Saturday, 2 May 2020

Part 38 : Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

They walked in a line through the cave looking at the magnificent flowers and plants on the ground and watching their step avoiding puddles. Slowly they spread out in groups looking around the cave; there was a massive hole in the wall of the cave looking out onto the sea where the waves were crashing. Riddhima neared the edged looking out onto the sea when suddenly she felt a hard hand on the top of her arm, she was about to scream when another hand went over her mouth and she was pulled away...

 She was pushed up against the side of the cave; her eyes closed she tried to breathe but the heavy hand covered her mouth making it difficult for her to take in air; her heart was thumping madly against her chest as she struggled to get away. The person moved closer to her; so close their bodies were now touching; she could feel warm air against her neck as the person moved his lips to her ear and whispered.



??: I have something for you...

Hearing the very familiar voice her eyes snapped open and she stopped struggling. The person moved his hand off of her arm but still covered her mouth; he took something out of his pocket and presented it in his outstretched hand towards her.

??: This is a very rare flower...I found it just for you...

She looked down towards it in his hand and her body calmed down immediately. It was a beautiful purple, pink and blue flower, it looked a lot like a lily but there was something different about it which made it unique. Riddhima moved her hand up to take the flower from his hand and he moved his hand away from her mouth; she was blown away by the beauty of this flower that she had forgotten to be angry at him for handling her like that scaring the daylight out of her.

Ridz: - whispering – Armaan...this is beautiful...where did you find this...I read upstairs that it's rare and you can only find it in certain seasons...

Armaan: I know...but you're lucky...I found this for you...

Ridz: - hugging him – I love you... – then moving back suddenly - ...but I can't take this...

Armaan: Why not?

Ridz: How can I Armaan? – looking up at him - ...This is a rare flower and I can't take it from the cave...it needs to stay here... – then looking from the flower slowly to Armaan - ...but this really means a lot to me Armaan...I really love you for this...I love you...

Armaan: I love you too... – kissing her forehead

Riddhima took a few photos of the flower in her hand then they shared a cosy moment before going back to the gang. They roamed the cave for another fifteen minutes before walking back up the steep stairs to the cliff top where they brought souvenirs. They each brought something for themselves as a remembrance of this fantastic holiday. They were then taken to Cove Bay which was nearby; they enjoyed a calm picnic under swaying coconut trees, heard the sounds of waves and over looked beautiful scenery.

It was nearing seven when they were out of the countryside and back in the town. As it was Friday they were recommended to have dinner in one of the town's popular attractions; Fish-Fry. They had the opportunity to enjoy the best local food, a variety of fish plus lots of other "bajan" dishes, and island music making the evening very memorable in the casual setting. After hours of enjoyment they decided to go for midnight mini-golf at the Barbados Golf Club. They stuck to their same teams which they had played in the morning's volleyball match and played through 18-hole mini golf tournament. It was past midnight when they reached the hotel; extremely tried they fell asleep instantly.



On day six the gang woke up quite late as they had had a very tiring day before and had not slept till late in the night. When they did find themselves up they headed down to the beach for their usual beach sports and a swim knowing that there was only two days left to enjoy this beautiful clear water before going back home. A few hours later they made their way inside to freshen up before having lunch and thinking about the day ahead. They sat around the table having lunch when a heated discussion started up.

Armaan: Bhai I think we should go to the Concorde Experience...it just sounds way more exciting...

Muskaan: But we want to see the Harrison's Cave... – moaning

Anji: C'mon guys stop arguing and let's just settle for one place quickly...

Ridz: Dii...don't you think going to see the Cave would be better...

Abhi: C'mon Ridzi...Barbados is the only island which has the Concorde resting place in the Caribbean...and we're here so we should definitely go and see it...and I read in a brochure that you actually get to fly the plane...

Niki: It's just a game...

Abhi: No one was talking to you... – then ignoring her - ...and anyway we went to a cave yesterday...

Rahul: Please girls...let's just go to the Concorde Experience...we did go to a cave yesterday...it will be the same thing...

