Tuesday, 26 November 2019

PART 7 : Mr. & Mrs. Mallik

"I am waiting....um.... Armaan right?" Sanjay's voice echoed in his ears which convinced Armaan that he was still alive. He warned his mind to cook up something but it seemed to be dead. "I am patient but my revolver is a very impatient one" Sanjay spoke again which made Armaan go numb with fear. After a moment Rahul almost had a mild heart-attack listening to the words uttered by Armaan.

"Because Riddhima is in love with me." Armaan said holding his breath, with his eyes tightly shut, waiting for the revolver to do something. But nothing happened for few moments and a relieved Armaan slowly opened his one eye to have a glance at Sanjay. Assured that he won't be killed, he opened his other eye and looked at Rahul, who was at the edge to go into coma. Then he turned towards Sanjay and found him stare at him in disbelief, still holding the revolver.



"What?" Armaan jerked at Sanjay's voice. "Yes....Yes Mr. Sanjay. Riddhima and I are madly in love with each other." Armaan said slightly caressing his cheek which had been witness of Riddhima's 'love' while Rahul almost fainted in his seat. Armaan smirked and slowly, gently moved the revolver away from his temple sensing that Sanjay was into his so called love story. He got up from the seat, made an extremely sad face and walked towards the window "We can't live without each other Sanjay. Please don't separate us. I'll die without Riddhima." He added pretending to wipe away the fake tears from his eyes.

"But Mr. Gupta said that Riddhima accepted the proposal?" Sanjay said in disbelief standing up. Rahul too immediately got onto his foot, trying to understand what Armaan is up to. Armaan was glad that Sanjay believes in his fake love story. 'Guess I have to answer his viva questions.' Armaan thought trying to make some good excuse.

Armaan turned his back to Sanjay, took hold of the window-door appearing as a devdas. "The same old story Sanjay. I and Riddhima have been in love for the past four years. Shashank came to know about it recently. He hates me and refused to accept me as I am.... I am..... I am not as wealthy as them. He warned Riddhima that he would kill me if she doesn't marry you. She did not accept it but was forced to. Tell me Sanjay what you would do if you were in her place?" Armaan said with so much emotion that Rahul thought it was true for one second. Armaan turned around and raised his eyebrow at Rahul as if asking how his excuse was to which Rahul gave a weak smile. 'Four years is too much isn't it?' Rahul thought.  They both looked at Sanjay the next second and were shocked beyond wits.

Sanjay made an extremely sad face as tears ran down his face listening to Armaan's words. Armaan was lost in his confusion when Sanjay embraced him a bear hug. "Don't worry Armaan. I always respected true lovers and I respect you too. I will help you get back to her. Don't worry." Sanjay still sobbed while Armaan patted his back hesitatingly as he felt his shirt getting wet due to tears. 'Is he mad or what? He believed my stupid story and now sobbing for that? Wow Armaan, you are a genius. You should have been an actor. You would have outshined SRK.' Armaan mentally patted himself for his success.

Sanjay pulled apart from Armaan and wiped his tears. "Sorry. I get too emotional sometimes. What do you want me to do now? Shall I talk to Mr. Gupta and convince him to get Riddhima married to you? I am sure I can do that." Sanjay said taking out his mobile to which both Armaan and Rahul shouted "NOO" He looked at them in confusion while Armaan thought 'God! This is going too far. Where am I stuck? Argh Basket!'

"No. I mean it's not required as of now. Riddhima told me that you were supposed to meet her tomorrow. After that tell to Shashank that u didn't like her. That is enough. I'll manage it from there." Armaan said in one breath and sighed in relief when Sanjay nodded at him with a smile.

After a few minutes of chit chat with Sanjay, Armaan thought 'This guy is just crazy. Few moments before he held a revolver at my head and now chatting with me as a friend. Guess he has some problem in his brain. What will he do if he comes to know that I made him a fool?' His heart skipped a beat at his last thought. He glanced at Sanjay once again and thought it would be better if they left. He looked at Rahul. Poor fellow, he sat in his seat too stiff to talk. Armaan and Rahul took leave from Sanjay and literally ran out of Bhatia Empire. They drove away on Armaan's bike never looking back.

