Saturday, 12 October 2019

Chapter 38 : Dangerous Desire (AR)

A Change

Armaan fluttered his eyes open and looked at the ceiling and sat up on the bed but immediately held his head feeling his head pounding. Why was his paining so much?  His eyes fell on his attire and he was surprised.  A few blurry flashes of the previous night played in his mind but he didn't remember what all those were about.  What happened last night?  He was trying to remember the events from last night when he saw a glass tray come suddenly in front if his eyes.  He looked up and saw Riddhima standing beside him with the tray in her hands. 

"Yeh kya hain?" he asked suspiciously.

"Nimbo paani.  Hangover ke liye best solution hain."

"Hangover?" he exclaimed.  Then the reason for the harsh pain in his head dawned on him.  He had been highly drunk last night!  But what happened?  Did he say anything to her last night?  Did they do something?  No.  He was fully clothed so there was no way something had happened.  He just prayed nothing major happened in his drunken state.

"Haan.  Hangover.  Tumne kal raat ko bohat sharaab pee li thi.  Iss liye yeh laayi hoon.  Ab lo.  Pee lo." Armaan looked at her and then at the glass and looked away.



"Mujhe nahin peena." Riddhima, who stood there firm and tall, wasn't surprised at all.  She had expected Armaan to throw a tantrum.

"Armaan.  Pee lo." Armaan glared at her and said in a final tone.

"Maine kaha na mujhe nahin peena.  Main abhi nahaane jaa raha hoon.  Thodi daer mein hangover utar jaayega." Saying this, Armaan got off the bed and walked to the bathroom for a shower.  Riddhima knew this was going to be a task. 

"Hmmm... mujhe pata tha tum aisa hi kuch kahoge.  Lekin don't worry Armaan.  Main bhi Riddhima Armaan Mallik hoon.  Issko toh tumhe peena hi padega.  Aise nahin, toh waise." Saying this she sat down on the couch and started reading a magazine. 

On the other hand, Armaan stood there in the shower with his hands against the tile wall.  He closed his eyes and raised his head as the hot, steamy water trailed down his chiseled chest and down his body.  He kept thinking about the events from last night.  He remembered gulping down 5 drinks, walking around crazily on the beach, his brothers coming and talking to him, them leaving and then him gulping some more drinks down.  But what happened after that?  How did he come back home?  And why was Riddhima being so nice to him?  If it was any other day, she would've left him in pain but she cared today.  She honestly cared.  But what's up with the sudden change?  With these thoughts playing in his mind, he quickly showered and wore his clothes.  As soon as he opened the door, he saw Riddhima standing in front of him with the glass in front of him with a straight face. 

"Nimbo paani.  Pee lo." She said firmly and he just shook his head disapprovingly and walked past her. 

Kya ladka hain.  Main isski help karne ki koshish kar rahi hoon, aur yeh moron hain ki mujhe attitude dikha raha hain?!  Issko toh baad mein sabak sikhaungi.  Abhi isski health zyaada important hain.  Uss ke baad jam kar isski pitaayi karungi.  Kameena.

She thought to herself and calmed herself.  Turning around, she saw him spraying cologne on himself and walked up to him and stood right behind him.  He turned around and saw her and he moved away, glaring at her.  This girl was really testing his patience now.  He sat down on the couch and started tying his shoes while she came and stood in front of him again.  This made him really mad and he got up immediately and yelled at her.

"Kya hain Riddhima?" Riddhima was taken aback by his sudden outburst but remained firm.

"Yeh pee lo.  Tumhara sir bohat dard kar raha hain." The next second he grabbed her arm and pulled her very close.  She looked at her arm and at him.  She wasn't surprised by his reaction because she knew she made him really angry but she didn't care. 

"Maine kaha na mujhe nahin peena!  Kyun itni zid kar rahi ho tum, haan?  Yeh jhoothi concern dikhaana band karo!  I don't need it!" He yelled at her.

