Monday, 30 September 2019

Chapter 26 B : Dangerous Desire (AR)

Day 1- Celebrations (B)

Riddhima and the baccha party were now in the clubhouse, making preparations for their little event in the evening.  They had planned something they were sure the society members would love and enjoy.  They had almost spent a month planning everything and now, they were really excited for it.  The best thing was that this was a surprise for everyone as no one knew they had planned something.
"Shoo!  Decorations are done.  Everything is perfect.  Yash.  Have you called the caterers yet?"
"Oh no!  I completely forgot about that."
"What!  Yash, how could you forget about that!"
"Sorry Di.  But you don't worry.  I'll call them up now."
"Hurry up." Yash went to a corner to call the caterers while Riddhima checked everything else.  After about 5 minutes, he came back with a worried face.
"Riddhima Di." She looked at him and knew something was wrong.
"Yash.  What happened?"
"Di.  The caterers are refusing to come here."
"What!  How can they do that!  We payed them!"
"I know.  They're on strike right now.  They want their stupid salary to be raised."
"Oh my God!  This is a big problem.  I mean... there are about 50 people here.  We're gonna need food for all of them.  What are we gonna do now?"
"I don't know.  This is a big problem."

"So are we not gonna have this event now?"
"We worked so hard on this." Riddhima felt bad seeing the kids sad like that.
"No guys.  We will have the event.  I'll think of something.  Don't worry." The kids hugged her, knowing she was saying that only to make them feel better.  Riddhima was in a fix.  She promised the kids she'll think of something, but she wasn't sure of what she was supposed to do.
Riddhima entered her house and flopped herself down on the kitchen table.  She layed her head down and closed her eyes, trying to get a moment of peace.  She had no idea what she was supposed to do.  Her mind was completely blank.  Everything was going wrong.  She had no idea what she was supposed to do.
Kya karun?  Yeh toh bohat badi problem ho gayi hain?  Aaj raat ke event mein agar caterers nahin aaye toh bohat badi problem ho jaayegi.  Pachaas logon ka khana main akele nahin bana sakti.  Oh Lord help me.
Riddhima massaged her temples and sighed.  Just then Armaan entered the kitchen carefully.  He leaned sideways against the pillar, watching Riddhima carefully.  He was working on his laptop when he had seen Riddhima come in all sad.  He had been completely clueless so thought to just observe her for a while.  It was quite unusual to see THE Riddhima Gupta all sad.
"What's wrong with you?" Riddhima jumped in her seat hearing his voice.  That was quite unexpected.
"That's why you're looking all sad?" He said with sarcasm oozing from his words to which Riddhima just rolled her eyes.
"Just go.  I don't want to talk to anyone right now."
"And who are you to tell me what I'm supposed to do?" Riddhima glared at him for this while he just smirked.
"Fine!  Go to hell!" Riddhima stormed out of the kitchen and went to her little special place- a small temple that was under the stairs.  She carefully got in and sat down in front of God's idol.