They reached a dhaba on their way and stopped to have something. All through the ride, silence took its place between Armaan and Rahul. Armaan was confused whether Sanjay believed him or not while Rahul was still in the shock he has got. As they sat down, they looked at each other for few moments and burst out into laughter. They laughed, laughed and laughed until their stomachs ached.

"I can't believe I had done it" Armaan said in between his laughs holding his stomach. "And I can't believe we are still alive" Rahul smirked and added "I was almost dead watching that revolver and your story, my God, it was..... was.... just hilarious" and again burst into laughter. Soon they had their dinner and Armaan dropped Rahul at his home before going home.

After reaching home, it was again a laugh riot, when Armaan told Raji about his encounter with Sanjay. "Stop it Armaan. Oh. My stomach is paining." Raji struggled to speak, still laughing, as Armaan explained Sanjay's expressions. "It was worth watching Raji. He and his tear stricken face. And Rahul was lust spellbound. You missed it." Armaan added as a matter of fact. "Yeah. And I can imagine your expressions when Sanjay put that revolver at your head" she giggled to receive a glare from him.

"What about Riddhima? Did she know about your so called love story?" When Raji's words reached his ears, his palm as a reflex on hearing Riddhima's name went up to his cheek and caressed it. "What happened to your cheek?" She asked as she found him thinking deeply with one palm against his cheek. He hesitated for a while and said "Riddhima.....she.... she slapped me." fuming in anger.

Raji'e eyes widened in shock for a second and in the next second she burst out into laughter. Armaan was stunned to find her laughing. He expected Raji would curse Riddhima or atleast get angry at her action but it was just the reverse. It only added to his anger. Flaring his nostrils, he was about to get up when she held his hand and said "Ok. I am sorry. But poor girl, she must have been through so much."

"She is not any poor girl" Armaan mimicked her voice and added "She is just a.....a.... Forget it. I can't tolerate her a minute. I just hate her." Raji smiled at him and said "Yeah I can see that. That's why you just keep on talking about her." He gave her a dirt look and went to his bedroom. Raji smiled to herself at her thought 'She is just perfect for you.'

Armaan jumped onto his bed and tried to sleep but in vain. 'What about Riddhima? Did she know about your so called love story?' Raji's words kept on ringing in his ears. 'How will she react?' he thought about it and as an answer he remembered her slapping him. 'No way. Convincing that crazy Sanjay is too much for her. She has to thank me for that.' He convinced himself and dozed off thinking about 'Basket'.

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Riddhima lay on her bed staring at the ceiling. Sleep was miles away from her. She glanced at her mobile for umpteenth time 'Why can't he just call me and tell what has happened?' she thought and sighed 'I hope he convinced Sanjay' she turned to a side 'I hope he hadn't done anything stupid. Oh I forgot. How can I wish for that as Armaan and Stupidity are synonyms?' He got up and sat against the bed post. She felt restless. 'What would have happened there?' She tried to guess but nothing came to her mind. She took her mobile and thought 'Shall I call him and ask?' After a brief battling with her mind he gave in to her curiousness and dialed his number. After many rings came an answer.

"Heeellooo" Armaan said in the most sleepy voice. 'How can he sleep so peacefully when I am dying here' she thought and said "Armaan. This is Riddhima. I want to talk to you." She didn't hear any voice from the other side. 'Did he sleep?' she glanced the watch and it said 1.30 am.

 "Armaan? Are you there?" she shouted. "What yaar Basket. Why don't you allow me to sleep? I'll talk to you in the morning" Armaan said in a sleepy voice and before she could speak something, the line went dead. She tried his number again but this time it was switched off. She threw the mobile aside and cursed Armaan. She drifted off to sleep cursing Armaan.