"Jhoothi hi sahi Armaan.  Lekin I care.  Main nahin chahti ki jaise hi main neeche jaun, sab mujhse isske baare mein puchhe.  So it'll be better for you and me if you drink this!  Warna mujhe bhi tumhare peechhe bhaagne ko koi shauq nahin hain!  Ab chup chaap issko pee lo.  Warna sab ke questions answer karna!" She said angrily while he took a moment to register whatever she said.  She did have a point in whatever she said.  He was an idiot, thinking she actually cared.  Obviously it was just fake concern.  What he didn't know was that every word she said was a lie.  She was doing this because she did care.  It did matter to her if he was in pain, but she also knew he wouldn't understand it.  She knew he was really insecure about their relationship and she didn't want to bring any kind of change so suddenly.  She wanted to take it slow and steady.  "Kya soch rahe ho Armaan?  Are you drinking this or you want me to kyunki mujhe nimbo paani bohat pasand hain." She asked just to confirm though she knew his answer, which was a yes. 

"Hmm." He left her hand and took the glass.  He finished it in seconds and then handed it back to her. 

"Yeh lo.  Ho gaya?  Ab main jaa sakta hoon?"  he asked with sarcasm dripping from his words. 

"Arre.  Mujhe nahin pata tha tumhe meri permission ki zaroorat hain.  But no problem.  I don't mind.  Tum ab jaa sakte ho." she said with a sweet sugary smile while Armaan just rolled his eyes and walked out of the room.  As he walked out, Riddhima stared at his back with a smile.  She loved annoying him.  The frown on his made him look so cute and adorable.  After a moment, she walked downstairs and saw everyone leaving for office and saw Bi waving at them with a smile.  She turned and looked at Riddhima.

"Arre Riddhima.  Tum aa gayi.  Armaan ne nimbo paani pe liya?" she asked sweetly and Riddhima nodded.

"Haan, pee liya." Bi smiled.

"Chalo achha hain.  Ab usse achha lagega." Riddhima nodded along with her but fell into a deep thought which didn't go unnoticed by Bi and she questioned her.  "Kya hua Riddhima?  Kya soch rahi ho?"

"Bi main soch rahi thi ke..." she started but trailed off. 

"Bolo Riddhima."

"Bi.  Armaan ne apni zindagi mein bohat kuch dekha hain.  Bohat kuch saaha hain.  Aur main usska dard samajh sakti hoon.  Lekin Armaan ko aage badna hoga.  Usse shaayad iss baat ka ehsaas nahin hain ki woh iss tarah sab se dur ho kar unhe hi nahin, balki khud ko bhi kitni takleef de raha hain.  Bi.  Kal raat ko maine Armaan ka ek-ek alag hi chehra dekha hain.  Armaan ke dill mein darr hain.  Woh sochta hain ki agar woh kissi ke paas gaya toh woh usse dur chala jaayega.  Armaan apne rishton ko lekar bohat insecure hain.  Aur main usski yeh insecurity mitta dena chahti hoon.  I don't know how, but main yeh karungi." Riddhima explained everything to Bi and she nodded in agreement.

"Lekin Riddhima tum yeh karogi kaise?  Armaan kissi baat nahin sunta.  Are you sure woh tumhari baat maanega?"

"Maanega Bi.  Zaroor maanega.  Aise nahin toh waise.  Armaan ko manna toh padega hi."

"Kya karna chahti ho tum?" Riddhima turned around and saw Bi looking at her with a million questions in her eyes.  She smiled and explained her plan which brought a big smile to her face.

"Arre waah!  Yeh toh b se bohat hi achha plan hain!" Riddhima smiled widely.

"Thank you Bi!  Mujhe pura yakeen hain ki humaara Armaan ab zaroor laut aayega." Bi moved to her and placed her hand on her shoulder. 

