Wednesday, 13 May 2020

part 50 : Arman aur Riddhima ka safar

The next day Riddhima woke up early; even though it was a weekend but she promised herself that she would not let anything bother her or come in her way of her ambitions. She printed off her work again and started on the next assignment thinking of getting ahead of her work not letting her real talent to be ruined by an immature student. It was one o'clock in the afternoon when she had finished her assignment completely from beginning to end within three and a half hours and as she printed it off she smiled. There was a knock on her door and she turned to see Padma walking in...

Padma: Riddhima...what are you doing? – concerned- ...I haven't seen you all day...did you even have your breakfast...

Ridz: - smiling – Haan mama...I had my breakfast very early this morning and I started with my work...I've just finished...

Padma: I was beginning to wonder what was happening...



Ridz: Don't worry mama...I'm fine...was just busy with some work...

Padma: Okay then...come down and have some lunch...

Ridz: Coming...

She placed all her papers in a folder and left it on her desk with her other assignment and followed Padma downstairs and into the kitchen. They settled down at the dinner table and began to eat while in general conversation about family and friends. They finished after sometime and were clearing up the place when the phone rang and Padma picked up.

Padma: Hello...//Main theek hoon...tum kaisi ho...//Haan she's here...just a minute... – turning to Riddhima - ...It's for you...

Riddhima dried her hands and took the phone.

Ridz: Hello?

Muskaan: Hey...I was calling your mobile but no answer...

Ridz: Sorry...my phone is upstairs...I was just having lunch...what's up?

Muskaan: Not much...just called to let you know that we were planning to meet up today...

Ridz: Oh that's nice...what's the plan?

Muskaan: Rahul and Armaan are working till three thirty...so I was thinking why don't the two of us go and visit Niki...then when they finish work we'll go out somewhere together...

Ridz: That sounds great...we haven't met Niki in ages...

Muskaan: Yeah...you come around to my place in about half an hour...then we'll go round and give her a surprise...what say?

Ridz: Definitely...

Muskaan: Okay then...I'll see you later...

Ridz: Okay bye...

Riddhima ended the call and told Padma her plans for the day then went up to get dressed. She came back down about twenty five minutes later and said bye to Padma before leaving and making her way to Muskaan's place. As she reached Muskaan was ready and came out of the house quickly and Riddhima smiled as she saw Muskaan's face and they carried on walking.

Muskaan: What? – to Riddhima

Ridz: You had an argument with Yuvi...right?

Muskaan: I don't even want to hear his name...

Ridz: Okay... – smiling at her and changing the subject - ...guess what I did this morning...

Muskaan: What? – turning to her

Ridz: I finished the assignment which we got yesterday...

Muskaan: What? – in shock - ...Already?

Ridz: Yep...

Muskaan: How?

Ridz: Armaan had a few words with me last night and I decided that I won't let my dream be ruined because of a immature student...so I woke up early this morning...printed off my last assignment and got started on the new one we got yesterday...I was so into it that I didn't realise when three hours rushed by and I was finished...

Muskaan: WOW! That's really cool...

Ridz: I know...now I can chill and get ready for some serious work on Monday...going to start making my dress...

Muskaan: You're lucky...I didn't even look at it yet...when I came home last night Rahul came over and we celebrated together because he passed...then I went to bed late and woke up late this morning...when I called you I had just got out of the bath...but I'll do it tomorrow...

They arrived at Nikita's place and stood on the doorstep patiently after they had rung the bell.

Muskaan: I bet she'll be surprised...

Ridz: I know... – excitedly

A moment later the door was opened by Nikita's mum, who smiled happily at them and gave them a hug.

Nikita's Mum: What a pleasant surprise...come inside...

Muskaan: How are you Aunty...?

Nikita's Mum: I'm fine beta...it's nice to see you girls...

