Thursday, 28 November 2019

PART 9 : Mr. & Mrs. Mallik

Suddenly she remembered something when he disappeared and ran in his direction "Armaan" She was disappointed when she didn't get any response and was about to turn back when she heard his voice "Basket? you called me?" he peeped back at her, sitting on his bike. "Thanks Armaan" she said and smiled while he winked at her "Good night Basket."

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Armaan paced restlessly in the cafeteria, after the end of their duties, with Muskaan and Rahul beside him with panic stricken faces. It had been two days that Riddhima hadn't been to the hospital and neither had she taken their calls. Suddenly a thought crept into his mind 'Was she hurt because of me?' He felt sorry for her. But then his heart shouted "No. She had forgiven me right? She was smiling that day.'


"Then why the hell is she not answering the blo*** calls." Armaan let out his frustration loudly. He was more restless because even when Muskaan had called to Riddhima's home, the answer came that she had been busy and cannot be talked to right then. But Muskaan noticed a fuss at their house.

"Yaar, shall I go to her house and check it out? I have a feeling that she isn't well. I know that her father wouldn't allow any of you to meet her. But maybe I can try for that." Muskaan said in her nervous tone. She was true. As her father met Armaan and is furious at him, there is no way Armaan could reach her. And Rahul – well he himself was not sure whether he had the courage to face Shashank. So the left over was Muskaan and she was ready for it.

"Yes Muskaan is right. I mean there is no way that Riddhima's dad will entertain any of her male friends." Rahul said. Armaan knew that they were right. "Hmm. You are true. Let's move Muskaan. We'll drop you at her house and wait till you come back." Armaan said while all of them rushed out of the cafeteria. They were making their way out of hospital when Armaan's mobile rang.

"Hello" he said waiting for the caller to say something. But all he heard were some random noises of people and something else. "Hello. Who's that?" he shouted frustrated with the turn of events. Still no answer. He was about to end the call when he heard a hoarse whisper and he understood who it might be.

"Basket" he exclaimed, happily that finally she had called. Rahul and Muskaan sighed listening that it was Riddhima. But his smile faded away when he heard her soft sobs. "Basket, what is the matter? Why are you crying? Where are you? Speak something." He shouted at her impatiently. He put the loudspeaker on as everyone could hear her

"Ar..maan.. I…am…at…home….I…." she managed to say between her sobs. Armaan waited for her to continue but when she didn't speak again and only sobbed he said "Home? Then why haven't you been to the hospital? We were all worried. You didn't even leave any message." He was glad that she had been at home.

But the next moment, something striked Muskaan's mind "What is happening Riddhima?" she asked now suspicious of something and then came the blow "Muski…. I am… getting… married…" Everyone froze at their spots and the next moment they shouted "What?" it was Muskaan. "Why?" it was Rahul and "When?" it was Armaan. Everyone waited for her reply holding their breaths. "Tomorrow… morning….Please… help….." Riddhima was saying something but the line went dead. Muskaan tried to cal her back at the same number but in vain. They looked at each other "Now what?"

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All three of them paced to and fro in Armaan's living room, with Raji sitting on the couch. Raji was worried when Rahul told her everything – she was worried for Riddhima. 'Poor girl, she is going through so much at a tender age' she sighed and looked over at Armaan. "Armaan, did you talk to Sanjay?" she asked him. "Raji, why on earth did he come in between? Let us…." But he stopped as he remembered something and quickly called Sanjay.

"Hello Armaan. I was thinking to call you. I have a good news for you." Sanjay shouted in one breath, in his mobile, to which Armaan only frowned. "Sanjay, did you talk to Riddhima's dad? What did you say to him?" Armaan asked irritated. "Yes yaar. I talked to him yesterday. I told that I don't want to marry Riddhima. And you know what, I also told him about you and Riddhima. He…." Armaan's heart skipped few beats as he heard those words.

 "WHAT?" Armaan shouted, not happy with it. "Yes and you won't believe that I convinced him to get you both married. Isn't it great?" Sanjay exclaimed in joy. "Great, my foot! You are a complete disaster" Armaan shouted at him and cut the call. He turned and noticed three pairs of anxious eyes waiting for him desperately to say something. He sighed and said "Sanjay told her dad about us. I guess her marriage is its result."

Sanjay on the other hand was taken by surprise at Armaan's outburst. 'What did I do now? Why did he shout at me for clearing the route for them?' He scratched his head and grabbed his car keys and left for Armaan's house.

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Riddhima lay on her bed sobbing silently. She recalled the events of the past two days. When her dad announced that Sanjay refused to marry her, she was on the ninth cloud. Soon her joy faded away as her dad added that she would be getting married to Mr. Vivek Malhotra on the same time as planned.

"You think you will play your stupid plans with your boyfriend and I'll fall for it. Never. Get ready for your marriage. You need not got to hospital from now" still his words echoed in her mind.

She was furious at Armaan initially as she held him responsible for everything that is happening in her life. But when she thought of seeking help from her friends, the first person that came to her mind was Armaan. Inspite of the fact that she hated him, deep down in her heart, she was a bit relieved after calling Armaan as her heart convinced her that Armaan, along with Rahul and Muskaan would come to her rescue.

She sat on the bed as a battle began between her mind and heart about Armaan.

