Friday, 6 September 2019

Chapter 3 : Dangerous Desire (AR)

The Stranger

Gupta House was dancing with happiness.  They all were very happy as both Riddhima and Muskaan had gotten the job.  When they came back, Shashank and Padma's first question was whether they got the job or not.  Both had acted as if they didn't get the job, but later, they both told them that they got it.  They were mad at first, but forgave them and were very happy for both of them.

"Achha Riddhu, Muski.  Tumhara interviewer toh achha tha na?" Padma asked.  All were seated at the dining table and were eating their lunch.

"Achha?  Woh toh BOHAT achha tha!  He's very friendly and nice." Padma and Shashank smiled at this.

"Aur Aunty.  Aapko pata hain, woh office toh kitna bada hain, aur aalishaan bhi.  Interior, furniture, everything is just the best!  Mujhe toh already uss jaga se pyaar ho gaya hain." They all chuckled at what she said.


"Oye Ridz, chal.  Ab hume toh saara saamaan bhi lena hain na?" She reminded her.

"Oh yea.  Chal!" They rushed upstairs and started to pack their necessary materials.

While packing, Riddhima's mind kept drifting off to her encounter with the stranger.  She still couldn't understand what she felt and why she felt that way.  She hadn't seen his face, but it felt as if she belonged there.  But why?

Ussne jab mujhe girne se bacchaaya, toh mujhe aisa laga jaise... jaise woh mujhe humesha bacchaayega.  Lekin, main ek stranger ke bare mein itna kyun soch rahi hoon?  I know ki ussne mujhe bacchaaya, lekin hain toh woh ek ajnabi hi na.  Why am I thinking so much about him?  But, even after being a complete stranger, why did I feel so secure in him arms?  It felt so right... so nice.  Kyun?

On the other hand, Muskaan was thinking about Rahul.  She had started to like him and knew it very well.

Yeh mujhe kya ho raha hain yaar?  Rahul ke baare mein main itna kyun soch rahi hoon?  Haan, woh mujhe accha lagta hain.  I like him.  Lekin... woh mere dimaag se jaa kyun nahin raha?  Jabse usse dekha hain, bas ussi ke baare mein soch rahi hoon.  Usski woh jheel si neeli aankhein, gorgeous smile, friendly nature... everything's just pulling me towards him.  Kya ho raha hain mujhe?  Maybe I'm just getting attracted to him.  Shayad main bohat zyaada soch rahi hoon.

She looked at Riddhima and saw her deep in thought.

"Oye Ridz.  Tu kya soch rahi hain?"

"K-kuch nahin." She came out of her thoughts and looked at her.

"Jhoothi!  Sach bol.  Kya soch rahi thi?"

"Woh, actually Muski.  Tumhe yaad hain jab main aaj office mein apna purse lene gayi thi?" Muskaan nodded.  "Toh cabin se nikalne ke baad main girne waali thi, aur achaanak se kisse ne aake mujhe baccha liya.  Mujhe yeh nahin pata ki woh kaun tha, lekin jabse hum waapas aaye hain, mere dimaag mein sirf ussi ka khayal chal raha hain.  Pata nahin kyun Muski.  Lekin jab ussne mujhe bacchaaya, I felt different... secure... nice.  Aisa kyun ho raha hain?"  Riddhima put her confusion forth and Muskaan just gawked at her.  Not getting any response from her, she looked at her and saw her gaping at her.  She snapped her fingers in front of her eyes.  "Kya hua?  Aise kya dekh rahi hain?"

"Ridz.  Teri kahaani toh filmy type hain yaar."

"Matlab?"

"Arre yaar!  Tu filme nahin dekhti kya?"  She gets up and paces the room while imagining the perfect scene.  "Jab hero, heroine milne waale hote hain, toh tez havaaien chalne lagti hain.  Heroine ka dupatta udne lagta hain.  Heroine achaanak se girne lagti hain, lekin hero aake usse baccha leta hain.  Dono ek doosre ki aankhon mein kho jaate hain.  Heroine ko hosh aata hain, aur phir woh vahaan se bhaag jaati hain."  She sits back down and impatiently asks her.  "Tu bata.  Tere saath bhi kuch aisa hua tha kya?" Riddhima purses her lips and nods. "Oh my God!  Arre duffer!  Woh pakka tera woh hero hoga!" Riddhima looks at her as if she's mad.

"Tu pagal ho gayi hain kya?"

"What?"

"Muski.  Yeh sab na, filmo mein hota hain.  Real life mein nahin." Muskaan just gaped at her.  She checked her foreheard and cheeks to see whether she had fever or not.

"Kya kar rahi hain?  Pagal ho gayi hain kya?"

