Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Part 42: Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

Riddhima had packed her bags that night with help from Naina and Dhruv who were really happy that she was coming with them and would be staying for a week. Dhruv wore a smile throughout the rest of his stay and thanked his Badi Ma and Bade Papa for letting her come, he spoke like he was marrying her and taking her away from them, telling them not to worry about her and she would be perfectly okay with them which made everyone laugh at him. They went to sleep quite early that night as they were supposed to leave at six the next morning.

They were all still quite sleepy while having their breakfast at five thirty the next morning apart from Shubhankar who rushed them all. Half an hour later they were ready to leave and they all thanked Shashank and Padma for the wonderful time they had during their short stay before saying their final goodbyes. They settled down in the car ready for their long journey home all very quiet and drifting off to sleep again as it was a gloomy morning and quite chilly. Riddhima sat in the back of the van with Dhruv who surprisingly was fast asleep by the time they got onto the motorway; she looked over at him and smiled at his innocence before turning to look out of the window listening to the music on her iPod while her mind began to wander.



Ridz: - thinking – Why am I having goose bumps...? – rubbing her arms – ...This is not the first time I'm going away...then why am I feeling so anxious...it feels like I'm going away from Armaan... – closing her eyes and thinking about him - ...Armaan...where are you...I miss you so much...why are you not answering my calls...what's wrong...? – her eyes snapped open as a sudden thought entered her mind - ...Nahi...nothing has happened...I mean...if it was something like that then they would call home and let us know...no nothing is wrong with him... – calming herself down - ...then why don't you want to speak to me...the only other reason could be...

Riddhima shook her head taking that thought out of her mind and looked out of the window again at the raindrops forming on the glass, she watched as they trickled down one after the next.

Ridz: - thinking – Armaan...as much as I don't want to think this...but this is the only reason why I think you don't want to talk to me...I thought we loved each other...but then...why are you avoiding me...is it because...because you have...found another girl... – shutting her eyes tight as she finally cleared her mind

She slowly opened her eyes and looked out of the window, the weather outside had mirrored her feelings and tears formed in her eyes, slowly falling down onto her cheeks like the raindrops on the glass. She let them fall silently as she carried on looking out onto the fields flashing by outside until they had reached their destination, clearing her eyes and cheeks quickly she forced a smile on her face as Dhruv had woken up and started chatting away now very excited that they were almost home.

The weather had suddenly changed and the sun was shining as they stepped out of the car and made their way into the house, leaving Shubhankar and Sid to bring the luggage in.

Dhruv: - pulling Riddhima's hand – C'mon Riddhi...I'm going to show you all my toys...

Keerti: Dhruv...calm down...let Riddhima relax first...you have a whole week to show her your toys...

Dhruv: But mum... – moaning

Ba: Dhruv not now...Riddhima is tired let her relax first okay...?

Dhruv: Okay... – making a face

Naina: Dhruv...why don't you go and fix your room first...I don't think Riddhima wants to see a messy room...

Dhruv: - looked at Riddhima who shook her head – Okay...

Ba: Ao meri Gudia... – hugging her and taking her into the living room

They settled down in the living room and Ba told Riddhima how happy she was that she had come along with them. They chatted away for some time, Shubhankar had rushed off to the office right away and Sid disappeared into his room, Keerti started in the kitchen and Naina helped her. Sometime later Naina came into the living room and asked Riddhima to come with her.

Ba: Jao... – gesturing for her to go

Ridz: Ji Ba...

Naina: Come...I'll show you around our home...

They walked through to the kitchen where Keerti was and looked around.

Keerti: Naina...get Riddhima a drink...

Ridz: Chachi I'm fine...don't worry...

Naina: C'mon Ridz don't be so formal...what would you like?

Ridz: Nothing really...I'm okay...

Naina: You have to have something...

Ridz: Fine...I'll have a glass of water...

Naina: That's it? – making a face

Ridz: Yeah that's it... – smiling

Naina got her a glass of water then they walked into the dining room before going up stairs. Naina showed her around each of the rooms then they went into her room

Ridz: Your house is really beautiful... – settling down on the end of the bed

Naina: It's quite small compared to yours...but it's enough for the six of us...

Ridz: Small? – doing a double take - ...Are you serious? I think it's perfect...three floors and two guest rooms...that's huge!

Naina: Thanks...so you choose where ever you would like to stay and we'll have your luggage moved there...

Ridz: Hmm...any where...really it's okay...

