Thursday, 5 September 2019

Chapter 2 : Dangerous Desire (AR)

The Beginning of a New Journey

The Sun rose from the horizon, brighting up the entire city with its bright, warm rays.  The birds sang in their own melodious voices.  The traffic of Mumbai was still the same- humongous.  But even admist the heavy traffic, she was sleeping peacefully with a smile on her face, indicating that
she was dreaming.

She saw herself in a beautiful white gown, smiling dreamily at someone in front of her.  He slowly turned around.  She couldn't see his face, as he was at a distance, but she could clearly his eyes.
His beautiful ocean blue eyes.  They held great amount of intensity.  She wanted to see his face and what he looked like.

"Ridz!" She heard a voice, but decided to ignore it.  Right now, she just wanted to know who he was.

"Ridz!  Uth!" She heard the same voice again and was irritated.  Frowning to herself, she pulled the duvet over her head, trying to concentrate on her dream.  She suddenly felt the duvet being harshly pulled away from her and she sat up on the bed.



"Kya hain Muski?  Kyun subah, subah pareshaan kar rahi hain?  Sone de na!" She tried to get the
duvet, but Muskaan pulled it away.



"No ways madam!  Uncle ne bulaaya hain.  Jaldi chal warna aaj tere saath, saath mera bhi band baj jaayega!"

"Lekin itni subah, subah Dad mujhe kyun bula rahe hain?"


"Oye!  Tune kya mujhe koi antaryaami samajh kar rakha hain?  Mujhe kya pata hoga.  Ab chal warna main tujhe kheench kar le jaungi."

"Dad se keh main thodi der mein aa rahi hoon!" She annoyingly.  Muskaan left and she stretched her body to shake off the sleepiness.  She tied her hair with a hair tie and just sat there for a minute.  Her mind went back to the dream she had.

Kaun tha woh?  Aur mujhe usska chehra kyun nahin dikha?  Shayad woh hi tha.  Mera dream man.  Usski aankhein, sabse alag, sabse sundar.  Mann kar raha tha ki usski aankhon mein kho jaoon.  I hope main usse jaldi milloon.

Riddhima thought to herself and smiled.  She quickly went to the bathroom and took a quick shower.  She went to the kitchen, where everyone was already seated.

"Good morning everyone!" Riddhima said cheerfully and everyone smiled.

"Good morning beta." Shashank said happily.  Riddhima went and hugged him and Muskaan.  She went to the kitchen, but definitely not before grabbing Muskaan's toast.

"Oye!" Muskaan yelled and Riddhima just chuckled.  Going inside the kitchen, she saw Padma making their breakfast.

"Mama!" She hugged her from the back and Padma smiled at her daughters sweetness.

"Uth gayi?"

"Yup!  Ab jaldi se nashta do.  Bohat bhook lagi hain." She said spread her arms and Padma smiled.

"Yeh le."

"Thank you!" She pecked Padma's cheek and then left.  Padma shook her head.

Placing herself down on her seat, she started to munch on her breakfast.

"Dad.  Muski keh rahi thi ki aapko mujhse kuch baat karni hain."

"Haan beta.  Woh actually, tumhe pata hain, jahaan main kaam karta hoon, Mallik Empire, vahaan par mere boss, Armaan Mallik, unki secretary ne quit kar diya hain.  Aur, mujhe lagta hain, ki uss post ke liye tum fully capable ho.  So, what do you think?" Riddhima smiled at the decision.

"That's great Dad!  I'd love to work with him!  I mean, itne kam samay mein, ussne Mallik Empire ko kitne bade mukaam par pohanchaaya hain.  Usske saath kaam karke, mujhe bohat experience milega!" She said excitedly.  Shashank smiled widely.

"Great!" His smiled started to fade as he recalled something, "Lekin..."

"Kya hua Dad?  Koi problem hain?"

"Nahin.  Koi baat nahin hain.  Ab chalo.  Tum apna resume aur baaki certificates gather kar lo.  Main Mr. Atul aur Mr. Rahul se tumhaari baat karunga." Riddhima smiled widely and hugged him.