"Hey Krishna.  Aaj toh bohat badi problem ho gayi hain.  Un caterers ne toh yahaan aane se hi inkaar kar diya hain.  They've gone on a strike.  Hum sab ne mil kar kitni mehnat se paise jama kar ke yeh event organize kiya, aur un caterers ka na aana humare liye bohat badi musibat ban gaya hain.  Saare bacche iss event ke liye kitne excited the.  Agar caterers ka jaldi bandobast nahin kiya, toh event cancel karna padega.  Aur maine toh unn sab ko vaada bhi kar diya hain ki main sab sambhaal lungi.  Lekin mujhe toh khud kuch samajh mein nahin aa raha.  Pachaas logon ka khana itne kam time mein itne kam samaan ke saath banaana impossible hain.  Ab main kya karun?  Krishna.  Ab toh tum hi meri help kar sakte ho.  Please kuch karo na.  Main unn saare bacchon ko aise udaas nahin dekh sakti.  Kuch karo.  Please." She closed her eyes and prayed, unaware that Armaan was listening to everything.
Armaan was just amazed at how much this girl cared for everyone.  She was sad.  Not because she lost her money, but because the kids are going to be sad because of this.  He was really touched by this.  Why couldn't everyone be like her?  He knew it was hard for Riddhima to arrange a caterer so quickly, but it was a cake walk for him.  He took out his phone and dialed a number.
"Rakesh.  Main bol raha hoon."
"Yes sir?  How can I help you?"
"Jald se jald ek caterer ka intezaam karo.  Ek event hain.  Kam se kam pachaas logon ka khana banaana hain.  Make it fast." Armaan never moved his eyes off Riddhima while talking.
"Okay sir.  Kis type ka khana banvaana hain?"
"Ek kaam karo.  Uss manager ko iss address pe bhijva do.  Event organizer usse baat kar legi." He told him the address and he jot it down.
"Okay Sir.  Event organizer ka naam kya hain?"
"Riddhima Gupta.  Aur ek baat ka khaas khayaal rakhna.  Usse pata nahin chalna chahiye ki un caterers ko maine bulaaya hain.  Warna tumhari naukri khatre mein pad jaayegi.  Samjhe?"
"Yes Sir." Armaan hung up and walked away after looking at Riddhima.
In about 30 minutes, Riddhima heard the bell ring and opened the door.  She was surprised to see a man in about his early 30's standing there.
"Yes?  Kisse milna hain aapko?"
"Ji mujhe Riddhima Gupta se milna hain."
"Ji kahiye.  Main hi hoon Riddhima Gupta."
"Oh.  Hello ma'am.  Woh actually humne suna hain ki aapko caterers ki zaroorat hain.  Aur jin logo ke saath aapne contract sign kiya tha, woh log toh strike pe utar gaye hain.  Toh humne soch ki kya aap hume catering ka kaam karne dengi?" Riddhima was utterly surprised.
"Haan... lekin aapko kaise pata chala?"
"Woh, kissi ne hume phone karke bataaya tha."
"Oh.  Um.. yeah sure.  Lekin aapke paise?"
"Don't worry about that.  Actually humare yahaan ek nahin naya offer chal raha hain.  Jo bhi iss time per humse catering karvaayega, usse humare original price, yaane 26,000 rupees mein se sirf 80% discount milega.  Yaane aapko sirf hume 5,200 rupees dena padega." Riddhima was more than happy here.
"Oh my God.  Really?"
"Yes ma'am."
"Umm... okay." She told him what she wanted in the menu and everything else.  Jotting all that down, the manager left and Riddhima was wearing one of her best smiles.  She jumped up and down like a kid and roamed around in circles.  She ran to the little temple and smiled widely.
"Wow Krishna!  Aapne toh meri wish itni jaldi puri kar di!  Thank you sooo much!  Ab na.  Prasad ke time pe main aapke bohat saara maakhan dungi.  Pakka promise!  Ab main jaldi se baccha party ko bol deti hoon.  Woh sab toh kitne khush ho jaayenge na!  Yes!" She quickly ran out of the house, too excited to tell them about this.
"Baccha party!  Jaldi baahar aao!"
"Kya hua Di?"
"Guys.  Caterers ka intezaam ho gaya hain!"
"YES!" They all started to dance wildly in happiness, while Armaan just stared at them from the balcony with a smile on his face.  He loved seeing that smile on her face.  He could die for that smile of hers.