"Bohat pyaar karti ho na Armaan se?" Riddhima was taken aback by her question and looked at her.  "Armaan bohat kismat waala hain ki usse tumhari jaisi patni milli hain.  Ab jab tum usske saath ho, toh humme kya fikar ho sakti hain?  Tumhara pyaar tumhari aankhon mein saaf jhalakta hain.  Main bhagwaan se yeh hi prathna karungi ke tum dono humesha khush raho." Saying this she moved to the kitchen with a smile.

****

Armaan was sitting in his cabin with his laptop in front of him and a frown on his face.   Just then he heard a knock on the door and said a quick 'Come in'.  The door immediately opened and Riddhima came in.  He looked up and saw Riddhima standing in front of him, which came as a surprise for him. 

"Riddhima?  Tum yahaan kya kar rahi ho?" he asked completely shocked and she just smiled. 

"Jaan.  Yeh kaisa savaal hain?  Yeh office jitna tumhara hain, utna mera bhi hain sweetheart.  Aur waise bhi.  Main tumhari secretary hoon.  Toh yahaan aana toh banta hain na?" she said cheekily and he just stared at her with shock.  Why was she joining ME so suddenly?

"What's going on in your mind?" She knitted her brows together and looked at him in confusion.  "Main tumhe bohat achhe se jaanta hoon.  Tumhare dimaag mein kuch na kuch zaroor chal raha hain.  Now stop pretending and start talking." he said in a straight forward, cold tone which made Riddhima roll her eyes. 

"Armaan.  Mere dimaag mein kuch chal raha hain ya nahin, yeh tumhe pata chal ji jaayega.  Lekin Mr. Mallik.  Agar Singhaniya's ke saath yeh deal fix nahin huyi, toh tumhare dimaag mein bohat kuch chalega.  Ab yeh questionnaire band karo and give me the files." Armaan looked at her with suspicion.  He couldn't fathom her words.  It just sounded... weird?  Strange?  Abnormal?  Something along those lines.  Was she doing this so they lose the contract?  Possible.

"Tum yeh sab hume haraane ke liye kar rahi ho na?" Riddhima rolled her eyes with annoyance.

"Armaan.  Tumhe jo samajhna hain tum samajh sakte ho.  I don't care.  Abhi ke liye mujhe files de do.  Ya toh tum khud mujhe files do ya phir main mere pyaare devaron se le lungi.  Your choice sweetheart." she said with a wicked smile.  Armaan knew what she was trying to imply so he thought against arguing with her.  There was nothing he could do here.  He picked up the files and handed them to her.  "Thank you." Saying this, she left with a smile.

Yes Armaan.  Tum sahi ho.  Main yeh sab ek vajah ke liye kar rahi hoon.  Aur woh vajah, tum ho. 

She thought to herself with a smile and walked to her cabin to finish the work.

**** 

It was around 11 when Riddhima finished her files. She closed the file she had been working on and exhaled in relief.

"Haash.  Finally kaam khatam hua.  Ek kaam karti hoon.  Jaake coffee le aati hoon.  Mind fresh ho jaayega." With this, she stood up and went to the canteen to get herself a nice French Vailla Cappuchino.  As she walked back to her cabin, she stopped hearing some loud noises coming from Abhi's cabin.

"Abhi stop it.  Chhodo mujhe.  Mujhe tumse koi baat nahin karni." Riddhima was surprised hearing Nikki's hurt and angry voice and scooted closer to the door to see what was happening.

"Lekin mujhe karni hain." Abhi said in a low, angry voice.  Riddhima slowly opened the door and peeked inside to see Nikki pinned against the wall by Abhi.  She was shocked seeing Abhi all angry and Nikki in tears.  A thought of slapping Abhi crossed her mind but then she thought otherwise.  Coming down to a conclusion without knowing everything was just stupid.

"Kya baat karni hain tumhe?  Haan?  Kuch aur kehna baaki reh gaya hain kya?  Mere dill ke hazaar tukre karne ke baad... uss raat mera istimaal karne ke baad aur kya kehna baaki reh gaya hain Abhi?" She said in a very hurt and painful voice and looked away.