Muskaan: Actually Rahul it's not...this is different...there's an underground water fall surrounded by something like icicles...

Armaan: I say we separate and do what we want...because if we stick with these girls we'll be visiting cave after cave...

Abhi: You're right Armaan...

Ridz: What are you trying to say?

Atul: OKAY! – loudly making them all shut up, then he calmed down - ...No one is going to separate...

Armaan: But Bhai! – moaning – ...I know you're going to pick their side and we really don't want to go to another cave...

Atul: Armaan be quiet and just listen to what I have to say... – everyone was silent and looked in his direction - ...we'll visit both attractions...okay... – he looked around the table to see all smiles - ...now that's sorted let's eat up and get ready to go...

They finished their lunch and waited for the van to pick them up from the hotel and take them to the Grantley Adams International Airport where the Concorde was stationed. First they watched an introductory video which simulates take off, including the vibration of the plane and also witnessed the loud sonic boom of the plane which they enjoyed then they were given the opportunity to come close to the plane, walk under it, enter the plane, walk along the aisle, between the row of seats and look into the pilot's cockpit. The boys took the advantage of the trip by playing the game of flying the plane, making it dive, climb, loop etc. They flew quite well as they avoid crashing and then landed the plane on the same runway they took off from.

On the other hand the girls explored the museum and saw the real planes take off from the runway; when they went back downstairs to the guys they found that they were still playing the game; for them it was an experience they would never forget and they chatted away excitedly like a group of eleven year olds who had their dream come true. The girls walked behind them shaking their heads and laughing at their childishness as they got back into the van and made their way to Harrison's Cave.

As they reached there they were given a quick introduction video which excited the boys once again and the girls had to remind them that they didn't want to be here. Then they were seated in electronically operated trams which drove them down through tunnels. Atul and Anjali sat with Rahul and Muskaan in the first tram and Abhi and Nikita sat with Armaan and Riddhima in the second tram. Alongside the cave walls they could see pointy icicle like objects with water droplets; when they reached the lowest level point of the cave they got out of their trams and walked alongside a spectacular waterfall which plunged into a deep pool below. They clicked away at their cameras taking in this amazing view. It was really an amazing wonder and once again they left the cave talking about the beauty of the cave as they entered the souvenir shop. 

After buying more gifts they drove not too far away from the cave to Folkestone Beach where they were going to have a glass bottom boat trip. They hopped onto the boat and were taken to sea. In the middle of the boat there was a hole covered by glass allowing them to look into it and see beautiful coloured fish swimming around in schools in the water. It really was an amazing site; again they clicked away at their cameras.
They enjoyed the ride for an hour then made their way back to the shore relaxing on the sand. Half an hour later they made their way to Chaffette on the west coast to watch the sunset. Anjali and Atul had left the gang on the sand and walked hand in hand along the shore wetting their feet as the waves came in. Once they were out of sight Armaan moved to sit next to Riddhima, holding her hand they looked out to sea.

Ridz: - leaning her head on his shoulder – It's so beautiful...

Armaan: Hmm... – taking in the sweet scent from her hair

Ridz: Armaan...let's move here...buy a beach house and live here...life is so cool here...

Armaan: - grinning – Whatever you say...

Ridz: I'm just kidding... – smiling - ...but I wish we could just stay like this forever...

Armaan: I know what you mean...

Ridz: I can't believe this one week is almost finish...time really does fly fast... - sadly

Armaan: What have I told you... – looking down at her - ...nothing lasts forever...everything has to come to an end...and instead of thinking of the sad bit just enjoy the rest of your time here and stop thinking of going back until you actually reach there... – Riddhima nodded and he kissed her forehead

They looked back out onto the horizon taking in the beautiful view of sun dipping into the water in silence. Rahul and Muskaan were sat a little further both also enjoying this moment of togetherness and whispering sweetness to each other. Abhi sat a bit away from Armaan; he laid back on the sand he enjoyed the coolness of the evening. Nikita sat a few spaces away from Riddhima lost in her thoughts as she saw the sun disappearing below the sea.

