Thursday, 21 May 2020

part 60 : Arman aur Riddhima ka safar

Once everyone had received their mini awards the host then spoke a little about the judge panel before he handed over to them to announce the winners of the show. Each of the group members held hands as they shared their nervousness, their hearts thumping in rhythm as they waited impatiently for the names to be called out. Armaan looked down at Riddhima and gave her hand an encouraging squeeze reassuring her through his eyes...

Judge: And the winner...of the Wild Life Theme is...Sharon Desmond...

 Everyone cheered happily for her as she stood there in shock, Tia and Rachel pushed her onto the stage making her smile as she made her way to the judges to collect her award, shaking hands with each judge and saying a quick thank you while the audience applauded her then she rushed back off of the stage happily.

Ridz: Congrats Sharon...

Sharon: Thanks Ridz...I can't believe this...



Everyone else took turns to congratulate her quickly before they became serious again waiting for the next name to be called out. Once again it had gone silent and the atmosphere became tensed as they all prayed silently while the judges kept them in suspense.

Judge 2: The second theme…Sea Life…in which we saw some very unique outfits, very creative ideas…it was quite difficult to choose a winner and so we have chosen a winner and two runner ups…

Everyone looked around excitedly at each other wondering who was chosen as they were all quite surprised.

Judge 2: And the second runner up for the Sea Life theme is…Tia Ahuja… - everyone cheered while Riddhima hugged Tia sending her onto the stage, she collected her award and stood there - …the first runner up is…Rachel Watson… - she walked on stage very confidently and collected her award standing next to Tia - …and the winner is…Michael Green… - he quickly rushed onto stage accepting his award happily – …Congratulations to all of you…

They each said a quick word and shook hands with the judges before walking backstage to loud cheers as everyone congratulated them.

Ridz: Congratulations guys…well done… - hugging each of them

Judge 3: And now…coming to our final award this evening…is the award for the third theme…After Life…all the outfits where magnificent but we can only choose one winner…and this participant has surprised all of us with her designs as well as her unique outfits throughout the show…the winner is…Riddhima Gupta…

Riddhima stood rooted to the spot as everyone cheered and Armaan hugged her happily, she was so shocked that they all had to push her out onto the stage where she walked carefully in her heels while the audience cheered loudly for her. She shook hands with the judges and received her award then shook hands with Annie and Billy before the microphone was placed in her hands and the host asked her to saw a few words.

Ridz: Umm…I…I can't believe this… - starting up slowly - …this is really a dream come true…thank you all so much…thank you… - tears welling up in her eyes

She handed the microphone back to the host who ended the show on a happy note, congratulating all the participants and thanking the Khushi Event team for putting together a wonderful show before closing off. The music blared and the lights flashed as Riddhima stood back stage with the other participants who had been taken to the photography room to take group photos and the winners with their awards. They all celebrated happily congratulating each other and having fun, a moment later Riddhima felt someone touch her shoulder and she turned to see Armaan smiling down happily at her. She hugged him cheerfully then moved back to look at his cute dimple which was dented in a happy smile for her success, no words were needed as he bent on his knees now gathering everyone's attention as he held in his hand a tiny diamond ring, Riddhima carried on looking at him in awe while everyone hooted.

Armaan: Congratulations jaan…

Riddhima took the ring from him hands and looked closely at it with tears in her eyes; he stood up and hugged her tightly while everyone cheered them on. A few moments later Riddhima moved back and mouthed "thank you" to which he replied with a wink. He held her hand and took her away from the photography room while she wondered where he was taking her.

Ridz: Armaan? – looking at him - …Where are you taking me…?

Armaan: Just come and see for yourself…

Riddhima walked alongside him away from backstage towards the front where she came face to face with a huge crowd who were waiting to meet her. She smiled widely as she looked around at all the smiling faces, Padma and Shashank stood in front with Nandani and Vikram; Atul and Anjali were at the side and all her friends at the back. Riddhima ran to her parents and hugged Padma with tears in her eyes.