"Nikki I-" he started but was cutoff by her.

"Bas Abhi.  Bohat ho gaya.  Mujh mein aur kuch sunne ki himmat nahin hain." She jerked his hand away and ran out of the cabin, without even noticing a shocked Riddhima.

Yeh kya ho raha hain?  Abhi ne Nikki ka istimaal kiya?  Yeh sab kab... kaise...  Mujhe toh vishvaas nahin ho raha.  Abhi Nikki ke saath aisa kaise kar sakta hain?  Mujhe usse baat karni ni hogi!

With anger running through her she barged in his cabin and glared at his back and yelled his name.

"Abhi!" He turned around and looked at Riddhima with eyes full of tears, shocking Riddhima once again.  "Yeh sab kya ho raha hain?!" Abhi just looked away and sat on the couch in front of him.  Riddhima became confused and sat down beside him.  "Abhi.  Main tumse kuch puchh rahi hoon.  Yeh sab kya ho raha hain?  Nikki itna ro kyun rahi thi?  Aur woh yeh kya keh rahi thi?  Tumne usska istimaal kiya?" she asked, totally flabbergasted.  Abhi was seriously the last person she had expected to stoop so low.

"She's right.  Woh sahi keh rahi hain.  Maine usska istimaal kiya." He said facing the other way.  Riddhima knew something was wrong.  She heard him sniff and knew he was crying.  Being all strict wasn't going to help.  She took a deep breath and asked him softly.

"Abhi.  Please mujhe batao.  Kya hua?  Main tumhari madat karna chahti hoon.  Please tell me." Abhi looked at Riddhima for a moment before looking down.

"Pichhle kayi dinon se main harr waqt Nikki ke baare mein sochta rehta tha.  Usska khayaal harr waqt mujhe sataata rehta tha.  Woh mujhe bohat achhi lagne lagi thi.  Woh paas hoti toh dill ki dhadkan bad jaati.  Dur hoti toh ussi dekhne ko mann karta.  Lekin tumhari aur Bro ki shaadi ke din pata nahin mujhe kya ho gaya tha.  Meri uss par se nazar hi nahin hatt rahi thi.  Shaadi khatam hone ke baad jab main usse ghar chhodne gaya, toh usski dress pe kuch gir gaya aur woh usse saaf karne gayi aur main baad mein usse bye bolne gaya.  Jab maine usse dekha, toh dekhta hi reh gaya.  Pata nahin hum dono ko kya ho gaya tha.  Hum ek doosre mein itne kho gaye ki humne kab line cross kar di.  Subah jab meri aankh khuli, toh mujhe ehsaas hua ki maine bohat badi galti kar di.  Mujhe khud pe gussa aa raha tha.  Kuch samajh nahin aa raha tha.  Jab woh uthi toh ussne mujhse kaha ki woh mujhse pyaar karti hain.  Main bilkul shock ho gaya tha.  Main apni feelings ke baare mein sure nahin tha... iss liye maine usse keh diya ki humaare beech jo bhi hua, woh ek galti thi.  Ki main usse pyaar nahin karta.  Maine usse bohat hurt kiya.  Jab bhi main usske saamne aata, toh woh mujhe ignore karti.  Meri taraf dekhti bhi nahin.  Yeh sab baatein mujhe hurt karni lagi.  Usski ignorance mere dill ko tod ke rakh deti thi.  Aur phir mujhe ehsaas hua ki... ki main usse pyaar karne laga hoon.  Lekin ab bohat daer ho gayi hain.  Nikki mujhse nafrat karti hain.  She hates me." Abhi said with tears rolling down his cheeks and Riddhima just stared at him.

Silence prevailed in the room as Riddhima thought about what he said.  Although she understood how Abhi felt and what he was going through, a part of her was really disappointed and she couldn't help it.  Being a girl, she understood how it feels when the guy you are madly in love with spends a night with you and then says it was nothing but a mistake.  She wanted to say something but no words seemed to fit together.

