Thursday, 12 December 2019

PART 23 : Mr. & Mrs. Mallik

"Armaan, stop studying now." Riddhima glared at him for the umpteenth time in the evening. It was just a night before the exams and according to her, a person is not supposed to study. But he being his adamant self, was hell bent on studying the previous night.

"Basket, kyaa yaar? When I didn't want to study, you made me sit and study. Now when I want to study, you are making me do the opposite." He whined as she snatched the book away. He folded his legs on the bed and pouted, making his best puppy face ever.

"Stop it Armaan. That's not going to work. Shut up and go to sleep." She scolded him, standing before the dressing table, drying her hair. She couldn't help but smile at his face.

Noticing her smiling, his hand made its way to the bedside table picking up another book. But before he could hold the book properly, she turned around glaring. Being caught, he let go off the book which fell down the table scattering few papers in it.

"Armaan?" She was ready to pounce on him. How could this guy know how to irritate a person to the saturation? He knew very well how to press the wrong buttons all at a time. She found him smiling reluctantly. He knew very well how to press the right buttons as well, she thought trying her best not to smile at his face written of something like fear???

"Sorry, I'll gather the papers." He said as he noticed her walking back towards the bed. As he bent down, he found few photographs along with the papers. While she was busy in sorting out the papers, he grinned looking at the photographs closely. They were her childhood photos.

"Basket, you were cute, almost naked." Her heart stopped beating at his words. She remained still, rewinding his words trying to find whether he uttered the words she listened. How can his mere words send shivers down her spine, she wondered. And what kind of cheesy line is that? Slowly she turned around and to her utter surprise found him laughing silently clutching his stomach. She then looked at the photos in his hand and sighed.

"Armaan" she said exasperatedly. For a moment, what had she thought listening to his words? Her cheeks burned as she pondered over his words again. "Shut up." She added, quite flushed up at his remark.

"I am serious Basket, look!" he said showing her the photograph. She smiled shyly looking at it. It was a picture of hers when she was probably four. "But who is this?" she was snapped back out of her world with his question.

She looked at the photograph in his hand and her heart twisted in pain. Her eyes welled up as she answered back. "My sister, Anjali." She whispered looking away.

He noticed the pain in her voice and pulled her back to bed, as they lay silent. "I am sorry." He whispered slowly caressing her hair. "Why did she leave you?" he asked after a moment.

She sighed closing her eyes. "She loved her classmate, when she was doing MBA four years before. But dad didn't like that guy and fixed her marriage with his friend's son. So she just ran away from her wedding." She said but added after a pause "Like I did from my wedding."

He pulled her closer in his embrace, kissing her tear away. "I am glad you did." He whispered and planted a soft kiss on her forehead.

"So am I" she whispered back leaning onto him. "But I miss her. She was the only person close to my heart after my mom, before you came into my life." She added. She didn't understand why, but felt like talking to him about all this pent up sorrow in her heart.

"Did you talk to her after that?" he asked.

"She used to call home initially when dad was at office. I talked to her then. She told me she got married to that guy. But once dad caught us talking and I was too scared of dad to talk to her the next time when she called. Eventually she stopped calling. And I don't know where she is now." She replied turning in his hold.

He squeezed her body in his embrace and she sighed as a sudden warmth filled her heart along with her body. "Waise Basket, one manager and one doctor. I am sure how your house would have appeared during exams. A perfect example of a library." He whispered abruptly after a long silence only to receive a smack on his chest.

She opened her eyes startled at his words. She expected something entirely different form him. But then he was Armaan and this wasn't something unlike him. And moreover with the mention of library, her mind drifted off to the passionate moment they shared and her heart rose to her cheeks. "Shut up." She scoffed to cover her blush from him else he would leave no stone unturned in teasing her. "My sister was a genius. She didn't need to study much. She did her MBA from IIM-S." She added proudly.

He grinned looking at the scoff on her face in the dim lights. But then suddenly something rang in his brain at her words. But he put it aside and said impulsively "I love you."