Soon enough, it was time for the event.  The clubhouse was shining with lights all around.  The stage was filled with tricolor balloons and lights.  Everyone was impressed with all the decorations the Baccha Party had done.  They knew this was going to be one of the best evenings.
Armaan stood in a corner waiting for his friends to come so that he'd have someone to talk to and he saw them come in after a few minutes.  As soon as they spotted him, they walked to him and hugged him.
"Hey Armaan.  How are you?"
"I'm fine Rahul."
"How's your Mission Riddhima going?"
"She's a tough nut.  Aise nahin maanne waali."
"I know.  Ridz aisi hi hain.  Bohat bhau khaati hain." They chuckled at Muskaan's words.
"Well, best of luck Armaan." Armaan smiled at Niki.
"Lekin by the way, Riddhima hain kahaan?"
"Main yahaan hoon!" They turned around and saw Riddhima there, looking at beautiful as ever in that deep red anarkali suit.
It had a halter neck and blue sequins on the golden border, making her look completely stunning.  Armaan just couldn't take his eyes off her.  His eyes traced her figure, which made Riddhima blush.  She had dressed up especially for Armaan.  She didn't know why, but she wanted to look beautiful.  Just for him.  She realized how handsome he was looking in those dark denims and white shirt which had a black jacket over it.  She was pulled out of her thoughts hearing Atul's voice.
"Wow Ridz!  You're looking stunning yaar!"
"Thanks Atul.  Tum bhi kaafi handsome lag rahe ho." He turned red at the compliment and thanked her and Anjali giggled at it.  Riddhima remembered something and moved to Anjali.
"Waise Anji.  Tumne Atul ko kuch bola ya nahin?" She asked in a low, quiet voice and she blushed.
"Nahin.  I haven't told him anything yet."
"Ohhh... toh when's the confession coming?"
"Kya Ridzi.  Tum bhi pata nahin kya baatein le kar baeth gayi ho.  Just leave it yaar."
"Ohh... sharma rahi ho."
"Kya baatein chal rahi hain tum dono ke beech mein?" Armaan asked suspiciously.
"Kuch nahin Armaan.  Bas aise hi."
"Okay." He said understanding what was going on.
"By the way Riddhima.  Can I ask you a question?" Ranvir spoke up.
"Yeah sure."
"Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Huh?" Riddhima was taken aback at this sudden question.
"I asked do you have a boyfriend?"
"Um, no.  Why?" He walked beside her and stood close to her.
"My, my.  I'm just wondering how a gorgeous woman like you is not taken yet.  Waise... I'm single.  If you want, I'm always ready." He flirted openly with her while she just rolled her eyes at his comment but decided to play back.
"Hmm... not a bad idea.  Waise bhi, tumhare jaisa hot ladka aur kahaan milega?" She raised her brows.
"See.  Even Riddhima thinks I'm hot.  After all.  It's Ranvir Singh you're talking about.  The most wanted guy in India man." He flopped his collars and both broke out into fits of laughter.  In all this, there were two people who were not liking this conversation- Armaan and Anushka. .They really didn't like how Ranvir and Riddhima were flirting so openly.
Ranvir's eyes flickered to Anushka, who's eyes were throwing daggers at him.  He knew Anushka was jealous and that was the very reason he was flirting with Riddhima.  He wanted to make her realize that she felt something for him, not Armaan.  Anushka looked away and crossed her arms across her chest.