"Abhi..." she started but trailed off, not knowing what to say, but spoke again. "Abhi jo bhi hua galat tha.  Tumne jo kiya... woh galat tha.  Main maanti hoon tum apni feelings ko lekar sure nahin the.  Lekin tumhe iss tarah se usse hurt nahin karna chahiye tha.  Woh tumse bohat pyaar karti hain Abhi.  Aur.. tumne toh usse poori tarah se tod diya."

"Main jaanta hoon Riddhima.  Aur main usse bataana chahta hoon ki main usse kitna chahta hoon.  Lekin woh toh meri baat sunne ko tayaar hi nahin hain.  I don't know what to do."

"Tumne usska dill toda hain Abhi.  You can't expect her to forgive you.  Tumhe usse vishwaas dilaana hoga ke tum usse sach mein pyaar karte ho."

"Meri kuch samajh mein nahin aa raha.  Riddhima.  Kya tum iss mein meri help kar sakti ho?"

"Yeh bhi koi poochhne ki baat hain kya?  Of course main tumhari help karungi."

"I love you yaar!  Tum toh meri life savor ho!" He hugged Riddhima immediately and said to her making her smile and she pulled away.

"Bas bas.  Ab maska maarna band karo.  Zyaada work nahin karne waala.  Ab chalo.  Rona band karo.  Tum rote hue na, bilkul bandar lagte ho.  Now come on.  Smile!" Abhi smiled and nodded.

"Thanks Riddhima." She glared at him for what he said.

"Ae lo.  Thanks keh ke paraaya kyun kar rahe ho?"

"Sorry baba.  Ab kabhi bhi thanks nahin bolunga.  Okay?"

"Good boy!" she said with a smile and both hugged again.

****

It was around 9 at night and Riddhima was walking towards the elevator with her purse over her shoulder.  As she passed Armaan's cabin, she heard some strange noises coming from there and stopped.  As curiosity took over her, she slowly went inside and looked around to find the cabin empty.  She frowned and thought it was just her imagination.  Just when she was about to walk out, she heard the shattering sound of glass from his personalized gym and ran to it. 

Opening the door in a swift motion, she searched for Armaan, knowing he had hurt himself.  Her heart thudded crazily as her eyes searched and searched for Armaan but he was nowhere to be seen.  All of a sudden, she heard a hiss come from a distance and quickly walked to the other side to see Armaan standing in the middle of pieces of glass, holding his injured hand with pain visible on his face. 

"Armaan!" she yelled his name and ran to him, not caring about the slight cuts she got and held his hand carefully.  She looked at him and questioned.  "Tum pagal ho gaye ho kya Armaan!  Yeh kya kar rahe ho tum, haan!"

"Chali jao yahaan se Riddhima.  Main apna khayal khud rakh sakta hoon." he said in a cold voice, gazing at the floor and she looked at him incredulously.  What was wrong with him?!

"Armaan tumhe chot lagi hain!  Aur tum mujhse keh rahe ho main yahaan se jaaun?  No.  Main kahin nahin jaungi." she said adamantly, making him angry and he pulled his hand away.

"Jhoothi humdardi dikhaane ki koi zaroorat nahin hain Riddhima!  Mujhe pata hain tum andar hi andar mera mazaak uda rahi hogi.  But for your information, let me tell you mujhe inn sab se farak nahin padta.  Just leave me alone and get the hell out of here!" This infuriated Riddhima.  Why was Armaan being so adamant? 

"Nahin jaungi!  Aur tum mujhe jaane ke liye force nahin kar sakte!" Armaan became very angry hearing her replies.  He grabbed her shoulder and pinned her to the wall behind her.  He viciously glared at her, his eyes boring into her eyes.  Riddhima was just too scared to say anything at all.  All her courage and boldness drained away seeing him so close and so angry. 