She was startled yet again. This was abrupt, she thought. But then it brought a smile on her face. "I know. Me too" she said giggling. She turned and hugged him tight burying her face under his chin. "I wish I could stay like this forever." She added in a mere whisper.

He smiled contently tightening his hold on her. "Why stay like this when we can do much more?" he added huskily bending down slightly to reach her ear. He felt her momentarily stiffen.

"Armaan!" she glared raising his head up. "Leave me, stupid" she muttered wiggling in his hold. She hit his chest with her tiny fist and pushed herself away from his putting her hands against his chest. But his hold was way too much for her to get herself free. "Leave. Now!" she seethed.

He grinned at her futile attempts for a second and released her. She fell back on the bed almost instantaneously due to the force which she was pushing herself off him. She gaped at him for a split second and threw the pillow in his face. And with this started the usual fight of Mr. & Mrs. Mallik.


"Riddhima, don't get tensed." Armaan tried to calm her down waling behind her like a puppy. Riddhima being herself was feeling nervous regarding the exam that day and he being himself trying to ease her nervousness.

"I know. I know." She turned to him trying to smile, which failed badly.

"God, Don't smile. Better." He said hastily noticing her fake smile. As she walked towards the dressing table and stood infront of it, he went and sat on the chair beside her. Examining her makeup stuff and asking the uses of it as if he was doing a research paper on them. He asked stupid doubts trying to divert her mind from the exam tension which worked perfectly- actually extraordinarily that she was irritated after few minutes.

"Basket, why don't you apply lipstick." He asked her pulling out a lipstick. He knew many girls like it, but realized she hadn't been applying lately. He smelled it and wondered about its taste out of curiousness but she snatched it away from him.

"I don't apply it because I know it will get smudged when you kiss me." She replied absentmindedly tying her hair in a neat bun. "I don't want you to roam in the hospital with pink lips and also-" she stopped midsentence realizing what she was saying. She looked at him hoping he hadn't heard her but the damage was already done.

He stood infront of her grinning naughtily for a moment and then placed his lips on hers while she sighed helplessly giving in after an initial shock. He kissed her tenderly as if trying to take away all her tension and fill her brain with calmness and she responded with equal tenderness.

"I prefer them without lipstick." He said after breaking away brushing her lower lip with his thumb before pulling her into a warm hug. She opened her eyes slowly and smiled at him, eyes twinkling, almost in a daze.

"Armaan, Riddhima! You are getting late." She pushed him back when they heard Raji shouting for them. She was actually felling calmer after his warm hug and a gentle kiss. After having a last glance at herself in the mirror she pulled him and ran to the dining table.

"Come. Have breakfast." Raji smiled looking at them walking hand in hand. She laughed when they gulped the breakfast as fast as they could.

"All the best. Don't get tensed." Raji told to Riddhima hugging her while leaving.

"And you. Atleast stay in the exam hall for the allotted time. All the best." She hugged Armaan while Riddhima giggled listening to her words.

"Bye. We will be back by noon." Armaan said and they rushed out of their home.


"Basket, this is the best exam I have ever given." Armaan hugged her tightly almost lifting her off the ground twirling in happiness. "All thanks to you." He added.

"Armaan, put me down." She said extremely conscious of the people around them who were by then staring at them. He placed her down immediately smiling sheepishly at the people.

"How was yours?" he asked looking at her.

"Very good." She replied smiling widely. More than the fact that she did extremely well in the exam, it was his happiness that filled her heart with unknown warmth.

"Perfect. Let's go. Raji must be waiting." He said as they walked through the corridor towards the parking lot.

During the ride, back home, she was drowned in her own thoughts planning on how to ask him to marry her- again!?! Though she had been dying to talk to him regarding that, she kept it aside for the last month keeping in view the exam. But now she wanted to talk to him as soon as possible, as she wanted to marry him with all the rituals before taking a step ahead in their relationship, for she knew they wouldn't be able to wait for long, considering the intimacy growing between them. And as that thought crossed her mind, she blushed deeply.

Armaan was amused looking at the display of various emotions on her face, from the side mirror. He wondered what she might be thinking. But when he saw her blushing and smiling dreamily, he knew it had to be something regarding him and that thought brought a smile to his lips.