Padma: Congratulations my dear… - hugging her tightly

Ridz: Mama…I've missed you so much…

Padma: I've missed you too beta…but I'm really happy to see you…you looked beautiful and I'm even more happy to see you win…I love you Riddhima…

Ridz: I love you too mama… - tears rolled down her cheeks as she smiled happily

Shashank: Ab bas bhi karo tum dono… - moving them apart then Riddhima hugged him - …well done beta…

Ridz: Thank you papa… - moving away and wiping her cheeks

Anji: Congrats Ridzi… - hugging her - …you are looking so beautiful in a sari… - moving back and looking closely at her - …I'm so happy for you…you made it this far and won…this is a really big success…and you deserve each and every bit of it…

Atul: You really do…we're so proud of you congratulations! – hugging her

Ridz: Thanks dii…thanks so much jiju…I'm so happy that you all came…

Vikram: Of course we had to come and be here to see you win…because we all had faith in you…and you really were looking great in all of your outfits…

Nandani: Haan Riddhima beta…you're very talented and we're so happy that you won…we're all so proud of you… - hugging her - …you've worked so hard…

Ridz: Thank you aunty and uncle…but Armaan has also worked very hard…he's done a great job putting this event together…this place looks really beautiful…

Vikram: I know… - looking around - …I'm quite impressed Armaan… - turning to him

Padma: Haan Armaan beta…this place looks beautiful…when we came in I was saying to Nandani that you've done a great job…well done…

Armaan: Thanks aunty…

Nandani: My son has really grown up and has worked very hard…but he's changed… - sadly

Atul: I agree…he's changed a lot… - grinning

Armaan: Ab maine kya kiya? - confused

Nandani: Yahan ah kar tum hume bhool hi gaye…

Armaan: - smiling – Oh my dear ma… - coming to her and hugging her - …how can I forget you?

Nandani: So why didn't you call home and talk to us this whole week? – sulking - …Riddhima called home every day to speak to her parents…and you? – turning away

Armaan: Ma… - sweetly - …I did call home the first week didn't I…? – waiting until she nodded - …but you know this week how busy I was…ask Riddhima…

Ridz: Ji aunty…I've never seen him so busy…sometime he would not even have lunch…

Nandani: - turning to him – Kya? You didn't even have lunch… - full of concern - …Armaan…you didn't even look after yourself… - turning to Shashank and Vikram - …aap log meri baat suniye…from today he's not working away from home… - hugging her son

Shashank and Vikram laughed and agreed with her then they were approached by Billy, one of the judges and other businessmen who were ready to talk business and pay them for organizing the show and Armaan joined them. Nandani, Padma and Anjali carried on talking while Riddhima finally had a chance to speak to her friends. As she turned to them she received a pleasant surprise, Nikita was standing there and Riddhima pretended to rub her eyes in surprise to get a better look and then she did a double take before she smiled widely.

Ridz: Sid??? – happily she hugged him - …Tum yahan kya kar rahe ho?

Sid: Well…I came down when Armaan was sent to work here and I've kind of taken over his space at KE… - scratching the back of his head

Ridz: Oh really… - cheekily

Sid: Well…he has worked his way up…so I'm starting in his place…

Ridz: I'm just kidding…chill… - then smiling - …I'm so happy to see you guys… - hugging Nikita, Muskaan and Rahul - …thanks for coming…

Muskaan: We had to…after all we knew you would win…and we wanted to see this happiness on your face…

Rahul: Congrats Ridz… - giving her a side hug - …I'm really happy for you…

Niki: You're looking beautiful in a sari… - smiling

Ridz: Thanks…

Armaan: - walking towards them – Hey guys… - tapping Rahul on the shoulder and giving the girls a side hug

Ridz: Armaan…this is Sid…my cousin…

Armaan: Hey dude… - holding out his hand to him

Sid: Hi… - shaking his hand - …you really put up a great event…

Armaan: Thanks… - then looking around at all of them - …why don't you all go down to the lounge…there's an after party going on…

Rahul: That sounds cool…but I think we should get going…its quite late and it's a long drive back…

Ridz: Oh…it would be nice if you guys could stay…I won't be coming back till tomorrow evening…it'll take some time to pack up here…