Heart- Don't worry Riddhima, Armaan will come to help you.

Mind- Yeah why won't he? After all he was responsible for everything.

Heart- Come on Riddhima, he did everything only to save you.

Mind- to save you or to create more problems? That stupid jerk never leaves you in peace.

Heart- You know the truth Riddhima. He was the person who stood by you even when your dad didn't.

Mind- Yes, the truth is that everything was in its place before his entry into your life. He made your life upside down. Remember, your dad even agreed for you to continue your intership at Sanjeevani. Everything changed because of him.

"Yes. He was responsible for everything. I"ll kill him once I get out of this mess." Finally her mind won over her heart and she drifted off to sleep thinking about Armaan, forgetting about the cyclone that is waiting for her tomorrow.

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All four of them paced to and fro in Armaan's living room, with Raji still sitting on the couch. Yes four of them with Sanjay. He was told that Riddhima is getting married to some other guy and regretted his actions. So out of generosity, he offered to help Armaan to save his 'love'. For the past one hour they have been pondering over various options to get Riddhima out of the mess, but nothing seemed to work out.

"Fine, we'll get her kidnapped." Sanjay declared to which every one's mouth dropped to their knees and added "Except this I don't find any other choice. If we go in the right way, we can't win over Mr. Gupta. I am sure of that." Raji was dumb folded with the idea but soon she imagined Armaan, in a cow boy attire going and getting his lady princess Riddhima. She chuckled at her own thoughts and looked over at Armaan, who was still not out of the shock Sanjay had given.

"Ok. I don't mean a kidnap in the sense what you all are thinking." Sanjay chuckled slightly as four pairs of eyes have been staring at him and added "I just mean that we have to get Riddhima out from that place, without the knowledge of Mr.Gupta."

Initially everyone protested the idea but at last they agreed to it. Finally they settled over the couch to discuss the plan. "Since her marriage is at 9 in the morning, we need to reach her place by 6, that means we have to start by 5 in the morning." Sanjay started with the plan. Armaan jerked in his seat at it and said "Yaar. 5 in the morning? It's too early. Can't we start by 7 or 8?" not liking the idea of getting up that early. Immediately he got a smack on his arms by Raji and Muskaan.

"Why not Armaan? Then we can meet Mrs. Riddhima something and her husband by the time we reach there. I guess you don't want that right?" Sanjay glared at him as others giggled. "Shut up and keep quite. If Sanjay comes to know about your 'love story', we'll have to attend your funeral before Riddhima's wedding." Raji whispered in his ear. "Yeah… Yeah…. Fine." Armaan shifted uneasily. 'After all I am her so called lover' he muttered to himself, frustrated at the turn of events.

After a long discussion, they quickly had some dinner and retired to their respective rooms as they decided to stay at Armaan's place. Muskaan with Raji, Rahul with Armaan and Sanjay in the guest room in Armaan's three bedroom flat.

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"Armaan, get up." Sanjay yelled at the top of his voice to which Rahul jumped off the bed at once and Raji came running to the room along with Muskaan. But Armaan only turned to the other side, covering his ears with pillow. Sanjay had been trying to wake Armaan for the past 15 mins but in vain. He looked at Raji for some help but she shrugged her shoulders with a grin.

"Armaan, get up. It's already 4.30 am. Riddhima will get married if we are late." Sanjay shouted again shaking Armaan. "Let her get married. I don't care. Let me sleep. Why do you want me to wake up this early?" Armaan retorted back still in half sleep. Sanjay was infuriated while Raji, Rahul and Muskaan were worried at his blurts. "Actually, he hates to wake up early in the morning. Every day, I experience the same." Raji said sheepishly while Rahul and Muskaan prayed that Sanjay doesn't get suspicious.

"Oh. Fine. I know what to do." Sanjay said walking into the washroom thinking 'How can he sleep so peacefully when his girlfriend is getting married?' He came out with a bucket full of cold water and splashed it over Armaan's face. "Aaaaahhhhh" Armaan sat up in a flash and his eyes popped open and noticed everyone grinning at him. He rubbed his eyes off sleep and face off water and raised his eyebrow at Sanjay who stood with the bucket in his hand. "What?" he yelled at him.

"What what? Get up fast. We have to go to Riddhima's home." Sanjay glared at him while Rahul and Muskaan left to get ready. 'Basket's home?' he thought rubbing his eyes and then remembered of their plan. He sighed and said "Yeah. Basket's home. Let's go." He stepped out of the bed and ran into the washroom. "Aunty, you'll stay at home right?" Sanjay asked Raji softly. She patted his shoulder and nodded and they left the room.

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All the three boys waited in the car for Muskaan patiently. As per the plan, Muskaan has to get dressed well as she has to go into Riddhima's house. "Why does it take time for the girls to get dressed?" Armaan whined impatiently. After a moment, they heard Muskaan's voice and turned to look at her. Their jaws dropped to the floor as they saw Muskaan in a purple saree with silver embroidery looking gorgeous. As she walked to towards the car, they gawked at her with their mouths still open.

Sanjay came out of his trance first. "You are already committed, remember. You have no right to stare at her." He smacked Armaan and Rahul chucked while Armaan glared at them. Soon Muskaan got into the car and they left for Riddhima's house.

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-Sushmita

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