Tuesday, 12 May 2020

part 49 : Arman aur Riddhima ka safar

It was now two weeks into work for most of the gang; Armaan and Rahul were well into it and had finally settled in. Armaan had just completed going through the files of old events which the company had organised and decided to take his break. He placed the file back onto the shelf and walked out of the room coming into contact with a couple of people in the corridor as he made his way to the cafeteria. As he neared the double doors he felt a strong hand on his shoulder making him turn to see Rahul standing there.

Rahul: Hi...

Armaan: Hey dude...where've you been?

Rahul: Busy man...

Armaan: I can see that...I haven't seen you around for a while...I was beginning to wonder... – they settled down at the table

Rahul: I'm working on my first project with Atul Bhai...was at the venue all of yesterday...need to go and set up later on today...



Armaan: How's it going?

Rahul: It's great...going through the paper work was long at first...then we had some problem as the client kept changing the amount of guests so we had to find venue after venue to suit them but now its settled...

Armaan: So where is it being held?

Rahul: Town hall...

Armaan: That's cool...all the best man...

Rahul Thanks yaar...

Armaan: I'm going to get something to eat...you want anything?

Rahul: Just a veg sandwich...thanks...

Armaan: It's cool...

Armaan got up and went to the counter to get something to eat and a sandwich for Rahul, when he got back he saw his dad walk into the cafeteria and was standing next to Rahul, he neared them and placed the food on the table and stood there.

Vikram: - to Rahul - ...I heard you've been doing really well...I'm impressed...

Rahul: Thanks sir...

Vikram: Keep it up...

Rahul: I will sir...

At the same time one of their colleagues made their way towards them and stopped next to them.

Col: Rahul...we've got to go...a group of us are needed at the venue early...Atul sir has asked for you to come with us...

Rahul: Okay...I'm coming... – turning back to Vikram and Armaan – ...excuse me...I have to go...

Armaan: Have some lunch first...

Rahul: It's okay... – to Vikram - ...you can have it sir...

Vikram: Thanks Rahul...

Rahul: I'll see you later... – to Armaan

Armaan: Yeah later... – smiling at how eager his friend

Vikram: - sitting down - ...That's what I call spirit of work...

Armaan: Yep...

Vikram: How is it going for you?

Armaan: I...dad...umm...sir... – fumbling as he looked down

Vikram: C'mon Armaan...I'm speaking to you as your father...not your boss...tell me what's on your mind...maybe I can help...

Armaan: Dad...honestly...I find this place very boring...sorry... – looking up as he didn't mean to sound rude

Vikram: Go on... – smiling

Armaan: I mean...all I've been doing is filling and paper work...if only I was doing something practical maybe things would've been a bit better...but it's already been two weeks and I feel as though I'm just surrounded by paper and nothing else...

Vikram: Armaan...there's always a beginning to everything...I've never told you how I started off...but if I did...maybe you would start loving your job...

Armaan: - curiously - ...Where did you start off?

Vikram: Cleaning a garage...when I was younger I wanted to be a mechanic...and my first experience of being a mechanic started with me cleaning out a filthy, dull garage...then I worked my way up going through each and every difficult job to being a deputy manager back home and now a partner of this company...life isn't easy Armaan...

Armaan: I know dad...

Vikram: If you start off with difficulty there's always a chance that you will succeed in the end...so don't be disheartened if you find yourself covered in paper work within two weeks...you'll also be given a chance...but you just need to be patient...and carry out your job with a full heart knowing that you're aiming for a goal not just doing something for the sake of gaining praise...

Armaan: You're right dad... – with a smile

Vikram: Right...then let's get back to work...

They both got up and Vikram clapped his son on his back as they made their way out of the cafeteria, Vikram went back to his office as Armaan made his way back to his cubical and looked through yet another file. He finished making notes throughout the file forty five minutes later then made a grab for the second when he heard someone call his name; he turned to see Shashank standing there and stood up straight.

Armaan: Yes sir...

Shashank: Come with me...

Armaan followed silently his mind rushing with thoughts wondering what was up as they walked through the glass door of Shashank's office, he settled down on the comfy chair away from his desk and gestured for Armaan to take a seat, Armaan sat down full of nerves as he could not think of any reason why he was called in the office.