"Basket, where are you? What are you thinking?" he asked her noticing the lost look on her face when they got into the elevator. He was sure she had been thinking about something serious.

"Huh? Nothing." She replied. "Just random stuff." She added. He wondered about the random stuff.

"Raji!" Armaan shouted entering the house. Before Raji could speak something, he pulled her to the living room and started dancing with her twirling her with him while Raji giggled like a teenager. "Finally, the stupid exam is over and guess what, I did well in it." He said as if he had done something next to impossible.

Riddhima smiled looking at them. She sat on the couch and watched him swaying Raji to some random tune. 'My perfect family' she thought looking at them. Unknown to herself her eyes welled up and a lone tear slipped down her cheek.

Raji noticed Riddhima's tears and signaled Armaan to stop dancing. She went and sat beside her on the couch and asked her what happened through her eyes, wiping the tear. Riddhima smiled at her though her tears. "I love you." She uttered while Raji chuckled at a bewildered Armaan.

"Kya yaar Basket. You cry when you are sad and you also cry when you are happy. How should I differentiate between the both. Not fair." He whined childishly only to receive a playful slap from her.

"Okay! Get ready. We will go out." He declared after a moment.

"Where?" came the question from both the ladies.

'Restaurant, for lunch." He replied back glancing at the watch. "15 mins. Or else I'll go alone." He added and noticed them running inside. He shook his head smiling and moved towards his room conveniently forgetting the fact it is their room instead of his.

He went into the room without bothering to knock it once. He noticed Riddhima standing beside the bed with her back facing him, shuffling the wardrobe and walked in admiring her. The next moment he frowned when he noticed her hold her kurta at the lower end. His eyes widened in horror the next moment when she pulled it up till her waist.

"Riddhima, WAIT!!" he squealed.

Riddhima jumped, startled when she heard his voice in the room. She almost forgot that they share the room and hence forgot to lock it when she came in, to change her top. She lost her balance due to the sudden moment and fell on the bed, flat on her back. This was the first time in the entire month that they were in such a situation and didn't understand what to say to him.

"Armaan?" she said hesitantly as she composed herself and stood fixing her kurta.

"Sorry." He mumbled and ran out of the room while she turned red due to embarrassment. When he left the room, she quickly locked the door and sat on the bed rewinding what just happened. As the embarrassment subsided after a minute, she laughed recalling the puzzled expression on his face.

He was utterly shocked as she was. And the next moment he broke into fits of laughter as he remembered her face when she heard his shout and fell on the bed. That was surely one of the million, he concluded.

"Armaan? Why are you laughing?" Raji asked surprised at finding him sitting on the couch and laughing to himself.

He looked at her for a split second and burst into a fresh laughter the next moment. Raji looked at him puzzled and joined him in his laughter though she was unknown to the reason.

Riddhima came out of the room and was shocked out of wits to find them both laughing like mad people, Raji on the couch and Armaan on the bean bag almost falling off it, clutching his stomach.

"Aunty? What happened?" she asked Raji sitting beside her.

"I don't know Riddhima." Raji said now smiling. "I came from room and found him laughing like hell. That made me laugh too." She added.

Riddhima stared at her and then at him for a second and then understood why he might be laughing. "Armaan" she glared at him, signaling him to stop laughing.

He looked at her when he heard her voice. He sat straight for a moment struggling to refrain himself from laughing but in vain. He started laughing once again while Raji joined him smiling. Riddhima stared at them for a few seconds trying to maintain a straight face but finally ended up laughing her heart out with them.

After laughing for what seemed like eternity, they sat silent in the living room trying to catch their breaths. Riddhima got up and went to the kitchen to have some water. She brought the bottle and gave it to Raji who then passed it to Armaan.

"Thanks" he said smiling at Riddhima. He didn't had the energy now to laugh, so he satisfied himself with a smile. She was sure he would embarrass her with the stupid moment for long and sighed.

Finally when they were back to normal, they left for the restaurant to spend a day leisurely.



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