She walked them into the living room and made sure they were comfortable before she went upstairs to get Nikita. She came down a moment later and told them that Nikita was on her way, she left them alone for a moment and Nikita walked into the room; she wore a small smile, happy to see her friends but gave them a shock. Nikita was wearing baggy pink t-shirt and a pair of gray tracks, her hair was tided in a ponytail and her face was very pale but she wore a small smile which they replied to.

Niki: Hi girls...

She walked over to them and gave Muskaan a hug first then Riddhima.

Muskaan: Hi Niki...how are you?

Niki: I'm fine...but what are you guys doing here...you should've called me...

Ridz: We thought we would give you a surprise...

Niki: You really did... – they all settled down - ...how are you both?

Muskaan: We're fine...just a bit busy with work and all...

Ridz: But we thought this weekend we'll all meet up...it's been ages!

Niki: Yeah... – sadly

Before they could say anything further Nikita's mum came back into the room and they all turned to look at her.

Nikita's Mum: ...Why don't you all go upstairs and talk comfortably...you don't need to sit here formally...

They all smiled as they got up and walked out of the room, the girls followed Nikita up the stairs and into her room, where, once again, they were in for a shock as they saw the change in Nikita's room, not that it was messy but it was a sudden change from pink to a dark chocolate colour, it was warm but dark. They settled down on the bed and the computer chair.

Ridz: When did you do the room?

Niki: It's about three weeks ago...I was getting a bit bored of pink so I decided to change it...

Riddhima looked around the room to see the blank walls, where once upon a time were home to many photo frames of scenery and flowers. The flower vase from the window sill was gone, and her table where she once had loads of photo frames of her family and friends were cleared away and only her laptop was left there and a two note books.

Muskaan: The brown is nice... – not sure of any other way to put it

Niki: Thanks... – changing the subject from her - ...so how's TFI going?

Muskaan: - making a face - ...It's okay...just work...

Ridz: - turning to her - ...Like you were expecting it to be a party...

They all laughed and the conversation yet again changed to family and then to the weather and other general stuff. Sometime later there was a knock on the door and Nikita's mum came in carrying a tray with three plates of cake slices, she handed them one each saying Nikita had made it this morning then left.

Muskaan: Yummy...that is some nice cake Niki...

Niki: Thanks... – slowly

Ridz: It really is...how did you make it?

Niki: I just followed a recipe... – modestly

Ridz: It's really nice...

They ate away as they chatted about their cooking and baking abilities, where once again Nikita stayed slightly quiet. When they had finished she made an excuse of taking the plates down, when the door closed behind her Muskaan and Riddhima shared worried looks feeling really sad for their friend. They were speechless, both lost in their own thoughts when Riddhima's eyes fell onto the two note books next to her laptop, she got up and walked over to it while Muskaan watched her pick up the first book and opened it and was surprised.

Ridz: Muskaan you have to see this... – walking towards her

Muskaan: What is it? – lifting her neck to look into the book while Riddhima sat next to her on the bed – ...WOW...

Riddhima and Muskaan looked at each other and back at the picture on the page. The book was filled with Mehendi patterns, they were all very beautiful and they kept getting better and better as they flicked through the pages. They both looked up as Nikita came back into the room.

Muskaan: Niki...this is amazing!

Niki: Guys it's nothing...just doodles...really... – walking towards them and taking the book from them - ...it's just my scrap book...I like to doodle when I'm bored...

Riddhima stood up and walked towards her as she put the book back down on the table.

Ridz: Niki...they're not just doodles...they're like bridal patterns...and you are awesome at it...why don't you give it a try...

Niki: Nahi Ridz...I can't...I'm not good at it...it's just a bit of drawing I do when I'm bored...that's it...and I don't want to take anything further...I've been there and I've seen the result...I don't want to go through it again...

Riddhima looked over at Muskaan who shook her head as if to say this was not the right time to push it. Riddhima put her hand on Nikita's shoulder and whispered sorry but Nikita turned to her with a smile and told her to forget it, they settled down again but before anyone could say anything else Riddhima's phone rang and she answered it.