Niki: - thoughts as she slowly turned to face Abhi and Suman's words echoed through her mind – Can we really be together?...Does he even think about me?...All these moments with couples around us...does he never think that maybe...me and him... – shaking that thought out of her mind she turned back to the horizon - ...no way Niki...he never thinks about you and never will...you may as well forget about him... – once again shaking that thought out of her mind - ...I can't forget him...I don't even know why I like him so much...after all he says and does...I can't stop thinking about him...I just hope he realises this sooner rather than later...

She was shook out of her thoughts by Riddhima, looking around she could see that Riddhima sat beside her and Muskaan and Anjali stood there wondering what was wrong.

Ridz: Niki? – putting her hand on her shoulder - ...Are you okay?

Niki: Huh? – looking around – ...I'm...I'm fine...

She looked around to see the sun had finally disappeared, the lights had come on, Anjali was back and everyone was moving around.

Niki: Where are the guys? – standing up and dusting the sand off of her clothes

Anji: They've gone to order... – settling down onto bench

Niki: Oh...looks like I got carried away watching the sunset...

Muskaan: I don't blame you...it's just breath taking...

Ridz: It's a shame we don't get to see it in England...

Anji: Yeah...but that's what holidays are for... – smiling

A few moments later the guys came back with drinks and appetisers and they all munched away until the pizzas arrived. They went back to the hotel a bit early that night and sat around by the poolside bar enjoy the cool night air before hitting their beds.



The next day they woke up slightly early wanting to enjoy their last few hours on the island; they hit the beach at eight in the morning with their usual swim, beach sports and relaxation until eleven, it was quite warm when they went inside to freshen up. They had decided to go to the town for last minute shopping for gifts for people they had forgot. After two hours of rushing around buying stuff they had lunch at Chaffette.

Atul: One thing I'm really going to miss is this pizza...I really haven't tasted any pizza as delicious as this...

Ridz: I know Jiju...this is too delicious...and the ice cream...yummmy...

Armaan: Calm down... – laughing at her

Rahul: I'm going to miss the beach...

Anji: Me too...

Abhi: Me three...

Muskaan: I think the hotel was great...

Niki: Yeah the view from our room...it's a shame I won't be waking up to that from tomorrow... – making a face

After lunch they crammed into a ZR van for their final roller coaster ride heading to the hotel to do their final bit of packing. They reached there in ten minutes and packed away all their belongings, Riddhima took pictures of their rooms and view of the beach from their balcony, she was clicking away when she felt a hand on her waist making her gasp she turned around to see Armaan standing close to her.

Ridz: Armaan...you scared me...what are you doing... – trying to move away - ...dii will be here any minute...

Armaan: No she won't...they've gone down already...they said to meet them in five minutes...Niki and Abhi have gone already...Rahul and Muskaan are in the other room...so calm down...I just want to spend the last few minutes in this room with you...

Ridz: - looking calm she hugged him – Armaan...I love you...

Armaan: I love you too baby...and I have something for you...

Ridz: - moving back – Kya? – excitedly

Armaan: Wait here... – he went inside and came back out a minute later with a tiny gift box about 5x5cm and presented it to her in his outstretched hand - ...for you...

Riddhima stood there in shock at this cute gesture and wasn't sure if she wanted to open the box, unsure of what cute surprise she would find but he urged her to take it. She took off the lid to find an exact replica of the rare flower he had found for her in Animal Flower Cave; the only thing was that this was made from crystal. She looked at it in awe tears welling up in her eyes. She took it and hugged Armaan again, he caressed her hair allowing her to have her moment until there was a knock on the door making them spring apart, but luckily Rahul popped his head around the door.

Rahul: If you guys are ready...shall we go before the plane takes off without us... - smiling

Ridz: - wiping her tear – Rahul...

Armaan: - holding her hand – Come...

They got into the lift both couples in embrace until they got to the ground; the others were waiting in the lounge.

Anji: You guys took your time...