Shashank: Are you okay Armaan? – looking closely at him

Armaan: Huh-uh...umm... – clearing his throat - ...yes sir...I'm fine sir...

Shashank: Here...have some water... – handing him a bottle of water - ...and calm down... – with a smile

Armaan sipped from the bottle and wiped his forehead where small sweat beads were gathering when Shashank had looked away. At the same time there was a knock at the door and they both turned to see Atul walk in with a smile and settled down comfortably on a chair between Armaan and Shashank.

Atul: Sorry I'm late...

Shashank: It's okay...

Atul: - handing a file to Shashank - ...Here's the file that you had asked for...

Shashank: Thanks you... – taking the file and going through it - ...have you been through the details?

Atul: Yes sir...it's all quite clear...

Shashank: That's good... – closing the file and looking up at Armaan - ...so Armaan...you're probably wondering why I have called you here...

Armaan nodded slowly and they both smiled at his nervous expression.

Shashank: Well...I won't make you wait any longer...this is for you... – handing him the file - ...you're very first project which you'll be carrying out under Atul's supervision...

Armaan: - looking up with a bemused smile - ...Thanks...

Shashank: Atul will go through all the details with you and also through your job role... – looking at Atul who nodded then he stood up and they followed - ...I wish you all the bets Armaan... – holding his hand out

Armaan: - shaking his hand - ...Thank you sir... – happily

Atul: Come on...

Armaan followed Atul out of the office and into Atul's office where they went through the file and within half an hour Atul could already see the change in Armaan as he used his initiative and was completely drawn into the project.



A few days later; Riddhima and Muskaan were sat in the cafeteria of the Institute having lunch. Muskaan ate away quietly knowing this was not the best time to say anything as Riddhima rambled on in anger.

Ridz: Seriously Muskaan...I can't stand her any more...this is the limit now...I don't understand why she's doing this...I mean...what have I done to her?

Muskaan: Ridz...woh...

Ridz: No Muskaan...enough is enough...she really needs to sort herself out...what she did today was wrong and everyone knows it...

Muskaan: But Ridz what can...

Ridz: You tell me Muskaan...how can someone be so jealous...from the very first day she knew I was getting full praise of my work and my ability and because she doesn't have it does not mean that she can just come and ruin it for me...

Muskaan: C'mon Ridz...

Ridz: What she did today was childish and immature... – angrily – ...I had worked so hard on that project...I was up till two o'clock last night going through that full project...that was my final draft...and what did she do... – fuming – ...she spilt a whole cup of coffee over it...it wasn't just one or two pages...but the full sixty pages...and the worst bit...I got told off for bringing drinks into the class...Laura had a go at me saying it was my fault that I had brought the drink in the class and it could've spilt over anyone's work...

Muskaan: Ridz...listen to me...

Ridz: What should I do Muskaan? – giving up

Muskaan: Just try to ignore it...

Ridz: It's not that easy Musk...I don't even know what she has against me...

Muskaan: C'mon eat up quickly...we need to get back to work...

Riddhima frowned and finished up her food. A few minutes later they both got up and made their way out of the cafeteria and up stairs to the library where Riddhima had to print her work out again. Muskaan went to find a book which she needed for her assignment while Riddhima logged onto the computer, put in her usb and slowly calming down her nerves with deep breaths. She found her work and gave it a quick scan before hitting the print button, she sighed then turned to the printer to see the papers coming out one after the next then she got up and was making her way to the printer when Muskaan called out to her; she walked towards Muskaan.

Ridz: What's up?

Muskaan: - showing her the book - ...Is this the one you had used?

Ridz: - looking over at it - ...No it wasn't that one...I'll have a look...

She looked through the shelves until she found the book she wanted and handed it to Muskaan, then they both walked to the printer to collect Riddhima's work but as they got there the printer was clear, there were no papers there, Riddhima sighed.

Ridz: I just saw it print out...then where is it?

Muskaan: Are you sure you saw it print?

Ridz: Yes...I'm certain...

Muskaan: Go and check your computer...

Ridz: Fine...