"Ridz.  Are you sure yeh tu hi hain?" Riddhima cocked an eyebrow at her.  "I mean, tu kab se maanne lagi ke aise incidents real life mein nahin hote?  I mean, as far as I know, isn't it you that always believes that her prince charming will come and sweep her off her feet.  What's gotten into you?"

"Arre yaar, lekin yeh different.  I mean it's not like ki sab kuch itna filmy hoga.  Like, it should be normal.  Itna dramatic nahin."

"Ok baba, whatever you say." Riddhima smiled and both went back to packing.

On the other hand, Armaan was sitting in his cabin, rolling a marble on the table.  His mind was occupied by that green-eyed girl.

Kaun thi woh ladki?  Aur woh yahaan, office mein kya kar rahi thi?  As far as I know, yahaan par koi bhi ladki churidaar nahin pehenti.  Then who was she?  Aur woh, iss floor par kya kar rahi thi?  Yahaan par toh sirf main, Atul, Rahul, aur humaari secretary's hoti hain.  Anjali leave par hain aur meri aur Rahul ki toh koi secretary hi nahin hain.  Toh phir woh-

His trail of thoughts were interrupted when he heard the door open and close.  He looked up and saw Atul and Rahul coming in with a big smile on their faces.

"Hey Bhai!  What's up?"

"Kya baat hain Champ?  Aaj bada khush lag raha hain?"

"Of course Bhai!  After all, hume tumhare liye and Rahul ke liye ek bohat achhi secretary mill gayyi hain."

"Itni jaldi?"

"Yup.  And guess what, both are extremely qualified!  They're just too good!"

"Yea, yea.  Who are they?"

"Tumhari waali ka naam Riddhima Gupta hain and meri waali ka Muskaan Chadda.  And yes, Riddhima, Mr. Gupta ki beti hain."

"Riddhima... itna old aur lamba naam?  God!  Couldn't it be any simpler."

"Come on dude.  Just a name!  Don't make a big issue out of it!  She was well qualified and deserving, so we gave her the job."

"You know what Bhai?  Riddhima bohat pyaari ladki hain.  She's really sweet and nice.  Ek hi din mein sab ka dill jeet liya hain.  I'm telling you bro, she's really charismatic."

"Yea right.  Sab naatak hain.  I'm sure she's also one of those gold-diggers.  But oh well.  I guess I have compary." Armaan said working on his laptop.

"Don't you dare Bhai!  Don't even think about it!  Ridz aisi ladki nahin hain, so it'll be better if you don't compare her with those little w****s!" Atul blasted on Armaan, shocking both him and Rahul.  He looked at Rahul who shrugged his shoulders.  Atul just shook his head and went out of the cabin angrily.

"What the hell is wrong with Champ?  Yeh itna bhadak kyun raha hain?"

"Kyunki tumne baat hi aisi ki hain.  Armaan, Ridz unn ladkiyon jaisi nahin hain jo apne fayede ke liye kissi bhi hadh tak gir jaaye.  She's not one of those that'll go and sleep around with people.  Woh sach mein bohat achhi ladki hain.  Aur, woh kal se join kar rahi hain.  If possible, please be nice to her." Saying this, he left the room leaving Armaan deep in thought.

Aakhir iss Riddhima mein aisa kya hain, ki Rahul aur Atul mill kar usski itni taareef kar rahe hain?  I guess this Riddhima is very cunning.  Isse toh milna hi padega.

Soon the green-eyed girl went away from his mind and he started to concentrate on his work.

                                                           ********

Atul entered his cabin and sat down angrily.  He was really angry because Armaan had compared Riddhima to those prostitutes.  He heard a knock on the door and told them to come in.  The door opened and Anjali came in.  She was surprised to see Atul in such a bad mood.

"Kya hua Atul?  Tum itne gusse mein kyun lag rahe ho?"

"Bhai."

"Kya kiya ussne?"

"Usse lagta hain Ridz bhi unn doosri ladkiyon jaisi hain.  Gold diggers.  Aur tumhe toh pata hain na, Ridz aisi nahin hain.  Woh actual mein bohat achhi hain.  Mujhe gussa aaya, aur maine usse sunna diya."

"Tumhe aisa nahin karna chahiye tha Atul.  Armaan ko aaj tak aisi hi ladkiyaan milti aayi hain.  So it's obvious ki woh saari ladkiyon ko ek jaisa hi samjhega na."

"You're right Anjali, lekin yeh galat hain.  Bhai ko apni soch badalni hogi.  He needs to realize ki woh jo kar raha hain woh galat hain."

"I know Atul.  Lekin usse time lagega.  Aur dekhna.  Jab Armaan, Ridz se milega, I'm sure usski soch badal jaayegi."

"I hope so Anjali.  I hope so."