Naina: Okay you can decide later...but I'm really very happy you're here...at least this holiday won't be boring...

Ridz: Why is that...

Naina: We usually don't do much in the holiday...just spend time at home being bored...almost all my friends go abroad for their holiday and I'm stuck here...it was really nice going to your place and now you're here...so it should be great...

Ridz: Don't worry...it will be...

Naina: So tell me more about... – she was cut off as her room door flung open

Dhruv: Hey! That's not fair...you showed Riddhi around the house and not my room...

Naina: When will you learn to knock on my door...

Dhruv: It's not your door...you didn't pay for it... – sticking his tongue out at her

Naina: You... – getting up and chasing him around the room

Dhruv: - hid behind Riddhima – Riddhi...save me...

Ridz: - laughing at the pair of them – C'mon Dhruv... – pulling him out from behind her - ...say sorry to Naina...

Dhruv: Never... – sticking his tongue out again

Ridz: Dhruv...that's not very nice...say sorry to your sister... – turning to face him - ...or I won't come to see your room...

Dhruv: - instantly jumped up – Okay...I'm sorry... – to Naina, then turning to Riddhima – ...okay Riddhi...come let's go to my room... – pulling her up

Ridz: Chalo... – walking out behind him

Dhruv: - opening the door in grand style – SURPRISE!!

They looked around at the room, there was a bunk bed in one corner and the room was jam packed with toys and games everywhere, there was a huge rug in the middle of the room and two bean bags at the side by the window. It seemed like a total ten year old bedroom full of things to do and she loved it.

Ridz: Wow Dhruv this room is so cool...I love it... – stepping in and looking around

Dhruv: Thank you... – beaming – ...come in and see my toys...

Naina: Ridz...I'll just be back...

Ridz: Yeah sure...

Naina left the two of them to explore the room, Dhruv showed Riddhima all of his favourite toys and books, they settled on the bean bags and played games; both having lots of fun for hours until Sid walked into the room.

Sid: Hey little bro...this is your idea of kidnapping Riddhima... – laughing

Dhruv: I didn't kidnap her...we're playing...

Sid: Ridz...how old are you...

Ridz: C'mon Sid...I love this game...and I think its fair that now and then you should also play with your little brother...

Sid: I have better things to do...

Ridz: I can see that...from the time we came home you've disappeared into your room...

Dhruv: Yeah...because he talks to his girlfriend... – teasing

Sid: Shut up twert...

Dhruv: Don't call me that...I'm going to tell mum... – rushing out of the room shouting – ...mum Bhai called me a bad word...

Ridz: - turning to Sid – Girlfriend? – smiling

Sid: Nah...was just on the net...

Ridz: Sure... – teasing

Naina: - walking into the room – C'mon lunch is ready...

They went downstairs to have lunch. Later that evening they relaxed at home and Riddhima had asked to see baby photos and videos which they had to show her, Sid found it highly embarrassing but they made him stay and watch with them until the end. It was great fun throughout and they all found it really sweet when they had reached Dhruv's baby video, Sid and Naina teased him but Ba, Keerti and Riddhima told him how cute he was. When the video had come to an end the doorbell rung and Sid found this a great time to escape before they could tease him again.

Dhruv: He ran away... – laughing

Naina: Don't worry we'll get him...

Sid: - walking back into the room – It's for you... – to Dhruv

Dhruv: Who is it?

Sid: Harsh and your friends...they want you to come out...

Dhruv: - jumping up – Mum can I go out to play?

Keerti: Go on...

Dhruv: Come on Riddhi...you can meet my friends...

Naina: You go...why do you have to take Riddhima everywhere you go...

Sid: Next he'll be taking her into the toilet with him... – laughing

Dhruv: Shut up...

Keerti: Dhruv...don't talk to your bhai like that...

Dhruv: He started it... – moaning

Ridz: Chalo Dhruv...let's go...

Keerti: Riddhima...you don't have to go if you don't want to...

Ridz: It's okay Chachi...

Naina: I'll come with you...

Riddhima, Dhruv and Naina went outside to meet Dhruv's friend Harsh, Dhruv introduced Riddhima to him and they walked to the end of the road to the playground where Dhruv's other friends were. They crowded around him as he entered through the gates.

Dhruv: Hi everyone...this is Riddhi...

Everyone: Hi...

Dhruv: Riddhi...come let's sit on the swing...

Ridz: Okay...