Riddhima looked at Armaan and saw him glaring at her.  There was fire in his eyes, which was scaring her.  He looked like he was going to kill someone.  She could see his eyes turning red in anger, obviously, and she felt goosebumps forming on her skin.  She wanted to hide herself from his gaze and moved slightly behind Ranvir, trying to cover herself from his gaze, but didn't realize that it was angering him even more.
"Guys.  Ab hum sab yahin par khade rahenge kya?  Let's go sit!" Rahul said, noticing the tension in the air.  Obviously, he'd seen the murderous stares Anushka and Armaan were giving to Riddhima and Ranvir.
"Haan, chalo." All of them were about to leave when suddenly Riddhima's phone rang.  Armaan looked at her flushed face and was confused.
"Kya hua Riddhima?  Kiska phone hain?" He voiced his thoughts.
"Woh hi.  Salesmen."
"Oh." Riddhima suddenly heard someone calling her and she yelled a quick coming to them.
"Muski.  Zara mera phone sambhaal na.  Warna main kho dungi."
"Theek hain." She left after handing her the phone, leaving a confused Armaan behind.  Putting his questions aside, they went and sat with the others.
While they were sitting there, suddenly Riddhima's phone started to ring again.  Armaan, who was sitting right beside Muskaan, heard this and saw a scared Muskaan looking at the phone.  Making sure no one was looking, she started to leave when Armaan stopped her.
"Muskaan.  Kya hua?"
"Kuch nahin.  Woh... Ridz ko usska phone dene jaa rahi thi."
"Lao, main de deta hoon." He offered but Muskaan stepped back immediately.
"Nahin.  It's okay.  Main de dungi."
"Muskaan main abhi vahin jaa raha hoon.  I can give it to her." Before Muskaan could protest this time, Armaan just took the phone and left.
Stopping at an almost empty corner, he looked at the phone and saw the name 'Samrat' on the caller-ID.  Who was this guy that was scaring both Riddhima and Muskaan?  He couldn't stop his curiosity and answered the call, but before he could say anything, the guy just started to talk.
"Rihanna!  Where the f*** are you woman!  I've been trying your number for hours but you're not even answering it!  Height of ignorance!  Now I'm warning you Rihanna.  If you don't come to my birthday party tomorrow night, Ima be really mad at you!" Armaan was confused.  Rihanna?  Who was she?  This was Riddhima's phone right?
"I think this is a wrong number."
"Who's this?"
"Armaan Mallik."
"Wait.  Who's phone is this?"
"This is Riddhima Gupta's phone and I'm her boss." As soon as he said this, he heard some voices coming from the background.
"Oh shit!  Armaan Mallik?!  Dude!  Cut the call now!  If Rihanna finds out she'll murder all of us!"
"I'm sorry.  I guess this is a wrong number." Before Armaan could ask anything, Samrat hung up and Armaan heard Riddhima yell his name.
"Armaan!" He turned around and saw an angry Riddhima standing there.  She marched up to him and snatched her phone out of his hand.
"What the hell do you think you're doing answering my phone like that?"
"This guy was calling constantly.  Plus he was asking for some Rihanna.  It was a wrong number." He saw Riddhima's expressions change to scared and then back to angry ones.
"So?  I don't care if this was for some totally random person.  This is my phone and no one other than me answers it.  Okay?" Saying this, Riddhima walked away.  Armaan was confused even more.  Why was this Samrat guy calling on Riddhima's phone for some Rihanna girl?  Plus Riddhima had his number saved so this obviously wasn't a wrong number.  But... Rihanna?