Armaan: Sorry bhabs...it was Rahul...he couldn't stay away from his Muskaan...

Rahul, Muskaan and Riddhima smiled knowingly as they made their way to the van saying bye to the receptionist on their way out. They arrived at the airport and checked in; soon after they found themselves sitting in the air-conditioned plane which made them miss the heat already. Armaan held onto her hand knowing that she was already scared, in her other hand she held onto her crystal flower, looking down at it she smiled, then looking at him she thanked him through her eyes and the rest of the flight went smoothly as they all thought of the great week they had.



Back in England the next day was gloomy and they all groaned as they collected their luggage and made their way out of the arrivals lounge but smiles quickly came back their faces as they met their families; everyone had come to the airport to collect them. They each hugged their parents except Muskaan and Abhi whose parents couldn't make it. The gang said their byes as they all separated and went their own way home with their families. Nikita went with her parents thanking Atul and Anjali for making this holiday possible. Abhi and Muskaan went home with Rahul's parents and Atul, Anjali and Armaan went home with Nandani and Vikram leaving Riddhima to go with her parents. She felt a slight pang in her chest as she said bye to Armaan and walking away in the other direction but quickly forgot about it thinking that they would meet again very soon.

Riddhima chatted away with her parents about all the places they visited and the things they did. They were really pleased to see their daughter full of joy as they drove home. They arrived an hour later and Riddhima hit the shower, finally feeling fresh she unpacked her suitcase putting away her stuff, she placed the crystal flower onto her dresser and stared at it as all the moments of her and Armaan together rushed into her mind making her smile widen but she jumped out of her thoughts as Padma walked into the room making her turn around.

Padma: Do you want some help?

Ridz: Nahi mama...but come in...I've brought so many things for you...

They went through the souvenirs that Riddhima had brought and Padma was really happy when Riddhima gifted her a shell ornament. They put away everything and made their way downstairs after some time. Riddhima gifted Shashank a key ring shaped like a footprint filled with sand and shells and a t-shirt. Sometime later they had lunch and relaxed during the afternoon. Riddhima showed them all the photos she had taken making them wish they had also come along as it was extremely beautiful and looked like a lot of fun.

Later on in the evening they were invited to have dinner at the Maliks' place. They arrived there at six in the evening; they all settled down in the living room filling in the elders about their exciting holiday. Riddhima had brought a few souvenirs for Nandani and Vikram which they loved instantly and thanked her.

Anji: The hotel was really nice...if you guys go you must stay in that hotel...it's just beautiful...

Ridz: Yes...and the view from our room was the best...it over looked the resort and the pool as well as the beach...it was very, very beautiful...I have photos... – searching in her bag for her camera

Armaan: Okay...okay you don't have to rub it in that you had the best room...we all know...

Atul: Calm down Armaan... – then turning to the others - ...the best was the food...the Chaffette restaurant has THE BEST pizza ever!

Armaan: Bhai...all you can think about is food? – laughing

Ridz: It was really nice though...everywhere...the pizza and do you guys remember the Fish-Fry...that was also really delicious...

Anji: Hmm...yeah...the Caves were also very interesting...

Armaan: And dad...guess where we went...

Vikram: You tell me... – laughing

Armaan: The Concorde Experience... – amazed

Shashank: Wow...that's great...I've read about it...it sounds very interesting...you all are very lucky you went there...

Armaan: Uncle it was not just great...it was amazing... – excitedly – ...in the museum we had the opportunity to fly the Concorde...

Vikram and Shashank looked at him as he was fibbing then he controlled himself and spoke up seriously making everyone laugh at him.

Armaan: No seriously...I mean...it's an imitation but it was so realistic it gave you a tingle in your nerves...it really was a great experience...seriously...

Vikram: Okay Armaan...we believe you... – everyone laughed at him

Armaan: Fine...I won't say anything ... – acting childish

Riddhima laughed at his innocence and thought he was really cute. This was one of the very first times that she had actually shown this side of her feelings while in the presence of their parents and she quickly pulled herself together looking around to see if anyone had noticed her before going back to normal.