"Thanks Dad!  You're the best!  Love you!"

"Aur Muskaan.  Mr. Rahul ko bhi ek secretary ki zaroorat hain.  Why don't you apply, too?"

"Sure Uncle!  Tab toh aur bhi maza aayega!  Main aur Ridz ek hi jaga par kaam karenge!"

"I know!" They hi-fived each other and Padma soon brought their breakfast.  After finishing it, Riddhima and Muskaan rushed up to their room and started to gather everything, while Padma looked at a tensed Shashank.

"Kya hua?  Aap itne pareshaankyun ho?"

"Mujhe Riddhima ki fikar ho rahi hain."

"Kyun?"

"Tumhe toh pata hain na, ki Armaan Mallik kaisa aadmi hain?  Mujhe iss baat ka darr hain, ki kahin woh humaari Riddhu ko kuch na kar de."

"Aap fikar matt kijiye.  Humaari Riddhu bohat samajhdaar hain.  Woh kuch galat nahin hone degi.  Aur agar kuch bhi hua, toh humaari doosri beti hain na usska khayal rakhne ke liye.  Aap chinta matt kijiye.  Sab theek hoga." Shashank looked at her and nodded.

Upstairs, Riddhima and Muskaan were gathering their portfolio and organizing it.

"Yaar Muski, I'm sooo excited!  I mean, agar hum select ho gaye, toh we'll be working with the best company of India!  I just hope ki hum select ho jaaye."

"I know yaar.  Kitna maza aayega.  Lekin Ridz, maine sunna hain ki vahaan ka boss, Armaan, bada nakchada hain.  Chhoti, chhoti baton par gussa ho jaata hain.  Aur tujhe toh aise ladkon se badi chid hain.  Usska kya karogi?"

"Depends.  Agar mere saath panga lene ki koshish ki, toh main usski chutni bana dungi.  Waise, maine sunna hain ki Armaan ka bhai, kya naam tha usska?"


"Rahul Garewal."

"Haan, woh hi.  Woh bada accha ladka hain.  Usske saath toh teri bann jaayegi."

"Kya yaar?  Mood matt kharab kar!"

"Haan, chal.  Kaam par lag jaate hain."

In the office, Armaan, Atul, and Rahul were in Armaan's cabin going through some files.

"Armaan.  Woh Mr. Sharma waali file kahaan hain?" asked Rahul.

"Woh toh Sonya ke cabin mein hogi."

"Toh bulaao usse."

"Woh nahin aa sakti."

"Kyun?"

"Because I fired her."

"What?!"

"Haan."

"But why?"

"Those typical questions.  'When are we getting married?', 'When are you coming to talk to my parents?'" He said reading a file.


"Now, what will you do?"

"Find another secretary.  Bohat mill jaayegi."

"Lekin iss waqt itni qualified secretary milna bohat mushkil hain.  Hum already Rahul ke liye ek secretary dhoond rahe hain.  Koi bhi achhi nahin hain.  Aur ab tumhaare liye bhi ek dhoondni
padegi, and your expectations are really high.  That's hard!"

"Not my fault.  It's up to you to find one.  And let me know when you do."

"Fine.  Main Julie ko bol dunga.  Woh newspapers mein ad de degi." Rahul rolled his eyes.  The two left and went to Rahul's cabin.

Rahul called Julie and told her to print the ads in the newspaper.

"Kuch nahin hoga Armaan ka.  Woh nahin badlega." Said Rahul.


"Nahin Rahul.  Woh badlega.  Ussko badalna hoga.  Aur iss baar, hume Bhai ke liye ek aisi secretary dhoondni padegi, that doesn't throw herself at him."

"Lekin aisi kahaan milegi?"

Just then, they heard a knock on the door.


"Come in." The door opened the Shashank came in.


"Arre Mr. Gupta?  Aap yahaan kaise?  Do you need something?"