Niki: It's okay…we'll have a party when you get back…after all we do need to have a big celebration this is a huge success…

Muskaan: Definitely…and wait till you get back at the Institute…you'll love the look on Jia's face…

Ridz: - smiling happily – I bet…

They spoke for a while longer then they all decided to make a move as it was very late and most of them had to go to work the next day, Riddhima saw them off while Armaan helped his team shut down, she hugged each one of them as they congratulated her and left. While making her way back to the changing room she passed the lounge on the way where she was noticed by Tom and Laura from the Institute who had been invited to the show. They were extremely happy to see her and congratulated her for yet another success.

She finally made her way down to the open area following the footsteps there and looking around at the place as the lights shone and it looked very beautiful. She noticed Armaan helping out his team covering the tables with plastic sheets and turning off all the lights as she made her way round to her cubicle. She collected her belongings and was struggling to make her way back up to her room, the place was now suddenly empty and very quiet with only a few lights on, she sighed as things kept dropping from her hand and she was just about to give up when she heard a voice behind her.

Armaan: Need some help?

Ridz: - turned to see Armaan smiling sweetly at her – Please…

Armaan took her makeup box and a very heavy bag with her shoes and accessories while she managed her two outfits. He helped her to her room and they put everything away then they settled on the bed leaning against the headrest holding hands and Riddhima leaning her head on his shoulder.

Ridz: Armaan… - looking up slowly at him

Armaan: Hmmm… - turning to her

Ridz: Congratulations… - he smiled and shrugged his shoulder - …your show was a huge success…all your hard work has paid off…and I heard dad and Vikram uncle talking…you got a huge check…more than the amount that was set from the beginning…I'm so proud of you… - sitting up - …I'm happy for you…

Riddhima moved her face to closer to his and kissed him slowly then she smiled and turned shyly. He turned her face to make her look at him but she was now looking down shyly unable to meet his eyes as this was the first time she had done something like this.

Armaan: - placing his finger under her chin and making her look up at him - …Riddhima…this show is not my success but yours… - she looked closely at him waiting for him to carry on - …when I found out that I was coming here to organise this event…the first thing that ran through my mind was you…I was going to be here with you…I was going to organise this event for you to perform…I had to make it the best for you…because I love you…

After hearing such a sweet comment Riddhima had tears in her eyes, she had never loved anyone so much as she loved Armaan and neither had she ever received this much love from anyone but her parents. A whole new feeling had emerged in her heart and suddenly a new thought struck her mind which she quickly put away. She mouthed "I love you too" and they shared a cosy moment until they both began to yawn and Armaan decided it was time to go to bed, they both had had a very long day and were extremely tired. Once Riddhima had changed into her night clothes and came back into the room Armaan tucked her cosily into bed before kissing her forehead and leaving the room.



The next day everyone slept in till late as they had a very busy day before and had celebrated throughout the night. Almost everyone had slept in till twelve and had all skipped breakfast and woke up in time for lunch. Riddhima and Tia made their way into the dining hall to see most of the group as well as the Khushi Event team having brunch and just enjoying their last moments together. They got their lunch and settled down at a table with the rest of the group talking about events of last night and the after party, Armaan and Sunny joined them a while later and they chatted throughout lunch.

Sometime later Armaan, Sunny and the Khushi Event team left the dining hall and made their way to the open area to take down the stage and tidy up while Billy and Annie walked into the dining hall to make an announcement.

Billy: Listen up everyone... – loudly gathering everyone's attention - ...I have a few words to say...time has finally come to say goodbye... – everyone moaned loudly - ...I know...even I'm going to find it hard to say that...but I just want to say that I've had a wonderful time being with you all...and once again I want to congratulate you all for the wonderful performances you all put up last night...the show was a huge success...

Everyone cheered and congratulated each other once again and the noise level rose for a few moments as everyone started talking at once until there were a few loud claps which grabbed everyone's attention again.

Annie: I also want to say that I'm going to miss you all... – there was a loud "aww" sound around the hall and she smiled - ...but...it's not time for goodbyes just yet...because it's time to celebrate and have fun...there's going to be a party in an hour down by the outdoor pool...see you all there...