Riddhima turned around and went to the computer and sat down but suddenly realised that her file was missing. A sudden thought struck her mind and she stood up, looking around the library she saw two familiar figures sneaking out of the library and she collapsed onto the chair and Muskaan came over to her.

Muskaan: What's wrong?

Ridz: It's gone...

Muskaan: What?

Ridz: My file is gone...they deleted it and took my work...

Muskaan: Did you not save it anywhere else?

Ridz: It was on my usb and the computer...and it's gone from both places...

Muskaan: Anywhere else?

Ridz: I have it at home... – sighing - ...but this is just getting too much now...and I can't bear it anymore... – becoming slightly hysterical - ...why are they doing this...I just don't understand...

At the same time Muskaan noticed Laura moving towards them and she placed a hand on Riddhima's shoulder to quieten her down. Riddhima turned to look in the direction of where Muskaan was looking to see Laura standing next to them.

Laura: Riddhima...come with me...we need to talk...

Ridz: Okay...

Riddhima slowly stood up and followed her out of the library while Muskaan gave her an encouraging smile telling her that she would wait for her there. Riddhima walked into Laura's office and was offered a seat on the opposite side of her desk; she looked down into her lap as Laura sat sternly in the chair and looked at her.

Laura: I'm quite shocked Riddhima...as well as concerned...what is happening... – Riddhima looked up at her apologetically - ...when I first met you during your work experience I really thought you had the potential...you were so focused...and your creativity skills...I was speechless to see such an outstanding student...and when Tom came to the school fashion show we were yet again bowled away...but for the past few weeks in which you've been here you seem to be a different person...someone who we are not familiar with... – looked closely at her

Ridz: I know Laura...and I'm very disappointed in myself...

Laura: It is very obvious that there is something which is really bothering you...and we would like to know what it is...because if you stay quiet and it carries on like this we will be left with no further choice but to make a serious decision about your future on the course...

Riddhima looked up sharply as she finished her sentence, in disbelief of what she had just heard.

Ridz: Please Laura...I'm really very sorry...I promise I will make changes to my behaviour and my actions and it will not happen again...

Laura: Riddhima...I know this is not the real you...and there is a serious problem...if you share it with us maybe we'll be able to understand the situation and...

Ridz: - cutting her off - ...I'm really sorry Laura...I know we are all adults here at this Institute and I'm not here to complain or tell tales about others...but I promise that I will not let this bother my work any further...

Laura: That is very wise of you and I'm sure you'll put things straight in a sensible way like the mature adult you are... – smiling at her

Ridz: I promise I will... – smiling slowly at her

Laura: I would like to have your project by Monday morning...

Ridz: Definitely...I'm sorry for taking your time...

Laura: It's okay...it was important that we had this conversation and I hope that things work out well for you soon...

Ridz: Thank you...

Riddhima left the office feeling slightly better but somewhere inside she was very hurt, this was the very first time in her entire life that she had actually been called into an office to have a serious word and she knew she was not at fault. As she walked slowly down the corridors her mind was filled with thoughts about how she was going to put things straight and be her old self again with only design on her mind and no other distractions. A moment later she was brought back to earth as she felt a hand on her shoulder and she turned to see Muskaan standing there.

Muskaan: You okay?

Ridz: - nodded - ...I'm fine...

Muskaan: Okay...let's go...

Ridz: Where?

Muskaan: We're finished for the day...I want to go to the mall...need to do some shopping...

Ridz: Okay...

They made their way out of the building and down the road towards the tube station which they reached within five minutes. As they got onto the train they chatted generally but Muskaan had noticed that Riddhima was only answering in two or three words and her mind was far from their conversation. Half an hour later they walked out of the tube station and got the bus to the Mall, Riddhima's mood had slightly changed by the time the got there and started looking at some outfits. Muskaan had chosen a purple top and went into the changing room while Riddhima looked around. Her phone rang suddenly and she looked in her bag for it, she took it out and saw Armaan's name flashing on the screen; a small smile appeared on her lips as she answered the call;

Ridz: Hi...

Armaan: Hey...where are you?

Ridz: I'm at the Mall...

Armaan: At the mall...why?