"Actually Sir, woh, aapko aur Amraan Sir ko ek secretary ki zaroorat hain na?" They nodded.

"Woh, main soch raha thi ki kya aap meri betiyon ko ek chance de sakte hain?  Woh dono iss job ke liye perfectly qualified hain." Atul and Rahul thought for a moment.


"Kya naam hain unka?"

"Riddhima Gupta aur Muskaan Chaddha."

"Muskaan Chaddha?  Lekin aap toh 'Gupta' ho na?" Rahul asked in confusion.

"Woh, Muskaan meri beti nahin hain, lekin meri beti se kam bhi nahin hain.  Woh humaare saath hi rehti hain."

"Oh.  Um... theek hain.  Aap ek kaam kijiye, unse kahiye ki kal 8 to 5 ke beech mein aa jaaye.  Hum sab ke saath, saath unka bhi interview le lenge." Shashank smiled and nodded.

"Thank you Sir!" They gave him a nod and he left.

"Kya lagta hain?  Yeh dono kaisi hogi?"

"I don't know.  Kal hi pata chalega."

The day passed by in no time.  Over 40 people had applied for the jobs.  Riddhima and Muskaan knew this and were really nervous.  They were running around the house, making sure they had gotten everything.

"Riddhu!  Muski!  Idhar aao!" Padma yelled from the kitchen and the two ran down.

"Kya hua Mama?"

"Yeh lo.  Kha lo." Padma forwarded the spoon.


"Yeh kya hain?" Muskaan asked making a face.

"Dahi-shakar hain.  Issko khane se sab achha hota hain."


"Toh phir lao!" Riddhima said excitedly.  She ate it and signaled Muskaan to eat it, too, who looked at her as if she was mad.  Reluctantly, she ate it and both rushed to the temple.  They folded their hands and closed their eyes.

"Hey Krishna.  Aaj job ka pehla interview hain.  Please sab achha kar dena."

"Humare interviewer humse khush ho jaaye aur woh achha bhi ho."

"Please, please, please, please, please!" They said the last bit together and bowed.

"Chal, nikalte hain.  Warna late ho gaye, toh Dad bohat daatenge." Both walked out of the house and were waiting for a rickshaw.

"Waise Ridz, tu kabse yeh dahi-vahi mein vishwaas karne lagi?"

"Arre yaar.  Vishwaas kaun karta hain?  Ussko khane mein na, mast maza aata hain.  It's soo tasty!" Riddhima said happily and Muskaan laughed.

"Ridz!  Tu na, original piece hain!  Tere jaisi iss duniya mein koi nahin hain!"

"I know!  Ab jaldi rickshaw dhoond.  Time par pohanchna hain ki nahin?"

"Haan.  Chal!" They soon found a rickshaw and went for the interview.

They were sitting in the lobby, waiting for their turns to come.  They saw girls going in the room with a happy, expectant face and coming out with a sad, sulking one.  They were getting scared as one by one, many people were getting rejected.


"Yaar Ridz.  Mujhe toh darr lag raha hain.  Dekh na, kitne saare log reject ho rahe hain.  Kya lagta hain?  Hum select honge?"

"Don't worry.  Sab theek hoga."

"I hope so."

Very soon, Riddhima's turn arrived and she looked at Muskaan.  She blinked assuringly at her.  Letting out a silent pray, she went inside the cabin.  She saw Atul and Rahul sitting on a chair behind a big mahogany desk which had files neatly organized beside a laptop.  The walls were
beautifully colored in pale blue.

Rahul and Atul were surprised to see a girl in pure, white churidaar with her curly hair neatly pinned back.

"Hello Sir." She greeted with a smile and they did the same.

"Please be seated." She sat down and took a deep breath.

"Riddhima Gupta.  Shashank Gupta's daughter, right?" She nodded and gave them her file.

As they examined it, they were really impressed.  She didn't have any work experience as she just finished her college about a month ago, but her degree, qualifications, work ethics, everything was
just perfect.  An idea popped into their brains.