Riddhima walked to another corner and called someone.
"Samrat.  What si this?"
"I'm sorry yaar.  Mujhe nahin pata tha ki Armaan phone uthaayega."
"Toh pehle check karna chahiye tha ki phone kiske paas hain.  Do you even realize how bad this could've turned out?"
"I'm very sorry.  This won't happen again.  I swear."
"It's okay.  Lekin aayinda khayaal rakhna." She hung up and left after making sure no one was there.
In a while, when everyone was gathered at the clubhouse, Riddhima decided it's time for the event.
"Good evening, namaste, satsriaakal.  Jaise ki aap sab ko pata hain, aaj Independence Day hain.  Humaara swatantrata divas.  Aur iss din ke liye, aap sab ki pyaari aur laadli Baccha Party ne aap sab ke liye.  Ji haan, sirf aap sab ke liye yeh special event rakha hain.  Aur mujhe pata hain.  Aap sab ko yeh sab bohat pasand aayega.  Aur pasand kyun nahin aayega?  Riddhima Gupta ne jo rakha hain.  Haina?" She said enthusiastically and everyone giggled at her excitement.
"Hmm... so aaj hum sab yahaan par perform karne waale hain.  Humne mil kar pairs banaayi hain jiss mein sab perform karenge.  Now let's see.  Pehla couple kaunsa hoga.  Mini!" She called out for Mini and she came out with a jar in her hands which contained a few chits.
"Aah.  So iss mein saare couples ke naam hain.  Hum ek ek kar ke saare chits nikaalenge aur sab yahaan aa kar perform karenge.  Inn chits par couples ke naam ke saath saath ek gaana bhi likha hain.  Now let's see... ab sabse pehla naam kaunsa hain." She pulled out a chit from the jar and read it.
"Hmm... aa performance joi ne Surendra Kaka ne Kamla Kaki bau khush thahe. (Surendra Kaha and Kamla Kaki are gonna be really happy seeing this performance)  So let's call Atul and Anjali!" They all clapped and Riddhima and Mini left the stage.
They came on the stage and performed brilliantly on Gunji Angana Mein Shehnaayi.  One by one, all the couples came and danced on their songs.  Rahul and Muskaan danced on a Marathi song, Abhi and Niki danced on a South Indian one and there were others from the society who performed on various kinds of songs.  Soon it was time for a little break and also Riddhima's performance.  They were on the backstage, waiting for Riddhima's partner, Sameer to come.
"Yaar... yeh Sameer kahaan reh gaya?  Abhi tak aaya kyun nahin?"
"Ridz.  Usse phone karke dekh na."
"Haan." She took out her phone and called Sameer.
"Sameer!  Where are you yaar?  The next performance is ours!"
"I'm so sorry Riddhima, but I can't come today.  I have a very important case in hand right now.  Please try and understand yaar."
"What!  Lekin Sameer main-" She began but was cut off by him.
"Please Riddhima.  Forgive me this time yaar.  Listen I gotta go.  I'll talk to you later.  Bye." He hung up and Riddhima cursed him.
"Kya hua Riddhima?  What did he say?"
"He's not coming."
"But why?"
"He has a case in his hands now.  He can't come."
"Oh no!  Toh phir tumhari performance kaise hogi?  You can't perform without someone!"
"But who's gonna be my partner?" They all thought.  Who could be the perfect partner for Riddhima.  Just then, Ranvir came up with a perfect idea and smirked inwardly.
"Armaan!  Tum Riddhima ke partner kyun nahin ban jaate?  Waise bhi Riddhima Punjabi song pe dance karne waali hain and tumhe yeh danced bohat achhe se aata hain." Armaan gave Ranvir a murderous glare for saying this aloud.  He glanced at Riddhima who was looking back at him with hopeful eyes.
"No.  Main koi dance nahin karne waala."
"Armaan, please.  Ab tum hi meri help kar sakte ho.  Please.  Ab tum hi meri help kar sakte ho." Armaan looked at her.  She had lots of hope in her eyes, he could see.  He didn't have the heart to say no to her.
"Okay fine.  I'll become your partner." He saw her lips stretching into a beautiful sunshine smile.  He felt his heart warming up at her smile.
"Thank you so much Armaan!" In her excitement, she hugged Armaan tight from his waist, whereas he was taken aback.  He wanted to hug her so bad, but controlled himself as the others were standing there.  Riddhima pulled apart with a wide smile and looked at him.
"Thanks.  Yash, Armaan ko usske kapde de do.  Okay?"
"Ji Didi." Yash took Armaan and the girls left to let Riddhima change.
In a while, Mini came on the stage with the mike in her hand.
"Hello everyone.  Ab baari hain humaari sabse pyaari Riddhima Didi ki!" The curtains opened and they saw a typical Punjab setting.