Sometime later dinner was served and they carried on chatting away while eating when Vikram brought up a topic making everyone excited.

Vikram: Hmmm suno... – to everyone – ...me and Nandani were thinking of going back home for two weeks...

Armaan: Yes dad that's a great idea...that's really cool...when are we going? – excitedly

Nandani: We haven't decided yet...we were just thinking...but...

Armaan: But what?

Nandani: Armaan...calm down... – a bit annoyed as kept butting in - ...we all know you are going...

Everyone laughed and even he thought he was over doing it a bit now so he calmed down and ate away in silence.

Atul: That's really a great idea dad...but work? – turning to Shashank - ...I'll stay back...

Shashank: No beta...you should go...don't worry about work...really...

Atul: But I've just had a week off...how can I...

Shashank: Atul beta...you're not a worker there...it's your place...you can go and come when you want...

Atul: Thanks Papa...

Vikram: Riddhima beta... – suddenly

Ridz: - jumping out of her thoughts she looked up – Ji Uncle?

Vikram: We would also like it if you come along with us...

Ridz: - thinking – WOW that's so cool...it sounds great but...if I say yes right away they might think I'm desperate and then...what if...everyone finds out about me and Armaan...I would love to go and spend more time but I don't think it's a good idea...

Nandani: Riddhima beta... – bringing her back to reality - ...are you okay?

Ridz: Huh? – looking up – ...I mean...Ji Aunty...I'm fine... - smiling

Nandani: Will you come with us?

Ridz: Umm...I'll think about it... – smiling

Atul: C'mon Ridzi...

Anji: Haan Ridz...come with us... – sort of pleading

Ridz: Jiju...Dii...I'll think about it and let you know soon...

Armaan prayed silently for her to say yes and they had a quick five second conversation through their eyes; Armaan begged her to come and she answered by blinking, she'll think about it. They went back into the living room after dinner; Anjali and Riddhima tidied up the kitchen before joining them for a family movie before the Guptas' went home.

After saying bye; the Guptas' settled in their car making their way home a bit late that night; in the back seat Riddhima silently debated with herself if she should go or not.

Ridz: - thinking – I really want to go...what will I do here without Armaan for two weeks...I can't...I'd love to go to their home...spend time with their family and dii...having fun...if I stay here I'll be so bored...I'll miss him so much...but I can't say yes just like that...what should I do...? – tapping her finger on her cheek – ...Hmm...what should I do...? – then looking up brightly – ...I know...if mama and papa allow me to go I'll go...if not I'll just have to stay here...it's worth a tray...I'll just ask them what they think...they never say no...then I'll get to spend two weeks with Armaan... – smiling happily as she found her answer

They reached home five minutes later and they made their way to the living room, settling down on the sofa Riddhima decided this was the best time to ask them.

Ridz: Papa...Mama... – getting their attention

Shashank: Yes Riddhima?

Ridz: Papa...do you think I should go with them?

Shashank and Padma looked at each other and had a silent conversation before turning to Riddhima.

Padma: Riddhima...I... – not sure how to say it

Shashank: Riddhima...we don't think you should go... – finishing off from Padma's sentence

Ridz: - looked up in shock, this was the last thing she had expected to hear – Par...par kyun? – confused

Shashank: We will tell you when we think the time is right...but for the moment we don't think you should go...

Riddhima sat there in silence going through what she had just heard; she did not believe this was the first time her parents had told her no for something and she wondered why. Finally coming to her senses she decided that what her parents wished was what she would do but still her mind was confused.

Ridz: Theek hain papa...if you think it's not right then it's okay...I won't go... – forcing a smile – ...goodnight...

They both replied and she went upstairs her mind full of questions wondering why her parents refused for the very first time. She scrambled in bed, her mind still working over time.

Ridz: - thinking – I wonder why they said no...why...? – her mind popped question after question confusing her even more – ...What if... – suddenly her eyelids snapped open - ...what if mama and papa know about me and Armaan... – sitting up in bed looking shocked...
..................................


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