Ridz: Muskaan wanted to do some shopping so I thought I'd come along with her...

Armaan: That's good...I'll see you there in ten minutes...

Ridz: But...are you not working?

Armaan: My work finishes... – takes a moment to look at his watch - ...about now...

Ridz: - smiling - ...Okay then...I'll see you soon...

Armaan: Right...I love you...

Ridz: Love you too...

She ended the call and looked up to see Muskaan, who was happy to see her smiling.

Muskaan: Armaan ka phone tha?

Ridz: - nodded and smiled widely - ...He's on his way...

Muskaan: That's good... – then looking down at her top - ...what do you think?

Ridz: Perfect fit...

Muskaan: Okay...I'll just go and change...

Muskaan changed back into her outfit and brought the top then they went out of the shop and to another. Ten minutes later, as promised, Armaan caught up with them and hugged Riddhima from the back giving her a small fright, she turned to see Armaan and became slightly angry but before anyone could say anything Riddhima turned and walked away from there, Armaan was about to go after her but Muskaan stopped him.

Armaan: What's wrong? – to Muskaan with full concern

Muskaan: Come with me...I'll tell you...

They walked to their usual place by the fountain and settled down but Armaan was not comfortable and urged Muskaan to tell him what was wrong with Riddhima.

Muskaan: She's not had a good day... – he raised his eyebrow and waited for her to carry on - ...I don't know if she's mentioned it to you but there's a girl in our group...Jia...she's being a pain for Ridz...she's jealous of Ridz and tries to ruin everything for her...

Armaan: Like what?

Muskaan: Today she spilt coffee over Ridz's sixty page assignment... – Armaan looked on in shock - ...then Ridz tried printing it again, it somehow magically disappeared and was deleted from the computer...one of mentors spoke to Ridz today...and she's just upset about that...she just needs a bit of time on her own...

Armaan: She'll be okay...

He saw her coming back to them from a distance and decided to change the subject.

Armaan: - with a smile - ...Your Rahul seems to be very busy these days...

Muskaan: Tell me about it...the last time I saw him was last weekend when I had dinner at his place...can you believe it...

Ridz: - sitting down between them with a smile - ...Yeah where is your fianc...? – to Muskaan

Muskaan: Yesterday he finished his project he was working on...I heard the party went off really well...and today he was working in the morning but he was suppose to have his driving test... – looking at her watch - ...he's probably just finishing...I should give him a call in about five minutes...

Ridz: That's really cool...

Muskaan: I hope he passes...

Armaan: Don't worry he will...

At the same time Muskaan's phone rang, she looked at it and saw it was Rahul, she was too nervous to answer so Armaan took it from her hand and put it on loudspeaker;

Rahul: I PASSED!

They all cheered and congratulated him; Muskaan chatted to him for a bit then they decided to meet at home. When she ended the call they decided that they would meet up tomorrow and celebrate. Armaan gave Muskaan a lift home and as they drove off Armaan noticed Riddhima's silence; he stopped the car a few minutes later by the park side and Riddhima looked over at him.

Armaan: - holding her hand - ...Jaan I can see something is bothering you...won't you tell me?

Riddhima looked down in her lap for a few minutes feeling guilty that she had hid this problem from Armaan for so many days. She looked up at him slowly; and told him all about Jia and her worries; when she had finished she was close to tears and he took her in his arms giving her a warm hug, silently whispering into her ears;

Armaan: Listen to me Riddhima...you are the best designer...the best dress maker...the best organiser...the most hard worker...and the most beautiful model...in the world...you don't need to listen to a word of any jealous person...because they only wish they could be in your shoes...which can never happen...because there's only one Riddhima Gupta...and she's mine...so don't let them effect you...because you are bigger than them and you can do anything you want...so don't be put down by them...in fact this should make you stand much stronger...because they can only wish they were you but they can't because you are who you are...and no one can take your place...

Riddhima let his words echo through her, she closed her eyes and sighed happily, glad that she felts secure in Armaan's arms, moving back with a smile she looked at him.

Ridz: Thanks Armaan...

Armaan: I love you...

Ridz: Love you too...

Armaan kissed her on her forehead and they took in this cute moment before he gave her a lift home...

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