Ridz: Hey...//You're finished...//Okay then...//See you soon...//Bye...

Riddhima ended the call and turned to the girls with a smile.

Ridz: They're finished and they'll be here within half an hour...Niki you're coming with us...

Niki: Ridz I can't...

Muskaan: C'mon Niki...you can't say no today...Rahul passed his driving test and we're all going out to celebrate...and we would all love it if you came with us...

Niki: But how can...

Ridz: - cutting her off - ...Niki please don't say no...

The girls begged her for another five minutes until she finally agreed. It was just like the old times again as they went through her wardrobe and found her a nice top to wear and they did each other's makeup and hair. As promised Armaan and Rahul arrived exactly half an hour later to pick up the girls; Nikita's mum was very happy to know that her daughter was going out with her friends.

As they got in the car everyone congratulated Rahul who loved the praise as he had finally got his driving licence after years of saying he was going to do it. The guys were happy to see Nikita after a long time but they also realised the change in her appearance and behaviour as she sat there quietly and listened to them in conversation. They arrived at the cinema sometime later and the guys decided on an animated movie which had came out the night before. They made sure that they did not leave Nikita out and they sat three girls in the middle with the two guys on either side as they enjoyed the film.

When the film had ended Nikita had lightened up a little and was smiling a bit more than before but was still very quiet as they decided that they would go and have something to eat at Pizza Hut. They settled down at a table for five and chatted away generally involving Nikita in their conversation but yet again she only answered in one sentence or smiled. Sometime later the food arrived and everyone ate away silently for a few minutes but Nikita's mind was working overtime as she felt a sense of dj vu and remembered the last time they had been for a film then dinner at Nando's restaurant as a gang...

Flashback:

As usual Abhi and Nikita argued and teased each other; Abhi had said something mean and Nikita kicked him from under the table making him wince in pain.

Armaan: You guys are like an old married couple...you know that?

Abhi/Niki: WHAT???? – turning to Rahul

Niki: How could you even pair us together?

Abhi: Exactly...me and her? NO WAY!

The others laughed at them as they start arguing again...

*

They decided on a romantic film as there were two couples there and it was Valentine's Day. Abhi was the only one against it but his view was not heard by anyone as they bought the tickets and munchies before walking into the hall. They settled down in couples; Abhi and Nikita sat on opposite ends. Sometime later...

Abhi: Well thank God that's over...

Niki: It was not that bad...

Abhi: You would say that...

End of Flashback

Nikita was brought back to reality as Muskaan put her hand on Nikita's shoulder; her eyes had welled up with tears as she remembered Abhi and all her feelings had flooded back.

Muskaan: Are you okay?

Niki: - nodded – Excuse me... – close to tears she got up

Everyone watched as she walked away to the washroom wiping her cheeks; they shared worried looks.

Armaan: I really feel for her...

Rahul: I got an email from Abhi yesterday...

Ridz: How is he?

Rahul: He's great...having a blast...he says the work is so cool...or the money is anyway...

Muskaan: - small smile - ...Life is so weird isn't it...

Armaan: I know...look at these two...one's life has been ruined and the other...enjoying each and every moment of his...

Ridz: You know what...I think we need to do something for her...we can't leave her like this...I mean...whatever has happened we can't change it...and he's not coming back to her...we need to bring her back to life...her life can't be ruined because of one incident...she can't live the rest of her life like this...

Rahul: You're right Ridz...we really need to do something for her...

Muskaan: I'm going to see if she's okay...

Ridz: Yeah...

Muskaan got up and walked towards the washroom while the others talked about a way to solve her problems until they saw her walking back towards them and they changed the subject right away. They carried on with dinner and chatted away about random stuff before deciding to head home. Armaan gave Rahul, Muskaan and Nikita a lift home before going to Riddhima's place where the Maliks' were having dinner. They arrived and watch TV in the living room while the others were eating then they joined them and they sat through a family film till the end when the Maliks' decided to leave...

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