"Hmm.  I must say I'm impressed Ms. Riddhima.  But you don't have any work experience.  How can I trust you to do your work well?" Riddhima pursed her lips and thought for a moment.

"I know ki mere paas koi work experience nahin hain.  But, everyone has a first time.
I'm sure ki main aapko kabhi bhi disappoint nahin karungi." Atul and Rahul looked at each other.


"Ok.  Let's test you.  Hum tumse kuch savaal karenge aur agar tumhare javaab se hum impress hue, then we'll think about it.  Done?" Riddhima nodded.

"Hmm.  Suppose tumhe ek bohat hi mushkil project diya gaya hain.  I mean, bohat muskil.  Aur tumhe woh ek bohat hi rude insaan ke saath kaam karna hain.  Toh tum kya karogi?" Atul asked and Riddhima thought for a moment.

"Sir, koi bhi kaam mushkil nahin hota.  Usse mushkil hum banate hain.  Agar hum man laga kar kaam karein, toh kuch bhi mushkil nahin hain.  Aur rahi baat kissi rude insaan ke saath kaam
karne ki, toh sabse pehle toh main unhe apna dost bana lungi.  After all, hum jinke saath kaam karte hain, unhe apna dost bana lena chahiye, warna kaam kabhi bhi theek se nahin hota." She said confidently.  Atul and Riddhima were really impressed by her.  They just knew that Riddhima was the one they were looking for.

"Kal subah 8:00." Said Rahul.  Riddhima looked at him confused.  They chuckled and said with a smile.

"You're hired as Armaan Mallik's secretary Ms. Riddhima." Riddhima was dumbfounded.  Had she heard right?  She was hired!  She was hired!  That was the only thing ringing in her mind.

"You... you mean... I..."

"Yes!  You can join from tomorrow." He got up and went to her and she stood up.

"Congratulations!  Welcome to Mallik Empire!" He shook his hands with her, while she just grinned.

"Thank you soo much Sir!"

"Uh-u.  Tum hume sir nahin, Atul aur Rahul keh kar bula sakti ho."

"Ok!"

"Now tell me something about yourself Riddhima."

"Main kya bolun?"

"Umm... apni hobbies bataao."

"Um... mujhe gaana gaana achha lagta hain, baccho ke saath khelna pasand hain, aur aur bhi bohat kuch hain.  Woh main phir kabhi bataaungi."

"Ok.  That's cool."

"Um... Rahul.  Woh, mere saath meri behen bhi aayi hain.  Kya tum usska interview le sakte ho?  Woh bohat nervous ho rahi hogi." Rahul smiled and nodded.  He called Julie and told her to send Muskaan in.

In about a minute or two, Muskaan entered the cabin and Rahul just couldn't take his eyes off of her.  Her golden, curly hair was flying in the air and her eyes spoke mischief.  He knew she was nervous as she was playing with her fingers.  She looked so cute!  She started to walk nervously and took a seat beside Riddhima.  Rahul came out of the trance and shifted his gaze.

Unknown to Rahul, Riddhima had seen his reaction on seeing Muskaan.  She knew he liked her, but decided to keep mum.

"Um, Ms. Muskaan, right?"

"Yes." He held his hand out and shook it with her.

"I'm Rahul, Rahul Garewal." He held out his hand, demanding for her file, which she gave him.


Both checked the file thoroughly and were impressed by her.  She definitely deserved the job.

"Impressive.  I guess we've found the right person.  Welcome to Malik Empire." Muskaan was shocked beyond words.

"Th-thank you soo much!"

"OMG Muski!" Riddhima and Muskaan got up and hugged each other.  Muskaan suddenly recalled that Riddhima also came for an interview for Armaan's secretary and broke apart from her.

"Ridz.  Tu bhi toh yahaan interview ke liye aayi thi.  Kya hua?"

"Well sweetie, guess what?  I've been selected!"

"OMG!" Muskaan pulled her into another ribcrashing hug. 