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Raji was in the kitchen preparing breakfast when she heard their door bell ring. She checked her watch. It said 7.00 am. 'Who could it be this early?' she thought to herself while unlocking the door. When she opened the door, she saw a beautiful girl in a red cotton chudidar with green floral print standing with a nervous face.

"Is this Mr. Armaan Mallik's flat? I am Riddhima Gupta. His colleague." Riddhima said in a soft voice as she looked at the lady. Raji was surprised to find Riddhima there. It's the first time that she saw her. "Yes yes. Come in. So you are Riddhima?" Raji smiled and said while leading Riddhima to the couch. 'She is very pretty' Raji thought and asked her to sit and gave her a glass of water as she noticed her nervousness.

"I am Raji. Armaan's guardian. He told me about you." Riddhima choked on her water when she heard Raji's words. Raji immediately patted Riddhima's back as she coughed and said "Don't worry. Nothing bad." She smiled in assurance and added "Actually. I am proud of you. You are the first one who slapped him."

Riddhima felt guilty of her action. "I am sorry. I was very angry at him and'." She tried to apologize but Raji cut her in between and said "Don't feel guilty. I can understand that. Don't tell to Armaan but I do accept that he needs that once in a while." Riddhima relaxed at her words. "He is very naughty but good at his heart." Raji said to which Riddhima smiled and nodded.

"Aunty, where is Armaan?" Riddhima asked after a moment. Raji got up from the couch "Oh I forgot. He is still asleep. I'll wake him. You stay here for a while as it might take some time." Before Riddhima can stop her, Raji went to his bedroom. Riddhima smiled at the bond Raji shared with Armaan and suddenly her eyes went moist remembering her mother. She quickly wiped away her tears and took some magazine that lay on the couch.

Armaan turned his sides covering his ears with pillow as he heard Raji waking him up. "Plz Raji. Five more minutes." Armaan pleaded which irritated Raji more. "Armaan it's already 7.15 am. Riddhima is waiting for you in the hall for 15 mins. If you don't get up, I'll send her in." Raji yelled at him pulling the sheet off him. He jumped off the bed as her words sank in. "What?" he shouted and ran out of his bedroom. Raji tried to stop him "Armaan put on the shirt." but he was already gone.

Armaan rushed to the hall and found Riddhima sitting on the couch with a magazine. "Basket, what are you doing here?" Riddhima jerked at his voice and stood up. She looked at him and was completely taken aback by his appearance. He was in his white vest and military three-fourths with his hair all messed up, rubbing his eyes off the sleep. She bit her lip to refrain herself from laughing and looked away.

"Armaan. I was trying to reach you since yesterday night and your mobile is switched off. I was just curious. What did Sanjay say? Did you convince him?" Riddhima said and held her breath waiting for his reply. He smiled at her restlessness and spoke "Chill yaar Basket. He promised that he would tell your dad that he doesn't want to marry you. Don't worry I won't let him marry you. Yeah but he'll come to meet you today."

Armaan noticed a pleasure of relief sweep her features and sighed at its cuteness. All his anger towards her just vanished looking at her happy face. He closed his eyes for moment and his brain warned him 'What the hell are you thinking Armaan? She is basket. You hate her'. Riddhima forgot all her hatred towards Armaan listening to his words. His eyes popped open when he felt himself being pulled in for a tight hug. He was perplexed when he found Riddhima hugging him with her arms tight around his neck. He closed his eyes as her soft skin brushed against his shoulders.

"Basket" his words barely escaped his throat. "Thank you so much Armaan. Thank you. I am so happy. I owe you a lot." Riddhima said with her voice full of joy. Unknown to himself, he felt happy finding her happy, and his arms encircled her. He felt a shiver of pleasure run down his entire body as his palms came in contact with her tiny waist. Oblivious to the surroundings and the warnings from his brain, he pulled her closer and nuzzled into her thick hair, breathing in her rich feminine fragrance. Riddhima was too drowned in her happiness to realize what they were doing.

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-Sushmita

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