Wednesday, 20 November 2019

PART 1 : Mr. & Mrs. Mallik



"Armaan, get up!" he heard a distant sound calling for him, but ignored it and went back to his world. "Armaan" the voice grew louder, but he only turned to the other side, grabbed his pillow and placed it over his ear, not interested to leave his world. He suddenly jerked and opened his eyes when a flush of cold water greeted his face. Horrified, he looked at the surroundings, and it took him few moments to realize that he was in sleep then and now wide awake.

"RAJI" he yelled at the middle aged woman, in her early fifties, standing beside his bed with an empty jug in her hands. "Why the hell did you wake me? It's hardly 6 am" he screamed checking the time, glaring at her.

"Armaan" she looked at him in disbelief "you promised me to take to the vegetable market today." She waited for his response while he rubbed his eyes, trying to console his goddess of sleep for the abrupt interruption, rewinding his memory regarding his promise.

Irritated with himself and Raji, he shouted "Why can't you go to the market with the driver? It's Sunday today and more over I have to join the hospital from tomorrow. Let me sleep." He grabbed his pillow, pulled his sheets and was about to sleep when Raji used her last shot "It's OK Armaan. If you don't want to come, let it be. I'll go by myself." She said pretending to wipe off the fake tear from her cheek.



"Argh. I hate you Raji when you use that same old strategy. Wait, I'll take you" he said dragging himself off the bed towards the washroom. Raji smiled to herself walking out from his room.

Raji is Armaan's nanny right from his birth. His parents have given him everything except the one he longed for ' Love. So he found solace in Raji's arms. For Raji, Armaan was more than a son. She was always there, by his side, even when he didn't need her. Armaan adored Raji, for he never knew what parental love would be. It's his routine to fight with her, feel sorry later, shower innumerable apologies on her and then fight again. Raji understands Armaan well, how his emotions are extreme, but only worried as he never lets anyone know his true emotions.

Now he moved to Mumbai from Delhi as he was accepted at Sanjeevani as an intern. For some weird reason, he was relieved being away from his parents, with Raji.

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For the first time in her entire life, she enjoyed the ring of alarm that greeted her good morning. She woke up with a smile spread across her lips and thought to herself 'One more day and my dream will be true'. Riddhima was elated as she convinced her father about her internship, having completed her medicine and her acceptance at Sanjeevani added to it.  Accurately it was her mother's dream of her daughter becoming a doctor and Riddhima promised her mother at her last breath that she would fulfill her dream.

Riddhima's mother died when she was 15. Since then she had been living with her orthodox father, Shashank Gupta. Shashank is an arrogant businessman, extremely conscious of his image in the society. Riddhima never experienced any fatherly love from him, so she felt extremely alone when her mother left her forever. She had a hard time convincing her father to allow her pursue internship as he was completely against it and wanted her to get married to the son of his friend in business. Finally she was relieved when he agreed, inspite of 'n' number of restrictions on her.

Riddhima stepped out of her bed and went to washroom to get ready. It was her routine on Sundays to go to the vegetable market and get the vegetables needed for the entire week. She convinced her father and maid about that, for she enjoyed the fresh breeze on early mornings and wanted to enjoy that atleast once a week.

Riddhima came out of the washroom in 30 minutes and grabbed her purse and a basket. She was about to leave the house when she realized that it had poured cats and dogs the last night, it being rainy season. She sighed thinking about how damp the market would be and she wondered whether her car would reach the market as it is located at the top of a small hill. She called her driver and left for the market.

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Armaan finally got ready in half-an-hour and reached the parking lot of the apartment where Raji had been waiting for him. While he walked towards his bike, she wondered whether he was sleep-walking. She giggled at his situation while Armaan frowned at her. Soon he started his bike and left for the market.