Rahul and Atul were highly amazed by their friendship.  After all, it wasn't everyday you get to see
such strong friendship in the 21st Century.

"Ok girls.  Ab chalo.  Hum tum dono ko office tour karva dete hain.  Just so that you 2 can become familiar with it." Both nodded and they left the cabin.

Atul and Rahul showed them the office.  Riddhima and Muskaan were highly impressed.  The people in the office were really nice and helpful.  They all had instantly liked the two, especially Riddhima.  They all gelled together really well.  The elders considered them as their daughters and the people around their age had instantly become friends with them.

As of now, they were in Armaan's cabin.  Riddhima was totally impressed by the interior.  It was tastefully done and made it feel like home.  The walls were painted creamy white and it had a big window from which you can see pretty much the entire city.  Right in front of it was a big coffee colored sofa with a small glass table placed in front of it.  The work desk was in front of the table,
which made the room look really elegant and spacious.  He had two separate rooms- the bedroom and gym.  The bedroom was small, but beautiful and cozy and the gym had all kinds of equipments.

Riddhima was really impressed with Armaan's choise.  She already loved the place.  Her cabin was attatched to his.  Her's was simple, but elegant.  Just the way she liked it.  Now she was really anxious to meet Armaan Mallik.

"Ok Riddhima.  Kuch cheezein hain jo main tumhe abhi se bata deta hoon.  Armaan roz aanth baje aa jaata hain.  Usske aane se pehle usse usska cabin saaf chahiye.  Warna woh bohat irritated ho jaata hain.  You know.  He's a bit OCD.  Jaise hi woh aata hain, usse usske poore din ka schedule bata dena.  And yes, woh aaye, usske pehle usski coffee usske table par rakh dena, cappochino with 2 spoons of sugar.  And one really important thing.  Usske bedroom mein kabhi matt jaana.  You may end up seeing something you don't want to.  Alright?" Raul told her her work and she nodded.  She made a mental note of everything.

"So let's go."

Very soon, they had toured the entire office.  They were told to bring their stuff very soon and join the next morning.  As the two were about to leave, Riddhima realized that she left her purse in the cabin and rushed to get it.

Reaching there, she saw per purse lying on the table and picked it up, sighing.


"Thank God mujhe mera purse mill gayya.  Warna Mama mujhe ek ghante ka lamba lecture deti.  Shoo!" She walked out of the cabin.

Walking in the long corridor, her dupatta got stuck in one of the doors.  She pulled the dupatta and a gush of breeze came, sending a weird feeling down her.  Brushing off the thought, she walked, trying to set her dupatta right, which was flying everywhere.  She suddenly tripped over something and she tightly closed her eyes, expecting to fall and break her bones, but instead, she felt a strong pair of hands holding her from the waist.

She slowly opened her eyes to see her savior, but couldn't.  Her dupatta had covered her face up to her eyes, while his face was completely hidden behind the soft fabric.  He was none other than
Armaan.

He was walking to his cabin, when he felt a strange feeling engulfing him.  He saw someone tripping and rushed to her before she hit the ground.  He wanted to see who she was, but her dupatta covered his face and the only thing he could see were her eyes.  Her big emerald green eyes.  He had never seen such beautiful, expressive eyes.

On the other hand, Riddhima was just lost.  She didn't know why she was losing herself.  The touch was different.  It something she had never felt before, but it felt really nice, perfect.

A sudden noise brought her back to the world.  She heard a faint voice of Muskaan calling her and she stood up.  She turned her face around, letting the fabric fall.  She quickly ran away from there as the dupatta slid down his face, bringing him back to his senses.

"Ridz, kahaan thi tu?  Purse lene mein itna time lagta hain?" Muskaan asked worriedly.

"Sorry yaar, woh main washroom gayyi thi."

"Oh, ok.  Ab chal." They went out of the office, though Riddhima was still thinking about that unknown guy and Armaan was thinking the same.

Kaun tha woh?

Kaun thi woh?

Was this meeting just a coincidence or...


Medha


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