They all spread out and went over to the other activity areas and the slide and climbing frame, Riddhima and Dhruv sat on the swing. Riddhima felt like a kid again as she swung freely back and forth enjoying the wind blowing through her hair. Sometime later Dhruv got off and walked away to his friends and Naina sat on the swing next to Riddhima.

Ridz: This feels so great...I can't remember the last time I sat on a swing...

Naina: Me too...feels like we're kids again...

They looked over to the kids who were stood in a huddle around Dhruv, slowing down on the swings Naina and Riddhima looked at each other curiously when one of the boys came over to them and the others hovered around listening to him as he stepped in front of Riddhima making her stop the swing.

Harsh: Can I ask you something?

Ridz: Of course...go on... - smiling

Harsh: Are you Dhruv's... – whispering – ...girlfriend?

Ridz: - looked up in surprise at Naina who was smiling – Umm... – looking over at Dhruv who was shaking his head asking her to say yes, she smiled – ...yes...

Harsh turned around and ran back to them to tell them what Riddhima said, they all cheered and hugged Dhruv then sometime later went back to playing; Riddhima and Naina looked from them to each other and laughed. A few moments later a group of boys walked into the playground looking over at them, Riddhima recognised Sid walking with them at the back. They all stared at the girls while walking through the playground to the basket ball court at the other end. Sid noticed the girls sitting on the swings and shouted over to them.

Sid: - shouting – How old are two...

Naina: Get lost...

Sid: The swings will break...

Ridz: Shut up...

They guys went over to the basket ball court and started their match, every few minutes they would look over at Riddhima who ignored them completely and carried on watching the kids playing. It was getting dark when they walked back home, they relaxed for sometime before having dinner, Shubhankar was still not back when they had settled down to watch television, but just as Riddhima was about to ask when she noticed it was nearing ten o'clock and at the same time the front door opened and he walked into the living room.

Shubhankar: Wow...full house...everyone okay?

Keerti: Everyone's fine... – getting up - ...you're so late today...

Shubhankar: Yeah...long meeting... – then looking around - ...Riddhima you okay...not bored are you...

Dhruv: Dad...how can she feel bored when I'm here...

Ridz: - laughing along with the others – No Chachu...I'm fine...

Shubhankar: That's good...carry on with your film...

Keerti: Go and freshen up...I'll ready up your dinner... – leaving the room with him

The rest carried on watching the film till late in the night, Dhruv falling asleep in Riddhima's lap once again. It was one thirty when they made their way upstairs to their rooms very tired, everyone falling asleep right away.



The rest of the week went extremely fast in Riddhima's view; everyday was packed with things to do and places to go with Sid, Naina and Dhruv. It was full on entertainment, going out to malls, cinema, bowling, ice skating, theme parks, parks and restaurants. She had so much fun that she didn't even have time to think about Armaan, during the day there was never a spare moment to sit and think and by the time her head touched the pillow on her bed at night she would fall asleep not thinking once about Armaan. By the time she realised it was her last evening with them, Shubhankar had come home early that evening so that they could go out and have dinner at a restaurant. They had a great time, when they came home they sat together for a family movie before going to bed.



Riddhima woke up early the next morning and packed her bags, she really didn't feel like going back once it had hit her that she would have to face Armaan and she had absolutely no words left to say to him. Before her mind could start wandering her room door was flung open making her look up suddenly.

Naina: - to Dhruv – How many times do I have to tell you to knock on the door? – angrily

Dhruv: - walking towards Riddhima – I'm sorry...

Ridz: It's okay... – smiling

Dhruv: - holding her hand gently – Riddhi...please don't go... – sadly

Ridz: - sitting down on the bed and looking sadly at him – Dhruv... – slowly

Dhruv: No...I don't want to hear anything... – tears welling up in his eyes shocking Riddhima - ...please Riddhi don't go...I want you to stay here with me...please don't go... – tears falling from his eyes

Ridz: - in shock to see him crying she feels very sad – Dhruv... – embracing him - ...I'm sorry...but I have to go...I really wish I could stay...but you know that I only came here for a week...but listen... – moving back and making him look at her - ...you can always come down to my home whenever you want to...and I will come back here...I'm not going forever...now we'll meet all the time...

Dhruv: Promise...?

Ridz: Only if you don't cry...

Dhruv: But I feel like crying because you're going... – more tears trickled down his cheeks

Ridz: And if you cry then I will fell like crying...and I know you don't want to see me cry...

