crowded club as his friends and cousins danced it out on the dance floor. It had been an idea enforced on him as soon as he had gotten home, from where he was smuggled into a room, made to dress up, and been dragged to a 'night-club' which had been the venue for the celebration of the last day of his 'bachelorhood'. Even though Rahul had intentionally mused that it was technically NOT the end of his bachelorhood, owing to the fact that he was already married, the guys had booed this fact and clambered into the car to have a fun night out. Now, as Armaan sat at the bar with a drink that had been forced into his hands by Atul, he thought of what he wouldn't give to be in a quiet place right now, to think about whatever had happened that day. Divya's confrontation had opened, if not his eyes, then surely activated his brain cells to go into hyper mode.


Did he love Riddhima? Every time he asked himself this question, the answer came back in positive, and he didn't know when his mind had refused to dwell in its prolonged dormant denial mode, and had actively participated in making him believe this fact too. Should i tell her? This answer, however, remained to be answered yet, and it was precisely what he was thinking about when a scantily clad girl literally clambered over his knees and started dancing before him, making moves that would have seemed seductive to any other guy at the moment. However, Armaan was so uninterested that when the girl tried to pull him to the dance-floor, he rudely told her to go away and pulled his hand away from hers in what was not a polite manner. Everyone noticed Armaan's foul mood, and mistook it as 'missing his wife' syndrome, yet the only one to realize that there was something seriously wrong was Rahul. He, however, left him to his own devices and thought it better not to probe. Armaan excused himself from the company of his friends and putting the drink back on the bar after draining it full, he started walking towards the restroom, feeling a little dizzy.

The corridor leading towards the washroom smelled disgustingly of vomit and alcohol, and Armaan stopped his breath as he walked a few steps down the corridor, and then took a U-turn to leave. This place was dingy and dark, and everything added to his foul mood did not let him enjoy one bit. Deciding to call it quits for now, he walked out of the bar, his head now pounding. He had barely caught a mouthful of fresh, cold air as he finally got out that he saw her standing before him. He rubbed his eyes, thinking he was hallucinating, of course it couldn't be her, here, right now...or could it be?

'Riddhima?"

****************************
kiran

No comments:

Post a Comment

dilmilgayearblog.blogspot.com