"Tumhe ek baar mein koi baat samajh kyun nahin aati?" he asked with his teeth grinded and moved closer to her, crushing her front with his masculine body.  "Kaha na yahaan se chali jao toh phir jaati kyun nahin?  Achaanak se itni fikar kyun hone lagi tumhe?  Haan?  Bolo.  Javaab do!" He shook her body with anger while she just stared at him, preparing herself for an answer.

"Tumse yeh kisne keh diya ki mujhe tumhari koi fikar hain?  Mujhe tumhari koi fikar nahin hain Armaan!  Aur kyun hogi haan?  In fact... kissi ko bhi tumhari parvah nahin hain.  Pata hain kyun?  Kyunki tum kabhi kissi ko apne kareeb hi nahin aane dete!  Agar koi tumhare paas aata hain toh tum unhe khud se aise alag kar dete ho jaise woh tumhare liye koi maayine hi nahin rakhte!" she said in an angry voice with tears brimming in her eyes, stunning Armaan.  "You know tumhari problem kya hain?  Tumhe lagta hain ki duniya ki saari takleefein sirf tumhe hain.  Dusron ki toh koi feelings hain hi nahin na!  Tumhe iss baat ka andaaza bhi hain ke tumhare iss behavior se dusron ko kitni takleef hoti hain!  Tumhare saath jo hua, bohat bura tha.  Lekin kabhi apne bhaiyon ke baare mein socha hain?  Tumhare saath saath Atul aur Abhi ne bhi apne parents khoye hain Armaan.  Unhone ne bhi apni zindagi mein bohat kuch saha hain.  Lekin tumhe toh yeh dikhta hi nahin hain na?  Apne dard ko bhulaane ke liye tum toh sharaab ka sahara le lete ho.  Mallaika ka gussa gym mein nikaal dete ho.  Kabhi Atul, Rahul aur Abhi ke baare mein socha hain?  Socha hain ki unnke dill par kya beethti hogi tumhe iss haalat mein dekhke?  Unnke liye ek tum hi toh ho Armaan!  Aur tumne toh jaise apna muh hi pher liya hain.  Tum jaante ho tumne kitne saare logon ko takleef di hain?  Atul, Rahul, Abhi, Nikki, Anjali aur..." she said with tears falling down her cheeks but then stopped as soon as she realized she was about to say 'me'.  Armaan looked at her with tearful eyes as he heard her.  He knew somewhere it hurt her too.  "Aur... Bi ko bhi tumhari kitni fikar hain.  Lekin tumhe toh..." she she trailed off, knowing her words weren't going to affect him at all.  "Lekin main tumse yeh sab kyun keh rahi hoon?  Tumhe toh inn sab se koi farak hi nahin padta." Saying this, she moved his hands away from her and walked out, while Armaan cursed himself. 

All this while he remained drowned in his own pain.  He had ignored everyone and isolated himself from the world.  Not once had he given a thought to how everyone else felt, how much they needed him.  Riddhima was right.  He had hurt everyone.  Even though it was totally unintentional on his part, it was true.  And now he had to make up for everything.  He owed his brothers.  Things were going to change from now.  They had to change.

****

Armaan walked inside the hall of Mallik Mansion with his coat hanging over his shoulder and saw everyone gawking at him with their jaws dropped to the ground.  How was he home back so soon?  Armaan laughed inwardly seeing the shocked faces of his brothers.  If he was in their place, he would've been shocked too.  After all, this was the first time Armaan came back home before 10 during the holiday season.

"Kya hua?  Mujhe dekh kar sab aise shocked kyun ho gaye?" he asked with a smile as he moved closer.  No one said anything and continued to stare at him.  Armaan chuckled and snapped his fingers.

"Ar-Armaan... tum itni jaldi ghar kaise..." Rahul started and fumbled with his words as he found it hard to believe that Armaan was actually smiling on this day.
"Oh.  Toh tum sab mujhe yahaan itni jaldi dekh kar shocked ho?  Hmm?" he laughed slightly. "Come on guys.  Dinner nahin karna kya?" Laughing to himself he walked up to his room and closed the door behind him making everyone else come out of their shocked mode.