Dhruv: No...I don't want to see you cry... – wiping his cheeks

Ridz: That's better...

Dhruv: So you promise?

Ridz: I promise... – smiling widely

Dhruv: I love you... – giving her a hug

Sid: How sweet...

Riddhima and Dhruv look up to see Naina and Sid standing there smiling at them.

Sid: Tell you what...why don't you come with me...we'll drop Riddhima to her home...

Dhruv: Yes...yes I will come... – happily

Ridz: That would be nice...Naina why don't you come too...

Naina: I would but then on the way back I'll be stuck with these two...I'd rather not... – they all laugh

When Riddhima's bags were packed they went down to have breakfast. She met Shubhankar before he rushed off to work then Dhruv begged Riddhima to come down to the playground with him which she couldn't refuse. They spent a few hours playing on the swings and climbing frame, making Riddhima feel free like a child again forgetting all her worries and tension, she loved it there, using her imagination to explore the climbing frames and challenging herself to swing the highest on the swing trying to touch the sky. Her smile was wide when Sid and Naina walked towards them and she slowed down on the swing bringing it to a stop.

Ridz: I'm going to miss this place...I love it here...

They sat for a while just chatting away then made their way back home for lunch. Once they had eaten, Sid brought her bags down and there was a tearful bade of farewells by Ba and Dhruv to Riddhima, Keerti and Naina told her to come back soon. Riddhima had forced Dhruv to stop crying otherwise he couldn't come with Sid and he stopped instantly. They said their final goodbyes then Riddhima and Dhruv got into the car where Sid was already waiting for them. Riddhima sat in the back with Dhruv who chatted away throughout the entire journey reminding Riddhima and Sid of all the fun times they had since they first met at Riddhima's house.

They were laughing away until they got off the M1 when Riddhima saw the familiar setting reminding her of what she was dreading. A worried looked washed away her smile and Sid noticed immediately but Dhruv carried on chatting away unaware of the sudden change. Riddhima caught sight of Sid's expression in the mirror and he closed his eyes for a split second reassuring her everything would be fine. While directing Sid through the familiar roads her heart thumped faster making her have goose bumps and sweaty palms thinking of what was going to happen. As they turned into the estate Dhruv held onto her hand making her look towards him, looking into his eyes made her feel a little calm.

Dhruv: Riddhi...are you okay?

Ridz: - forcing a smile – I'm fine Dhruv...

Dhruv: I'm going to miss you... – hugging her tightly

Ridz: - her heart thumping faster – I'll miss you too... – hugging him back and tears welling up in her eyes

Dhruv: - moving back and looking at her – No crying... – wiping her eyes

Sid stopped the car and looked back at them smiling; he shook his head and got out of the car to take out her bags.

Ridz: Bye Dhruv... – giving him a final hug

Dhruv: Bye Riddhi... – kissing her cheek making her smile

Riddhima got out of the car but Dhruv stayed seated, he did not want to see her go, he folded his arms as tears rolled down his cheeks. Riddhima wiped her tears as she closed the car door and walked towards Sid who was waiting for her with her bags.

Sid: Don't worry about him...he'll be fine...you take care of yourself...

Ridz: Take care of him...

Sid: I will...we're going to miss you...

Ridz: I'm going to miss you all too...why don't you guys come in and meet mama and papa...

Sid: No not now...I've got to get back before it starts to get dark...and I think it's better to take him now... – Riddhima nodded - ...take care... – giving her a hug

Ridz: You too... – hugging him back – ...you'll find your way out right... – moving away

Sid: Yeah...I know my way around now...

Ridz: Okay... – taking her bags from him - ...bye...

Sid: Bye... – walking back to the car and getting inside

Riddhima stood and watched until the car drove out of sight, she smiled through watery eyes before turning around and walking towards the front door searching for her keys in her bag. Unknown to her that entire scene was witnessed by someone sitting in a car parked outside her house and was fuming. He got out of the car slamming the door behind him making her turn around in shock. The keys dropped from her hand hitting the ground with a sharp noise as she watched him walk towards her. Her heart was racing as he stopped in front of her, she felt pained to see him after two long weeks, but he stood there enraged.

Ridz: Arm...

Armaan: – cutting her off - Riddhima... - the anger in his voice was clear

Riddhima shivered on this heated day to see him standing there in this position, talking through gritted teeth and frowning at her in anger.

Armaan: I don't believe you would do this...

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