Everyone hooted excitedly as they thought of the party and they made their way up to their rooms to do the final packing before the party as they would all be leaving a little while after the party ended. As Riddhima had finished her production before the others she had used her time wisely and had packed most of her things away, so she decided to head down to the open area to meet Armaan and the team. As she neared the area she noticed that almost everything had been cleared away and most of the team was working on taking the stage down, she scanned the area and saw Armaan supervising a small group as they loaded the truck with props and lighting equipment. She smiled and stood back watching as he worked away until half an hour later when almost everything was cleared away. The truck had left and a small van was being loaded with the team, she made her way towards them and had a chat with Sunny and some of the others while Armaan carried on looking around to see if everything was done.

A while later Armaan and Riddhima waved bye to the team as they drove off then Armaan turned to Riddhima with a smile.

Armaan: Ready?

Ridz: Not just yet?

Armaan: Why? – looking at her curiously - ...What's up?

Ridz: We're having a pool party...come join us...

Armaan: Ridz...that's your party...

Ridz: Our party...now let's go... – holding onto his hand and dragging him away

Armaan smiled at her cuteness, they both went to their rooms to change, Armaan found some swimwear and Riddhima found something nice to wear then they met up at the pool to find most of the group were already there. As they neared the pool Billy handed them each a glass of tropical juice and told them to enjoy, they smiled and settled down on the deckchairs watching the others in the pool having fun.

About five minutes later Tia and Michael jumped out of the pool and made their way towards Riddhima and Armaan.

Tia: Why are you two sitting here like a bunch of lemons?

Michael: Exactly...time to get in the pool...

Tia pulled Armaan up but Riddhima shook her head meaning she was not getting into the pool.

Ridz: No way...I'm not dressed for the pool... – looking down at her flowered dress

Tia: That's your fault...you knew you were coming to a pool party... – turning to Armaan - ...go on...

Tia and Michael smiled sneakily and Riddhima looked on in horror as she could just picture what was going to happen. Armaan made a move towards her but she backed away, Tia and Michael laughed as Armaan began to chase Riddhima around the side of the pool, a few moments later he caught her and lifted her in his arms and threw her into the pool, jumping in after her.

Riddhima spluttered and wiped her hair out of her face looking angrily at Armaan who was now making his way towards her in the pool as she stood there furiously. He was now standing an inch away from her and she could feel the closeness between them, her anger slowly disappeared as she felt his hands on her hips giving her a tingling feeling under her skin. They stared into each other's eyes for what seemed like ages enjoying each and every moment of this closeness until suddenly everyone else around them stared splashing them with water continuously.

A moment later Riddhima began to choke and Armaan made them stop; he carried her to the side of the pool and rubbed her back gently until she felt better. Tia, Sharon, Michael and Rachel looked on at this sweet scene in awe and instead of going to see if Riddhima was okay they decided to let the couple have a moment.

Armaan: Riddhima...are you feeling better?

Riddhima coughed again and he rubbed her back gently but with full concern. Once again he asked her if she was okay and she nodded but he carried on rubbing her back until he thought she was okay.

Ridz: Main theek hoon Armaan... – turning to him

Armaan: Are you sure...? – still very concerned - ...If you want to sit out for a while you can...I'll take you...

Ridz: I'm okay really...

Armaan: Theek hain...

Once Riddhima was okay and Armaan had made sure of it they joined the group who had made plans of playing volleyball. They got into two groups, girls versus boys which was a lot of fun, Billy and Annie also joined them and the game went on fairly for a very long time until everyone realised that they were tired. They came to a decision that the game was a tie and they all clambered out of the pool resting on the side and on the deck chairs.

A while later they headed to their rooms to get dressed and ready to leave. Riddhima rushed into the washroom first to have a quick shower, she came out five minutes later and let Tia in while she gathered her bags and left it by the door. Then she made her way out to the garden where she sat looking around at the area thinking of the three weeks she had spent here, she was beginning to feel emotional as her mind began to wander.