                                                      ********

Riddhima was very happy.  She had sent her belongings to the office and was grinning crazily.

"Mama!  Main baahaar jaa rahi hoon!" She ran down the stairs and out of the house before Padma could catch her.

Since she lived in a really big society, more than 20 people were living there and they all loved her a lot.  She was the heart of the people living there.

Coming to the gate, she saw the kids' gang playing cricket.  Smiling widely, she went and greeted them.

"Hey Baccha Party!" They looked at her.

"Riddhima Didi!" They all hugged her and kissed her cheeks and she did the same.

"Didi.  Aap bhi kheliye na." Mitthi said.

"Haan.  Yeh boys na, bohat bhau kha rahe hain."

"Achha?" The girls nodded and she gave the boys a challenging look.

"Chalo.  Main bhi khelti hoon tum logo ke saath.  Aur boys.  Tum logo ko toh main abhi hara kar dikhati hoon.  And yes.  Batting main karungi." Riddhima took the bat from Suraj and tied her dupatta together.  The boys looked at each other.

"Aaj toh humari shyaamat aane waali hain."

"Hmm."

Taking her position, she waited for Rohan to throw the ball.  When he did, she hit the ball so high, that you couldn't see it and the next thing you know, it was a six.  Riddhima kept making four's and sixes, which made the team win.  She saw a sweet stall there and she grinned.  Ruffling their hair, she went to the stall and buyed a few boxes of sweets and fed a little to the kids.  Then, she went to the house beside hers and her eyes popped out of her sockets seeing the sight in front of her.

An old couple was sitting on the swing, getting romantic with each other.  The man was saying things to her while she was blushing.  Smirking to herself, she quickly hid behind a wall.

"Aye Kamla.  Tumhe pata hain tum kitni khubsoorat ho?  Mann toh kar raha hain ki tumhe chum lun." He spoke in his Gujarati accent and she blushed even more and then suddenly looked at him.

"Rava deo, rava deo.  Aap toh ab mujhse pyaar bhi nahin karte." She turned her face away from him.

"Arre!  Tum toh meri jaan ho.  Maine tumse pyaar kaise nahin kar sakta hoon?"

"Jao jao.  Apni umar ka toh lihaaz karo."

"Umar ka kya hain?  Hum toh abhi bhi javaan hain jaan-e-man."

"Wow Kaka!  Shu dialogue chhe!  Un toh tumaari fan thay gai! (What a dialogue!  I've become your fan now!)" The couple was completely embarrassed and Riddhima chuckled seeing their flushed faces and went inside.

"Yeh sab chodiye aur yeh laddoo khaiye."

"Yeh kyun?"

"Arre Kaki.  Meri na, Mallik Empire mein naukri lag gayi hain.  Iss liye aap laddoo khaiye!" They ate it and she left after taking their blessings.   

Laughing to herself, she saw another old lady through the window, sitting in front of the mirror, blushing to herself.  She carefully walked closer and whistled loudly.

"Kya baat hain Daadi?  Aaj bada sharma rahi ho?  Apne 'unn' ka intezaar kar rahi ho kya?" She laughed loudly as the woman turned completely red.  She offered her some sweets, too, which she took happily.

While going to the next lane, she greeted everyone she knew.  As she entered the next lane, she saw another old couple on the front porch, where the woman was serving him his breakfast and he was reading the newspaper.

"Dadu, Dadi!" They looked at her and smiled widely.  Riddhima sat beside Dadu and took her blessings.

"Waah Dadi.  Kya baat hain.  Aaj badi sexy lag rahi ho."

"Dhatt!  Bohat natkhat ho gayi hain tu!  Tujhe toh na, bohat maar padegi." She stepped forward to hit her, but she just chuckled and held her ears.

"Sorry Dadi.  Main toh mazaak kar rahi thi.  Lekin ek baat sachi hain haan.  Dadu, na, boaht handsome lag rahe hain."

"I know sweetheart.  Main toh humesha hi handsome dikhta hoon." He pulled his collar up, while Riddhima and Dadi laughed.  They talked for a while and she left after feeding them the sweets.

She saw a young couple romancing and whistled.

"Lage raho!" She to them placed a laddoo in their already open mouths and ran away.

Soon, she had visited the entire society and was heading to her house when her eyes fell on the road and widened in horror.

One of the kids she was playing with earlier was standing in the middle of the road, trying to get the ball that had flew over.  The box fell from her hand as she saw a black car heading towards him.

"ROHAT!" She screamed and ran towards him.  Rohan, who had found the ball, turned with a smile on his face, but went numb seeing the car heading towards him.

She reached him and pushed him to the safer side and looked at the car that was still moving towards her with a wide, horrified eyes.  Even before she knew, the car hit her and she fell to the ground with a thud.

                                                             ********

Medha

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