"Rahul... Abhi... main pakka sapna dekh raha hoon.  Please mereko pinch karo." Atul said in a trance.  Rahul and Abhi looked at each other and then pinched Atul's sides at the same time, almost making him scream.

"AAAHHH!" He jumped in pain and rubbed his sides to ease the pain.  "Maarna hain kya?"

"Toh naatak kyun kar raha tha be?" Rahul reprimanded him while Atul made faces at them.

"But seriously yaar.  Aaj achaanak Bro ko kya hua?  Usually toh yeh baara baje ke pehle ghar wapas nahin aata.  And he's back before 10 today!  This gotta be a dream!"

"Mereko toh lagta hain issko jhatka laga hain.  Zor ka jhatka haaye zoron ka laga.  Haan laga." Rahul sang the last part to himself, wondering what happened to Armaan.

"Jo bhi hua ho.  Abhi thodi daer mein pata chal hi jaayega.  Chalo.  Khana khaane chalte hain." Atul said and the other two nodded in agreement and they went to the table.

In a few minutes, Armaan came down and took his seat in front of the trio and they exchanged glances, not knowing what to say.

"Arre.  Khana kahaan hain?  Riddhima!  Bi!  Jaldi khana lao na!  Bohat bhook lagi hain!" Armaan shouted to them, shocking the others once again.

"Bhai." Atul said with a shocked look on his face.  "Yeh tumhe kya ho gaya hain?  Do you have a fever?" Armaan had this big urge to laugh seeing his dear brother's face but controlled and managed to put on a straight face.

"Kyun?  Hona chahiye tha kya?" he said in a dangerous tone, scaring Atul and then finally gave into his urge to laugh.  Abhi, Atul and Rahul were starting to freak out now.  What the hell was wrong with Armaan!

"Armaan.  Tujhe kya ho gaya hain?  Tu aise kyun behave kar raha hain?" said Rahul.  Armaan stopped laughing and looked at Rahul.

"Kyun?  Mujhe aise hasta muskuraata dekh tum sab chauk kyun gaye?" They exchanged glances together again.  "Guys... I'm sorry.  I know I've been a jerk.  Itne saalon mein maine tum sab bohat hurt kiya hain.  Apne dard mein itna uljha raha ke tum sab ka dukh dekha hi nahin.  Humesha akela raha, lekin yeh kabhi nahin socha ki tum sab ko meri kitni zaroorat hain.  Ek.. bade bhai ka farz main kabhi puri tarah se nibha hi nahin paaya.  Tum sab ki khushi mein, dukh mein main kabhi shaamil nahin hua.  I know... maine yeh sab kehne mein bohat daer kardi hain.  Aur... ab shaayad tum sab mujhe maaf bhi nahin karoge.  Lekin phir bhi.  Agar ho sake, toh please mujhe maaf kar dena.  I-" Before he could say anything else, he felt the others come and hug him tightly.  He surely was taken aback by this but then hugged them back tightly.  The four brothers cried and let all their pain out.  It had been forever since they hugged each other or had a real heart to heart talk.  While the Mallik brothers were busy hugging each other, Riddhima and Bi stood beside the wall in the kitchen with a big smile on their faces.

"We did it Bi!  We finally did it!" Riddhima jumped in excitement and Bi nodded.

"Haan Riddhima.  Humne finally yeh kar diya.  Humne inn bhaiyon ko aakhir mein mila hi diya.  Bhagwaan karein innko kabhi kissi ki naza na lage." Riddhima smiled and nodded.  She was so happy.  They had succeeded in their first step, which was to bring the brothers together again.  Now they had to bring the real Armaan out.  The one that smiled, laughed with all his heart and what not.  It was going to be difficult, but definitely not impossible.

****
Medha

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