Ridz: - thinking - I can't believe these three weeks have gone extremely fast...the time I have spent here...it was like my home...I have become so close with everyone...they are like family to me now...and this room...this garden...this feeling...I'm going to miss it so much... – then smiling to herself - ...but as they say...nothing last forever...you enjoy the time while it's with you...when it's gone...it just becomes a memory...and I guess I just have to live with these memories...but I'll still miss it...a lot...

Tia: Ridz... – disturbing her thoughts - ...what are you doing here...don't you want to go? – sitting on the chair next to her

Ridz: I have to... – with a small smile - ...but I'm going to miss this place...

Tia: Me too...even though I come here every summer...this is the best time I've spent here...it's just been great being here with all of you...

Ridz: I know...but we'll definitely keep in touch...

Tia: Of course...come let's go...

They got up and made their way back into the room at the same time there was a knock on the door and they looked at each other curiously.

Tia: I'll get it... – making her way to the door and opening it - ...I should've guessed... – with a smile - ...ma'am your darling boyfriend is here to help you with your bags... – cheekily

Ridz: T! – blushing

Armaan: As a matter of fact...I am... – with his cute dimpled smile - ...may I give you a hand also ma'am... – bowing down to her melodramatically

Tia: Oh of course you may... – in high top English accent making them all laugh

Armaan: - lifting his own bag onto his shoulder he carried Riddhima's suitcase in one hand and Tia's in the other - ...Shall we...?

They both laughed at him as they walked out with their handbags, Riddhima shut the door behind her and they both followed Armaan down the corridor towards the lounge. As they got there they saw everyone else standing around with bags and suitcases waiting for their lifts home. Riddhima and Tia approached the group while Armaan placed Tia's bag next to her and turned to Riddhima.

Armaan: I'll just go and put these bags in the car...I'll be back in a bit...

Riddhima nodded and watched him leave the lounge then turned to her friends.

Sharon: Well...time to go home...

Tia: I know... – sadly - ...I know I'll still be coming here every summer but the time I've spent here this time with you guys...that will never come back...come on...imagine being here with your friends...and then coming back here every summer with your family...how boring... – laughed

Rachel: Yeah...that does sound quite boring... – laughed along

Michael: I've had a great time here with you guys...

Rachel: Me too...I'll miss you all...and miss all the times we've spent together...

Sharon: I'll definitely miss having you as a room partner...I'm really not looking forward to going back to sharing a room with my little sister... – making a face

Ridz: I'll miss having Tia as a room partner...

Tia: - giving her a side hug – Aww...how sweet...me too...

Michael: I'm going to miss these ready meals...

The four girls laughed at him and he shrugged his shoulders asking what was wrong with that.

Ridz: But seriously guys...I've had a lot of fun here...

Rachel: Yep I agree...you finally did prove it to us that you do know how to have a little fun as well as being a workaholic...

Sharon: Definitely...and it really did pay off...

Tia: Well...we have got to keep in touch...

Ridz: Of course...

Rachel: I'll try... – honestly - ...I'm not really good at emailing and phone calls but I'll try to drop in a text now and then...

Michael: At least you're honest... – smiling

Sharon: I'm really going to miss you guys... – sadly

Suddenly it became quiet and they all came together for a group hug and they stayed like that for a while until someone cleared their throat making them all look around.

Armaan: What about me? – sweetly

Ridz: - smiling – Come on...

Armaan moved in and joined in the group hug then they all moved away and Armaan put his arm around Riddhima's shoulder.

Tia: You two have got to invite us to your wedding...

Sharon: Definitely...

Armaan: - while Riddhima blushed – Of course... – with a big smile, then looking down at Riddhima - ...ready?

Riddhima nodded and hugged each one of them before walking out of the lounge hand in hand with Armaan. She settled down in the car silently while Armaan drove off, a while later he turned to look at her but unexpectedly she had a small smile as she looked out of the window. He smiled knowing that she was okay while she carried on looking out of the window as her mind wandered down its own path of thought.

Ridz: Well...that's another chapter closed in my life...time to go back to reality...taking small steps at a time...

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