Armaan reached the place which was about 1 km away from the market and parked his bike as it was very damp ahead. He noticed everyone walking up the small hill and Raji insisted they better do the same. As they moved forward Armaan was stunned at the sight of water everywhere on the small lane that led to the market. Everyone was crossing the lane, carefully stepping on few stones that were placed amidst the water and there was a small queue for that.

Irritated Armaan said to Raji "Raji, is it necessary to buy the vegetables here and that too today?" Raji answered him without looking at him "Armaan, our neighbor told that the vegetables are fresh here and moreover what will we eat if no vegetables?" Raji dragged him, while Armaan followed her quietly cursing that neighbor under his breath. "Raji, you go ahead. I'll join you in some time." He told her pointing to the coffee shop at the end of the lane. Armaan thought to have a coffee as he was still feeling drowsy. Raji nodded and headed towards the market while Armaan went to the coffee shop.

Riddhima thought she was right as she got down from the car, about a km away from the market. She had to walk to the market. She was frightened at the sight of people crossing the water filled lane with the help of few stones placed. She was afraid she would fall into the dirty water while crossing it. Soon she composed herself and walked ahead to the small queue to cross the lane.

Armaan had a cup of coffee and was feeling better. So he joined the queue to go to Raji. He noticed a slim girl in while chudidar, standing ahead of him, praying silently to God. He smiled in amusement at her act. He was sure that she was afraid of crossing it when he noticed her with high heels. He stepped closer to her and whispered in her ear "Don't worry, you won't get drowned" smiling to himself. She was standing with her back to him and he expected her to turn around after his comment as he hoped to see her face. But she only mouthed an angry "Thanks" and walked ahead.

Armaan realized she was having a hard time balancing herself on the uneven stones. Moreover he was irritated that she was blocking his way and also others. "Excuse me, can you be quick. You are blocking our way" he addressed her. But her entire focus was on her balance that his words didn't reach her. Armaan grew impatient as it was already 30 mins and they barely took ten steps. Not finding any other choice, Armaan picked her in his arms quietly.

Riddhima was startled when she felt someone's strong arm around her waist and was dumb-stuck when she realized someone lifting her off the ground. Too horrified to scream, she shut her eyes for a moment and when she sensed herself being carried, she opened her eyes to understand what was happening. She saw a handsome blue eyed guy striking his dimpled smile at her.

"wow" The word escaped his mouth when he saw her face, when he picked her. She closed her eyes tight, grabbing his shirt in fear. He started at the beauty in his arms in awe. He shook his head slightly after a couple of moments when he felt electric shocks running through his right hand which was around her waist. After a moment, she glared at him and he smiled at her.

Riddhima was suddenly conscious of the proximity of her body against his and yelled at him "What the hell are you doing? Put me down." Armaan was back from his trance when he heard her shout "Mam, you were blocking our way in your practice session of ramp walk over the stones. So I volunteered myself to remove the hurdle from our way." He said teasing her.

Riddhima glanced at the people behind them. He was true that she blocked their way but she was in no mood to convince herself that she was in the arms of a guy, that too without her consent. "I know very well about you guys. You just want an excuse to touch girls. Put me down immediately." She shouted at him. "Oh Hello. The last thing I would want on this earth is to touch you. By the way I don't find any girl here" he said pretending to scan the crowd, smiling playfully.

"Shut up. Put me down, or else'." Riddhima searched for words while Armaan made a serious face as if was listening to a lecture. "Or else?  Go on. I am listening." He said and suddenly stumbled on his way. As a reflex, Riddhima clutched on to his chest, holding him tight with her arms around his neck, closing her eyes in fear.

Armaan was glad that he balanced himself from tripping and the next moment his heart beat fast as Riddhima clutched onto him closer. His arms around her waist and thighs, hers around his neck, her face under his neck and her breast soft against his chest. A shiver of pleasure ran down his spine. He had dated many girls right from his high school but never felt the same. He stared at her bewildered while Riddhima still shut her eyes in fear, not aware of the effect she had on him.

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sushmita

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