A few girls entered with a smile and did some work, like grinding the chillies and drying the clothes.
Jhappiyon sa desh hain mera
Oh soniya
Jhappiyon sa desh hain mera
Riddhima entered the stage in a blue salwar kameez and happily mingled with the others.

Jhappiyon sa desh hain mera
Oh soniya ve
Jhappiyon sa desh hain mera

Tu dur kitna jaaye
Yeh paas utna aaye
Kab dill tera le jaaye yahaan pe

Ishq hi hain rab aur khuda soniya
Yahaan pe
Ishq hi hain rab aur jahaan soniya

The next moment, Armaan came in wearing Punjabi clothes with stacks of hay in his hands and threw them down.  Riddhima goes up to him but he just ignores her and kept doing his work.

Dill mein rehte hain gharon ko kisne puchha ji
                                           Keh daala jo yaar kabhi na puchha duja ji...     
Hoo... Dill mein rehte hain gharon ko kisne puchha ji
Keh daala jo yaar kabhi na puchha duja ji...

Raahein sabhi mud jaaye
Toote bhi dill jud jaaye
Kab dill tera le jaaye yahaan pe

Ishq hi hain rab aur khuda soniya
Yahaan pe
Ishq hi hain rab aur jahaan soniya

Tu dur kitna jaaye
Yeh paas utna aaye
 Kab dill tera le jaaye yahaan pe

Ishq hi hain rab aur khuda soniya
Yahaan pe
Ishq hi hain rab aur jahaan soniya
As they danced together, Riddhima's foot slipped, but before she could fall, Armaan caught her.  Like Armaan had predicted, she shut her eyes tight and clutched his shirt in her small fists.  Armaan slowly brought her up and she opened her eyes, as if in a trance.  They shared a small, but beautiful eyelock.

Jaane anjaane dillon ko phirse chute hain
Apne begaane jo milte yaar hi kehte hain
Jaane anjaane dillon ko phirse chute hain
Apne begaane jo milte yaar hi kehte hain
Armaan moved back and sat down.  He hi-fived the boys in the back and moved to her.

Rishte yeh rab ne banaaye
Tu lakh khud ko bacchaaye
Kab dill tera le jaaye yahaan pe

Ishq hi hain rab aur khuda soniya
Yahaan pe
Ishq hi hain rab aur jahaan soniya

Jhappiyon sa desh hain mera
Oh soniya
Jhappiyon sa desh hain mera
Jhappiyon sa desh hain mera
Oh soniya ve
Jhappiyon sa desh hain mera

Tu dur kitna jaaye
Yeh paas utna aaye
 Kab dill tera le jaaye yahaan pe

Ishq hi hain rab aur khuda soniya
Yahaan pe
Ishq hi hain rab aur jahaan soniya...
Everyone danced to the fullest, especially Armaan.  Riddhima was even more happy to see this side of Armaan.  Never on Earth had she thought Armaan's gonna dance like that.  That smile on his face was genuine, not a fake one.  She liked this side of him better.  Even the audience was enjoying this performance.  They were so happy that even they joined the stage and danced with them.  Even before they knew, the evening passed by with more fun and entertainment.  This evening truly turned out to be the best for them.
The next day, Armaan woke up due to the bright light shining on him.  He obviously had been hell tired after last night.  Though he had to agree on one thing.  Riddhima had made the evening truly special for everyone.  He couldn't remember the last time he had danced so freely and had smiled without any hint of fakeness.  Smiling lightly to himself, he made his way out of the bed and went to take a shower.
As he walked down the stairs, he heard some noise coming from the kitchen.  He knew it was Riddhima talking, but the way she talking made him suspicious.  He slowly and carefully walked down, without making any noises.
"Samrat maine tumse kitni baar kaha hain.  Mere landline par phone matt kiya karo!" Riddhima spoke into the phone angrily.  Samrat?  Wasn't he the same guy that had called for some Rihanna chick last night?  He became curious and went closer.
"Tum humesha aisa karte ho.  Pehle galti karte ho aur phir maafi maangte ho.  Samrat agar mere ya Muski ke alaava kisi aur ne phone utha liya hota toh?  Mere secret ke baare mein sab ko pata chal jaayega.  And I can't let that happen!" Armaan was even more confused now.  How many secrets can a normal human being have!
"Okay fine.  Main aa jaaungi.  Bas mujhe time and place bata do."
"Okay... shaam ke saath baje, Red Lakes Club.  Done.  Main Muski ke saath aa jaungi.  But you better not call or else I'll never talk to you in my life!"
"Hmm.. theek hain.  Bye." Riddhima hung up and resumed her work in the kitchen, whereas Armaan was just shocked.  Red Lakes Club?  That was one of the most popular discotheques in Mumbai!  But what was she gonna do there?  And this Samrat... who was he?  All he knew was that he had to go to that club at night.  Now he just waited for it to be 7:00.



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