Tuesday, 26 May 2020

part 69& 70: Arman aur Riddhima ka safar

part 69

This very eventful summer was coming to an end and suddenly Riddhima's life was being sorted for her and she felt very scared which made her take a quick decision. Before Ba and her family had left to go back home at the end of summer there was a small question about Riddhima's future which scared her; marriage. The entire family sat in the living room on the last evening going through the events of the summer when the subject came up.

Ba: The next time we come over I want to be celebrating again... - happily

Shashank: Celebrating...? – looking confused

Ba: Haan...now it's my gudia's turn to get married...Padma we need to start looking for someone...do you have anyone in mind?

Padma: Ba...not yet... - slowly


Ba: Then what are you two waiting for? – looking annoyed at them - ...All her friends have got married...she's the only one left...I think I should find someone for her...kyun gudia?

Ba looked over at Riddhima who was now in shock as this subject had cropped up and she was lost in her own thoughts.

Ridz:- thinking - ...Oh my gosh...no way...why did this have to come up now... – questioning herself - ...yes I am ready for marriage but...main sirf Armaan se shaadi karna chahti hoon...and at the rate things are going at the moment shaadi is the last thing on his mind...I can't let this topic go on any further...I have to think of something and quick...before they start looking for someone and the next thing you know my life is going to be a mess...kuch soch Ridz...jaldi... – worried lines appeared on her forehead

Keerti: Riddhima... – touching her shoulder

Ridz: - jumping slightly – J-ji?

Keerti: Are you okay?

Ridz: Ji...I'm...I'm fine...

Ba: Toh kya socha tumne Riddhima...should I find someone for you?

Ridz: Woh actually...Ba main...ummm... – stuttering

Shubhankar: Riddhima...take your time...it's okay...you just tell us what you want...no one is going to pressure you into anything...after all this is your life..

Ridz: Thanks Chachu... – feeling slightly better she took a deep breath

Shashank: So Riddhima...what do you want to happen?

Ridz: - looking around at everyone's faces then taking another deep breath before beginning - ...Papa...actually...I'm not ready to get married now...

Ba: Kyun? – suddenly

Riddhima was sitting with Dhruv laying his head in her lap, she eased him onto the sofa and got up walking over to where Ba was sitting and crouched down in front of her.

Ridz: Ba...yes I want to get married...but I'm not ready just yet...maybe next year...right now I want to do something else...

Ba: Kya...what do you want to do? - slowly

Ridz: Ba...I am interested in fashion design...you all have seen my work and you all know how much I love this kind of thing...I have just passed my course and I can do more with my qualification... – looking closely at Ba as she spoke - ...I don't know if after marriage my husband or my in-laws will let me do this...so this is my only chance...if I just have one year to do this then I have no complains and this time next year I will get married...please...

Ba was silent for a while and so was everyone else, Riddhima prayed in her mind for them to understand her point of view and agree with her.

Shashank: Theek hain Riddhima...but what have you thought...what do you want to do...what is further than your course?

Ridz: - turning to look at him – Papa...I was thinking...if I could design outfits for Khushi Events customers... – excitedly

Shashank: What? – baffled - ...Matlab?

Ridz: Sorry...this is not the best way to talk about business but I was thinking about this for a few days... – explaining her ideas - ...papa...when you have clients coming to the office to talk about their plans...their choice of venue, types of food and caterers, decoration etc, etc...some brides-to-be will also have ideas for their wedding dress...or other outfits...and I could design it...like I have done for Dii's wedding dress...Muskaan and Niki's...what do you think?

Shashank: - thought for a moment - ...That sounds quite interesting... – nodding his head - ...I'll talk to Vikram and we can advertise it...

Ba: Aur tumhari shaadi?

Shashank: Ba...we can give her one more year...and then you can do as you wish...jaisa aap chahiye waisa hi hoga...kyun Riddhima?

Ridz: Of course...theek hain Ba? – holding her hand

Ba: Theek hain... – giving her a hug

Ridz: But papa...just one thing... – he raised his eyebrow and she carried on - ...if we do go through with this...it won't be in the office...I'll meet the clients outside of the office...

Shashank: That's fine with me...



A few months had passed now; Shubhankar and his family had now gone back home as the Dhruv and Naina were back at school and he had work priorities but they still came down in the school half term holidays. Riddhima and her family also paid them several visits and they were now seeing a lot more of each other to make up for the loss of seventeen years of separation. Sid still worked in Khushi Events with his uncle but after every project he had completed he would go back to his home for a few days because they missed him so much.

Sid and Tannu kept in close contact after they had met up at Abhi and Nikita's wedding as they had become very good friends and everyone could see that it could go a bit further than friendship which made everyone very happy. The two new couples; Rahul and Muskaan and Abhi and Nikita had taken a break and hopped away for their honeymoon in warm countries making the most of their new lives together and Riddhima was extremely happy for her friends. But once they got back from their holiday the guys were back to work; Abhi had also joined Khushi Events as an IT technician. The girls; Muskaan and Nikita were in full fling as new house wives and were getting on quite well with their in-laws.

But amongst all of this two people were moving further apart; Armaan and Riddhima hardly kept in touch and there was never any contact between the two apart from a random text now and then to see if the other was alive. This was playing on Riddhima's mind for quite a while and it had started to annoy her to such a point where she had almost begun hating on him and her dreams were just not helping. Every other night Riddhima would have a nightmare of an argument between the two or suspect him of falling in love with someone else or sometimes even worst situations which had her waking up in the middle of the night, sweating madly and screaming his name. It had slowly started to effect her lifestyle and health; the amount of stress was leading to a loss of appetite and she noticed that she had a continuous cold which just would not go away; no matter how many times Padma would tell her to visit the doctor she kept putting it off saying that it was due to the winter weather.

Sooner than she thought it was now deep into winter; and not that she was excited or looking forward to it; it was her birthday. Like always she woke up to a room of flowers; wishing her a very happy birthday; even though she smiled through a yawn and watery eyes she was not at all a happy birthday bunny on this cold morning as she sniffed back yet another sneeze and rubbed her red nose.

Padma: Happy Birthday beta... – giving her a warm hug

Ridz: Thanks mama...but who is all this from now?

Padma: These ones are from Ba... – pointing to the bouquet on the dresser - ...those are from Naina and Dhruv... – pointing to the ones at the bottom of the bed

Ridz: That's really sweet...mama can you just put them on the window sill for now...if I go near them right now my cold might just get worse...

Padma: How many times do I have to tell you to go to the doctors...

Ridz: Mama...please not now... – groaning

Padma: Theek hain...then complain some more... – she put the bouquet away then walked towards the door - ...get dressed and come down for breakfast...

Riddhima slowly stretched her arms out as she yawned widely then leaned back on her pillow looking over at the bouquets remembering something which made her smile through watery eyes.

Flashback

Shashank: And that one? - Riddhima and Padma turned to the last bouquet which Padma had brought in with her - ...Who's that one from?

Padma: Pata nahi...there's no name on it...

Riddhima looked closely at the bouquet of red roses sitting at the end of her bed and smiled; she knew who it was from; only one person would send her a bunch of red roses.

End of Flashback

Ridz: Armaan... – slowly - ...I miss you Armaan...

A tear trickled down her left cheek as she remembered Armaan; this was quite usual for her recently; Riddhima had found herself crying for absolutely no reason, just the thought of Armaan would bring tears to her eyes as she yearned to see him and be with him. She got out of bed and made her way to the washroom to make herself fresh then she went downstairs to have breakfast and Padma informed her that she had invited her friends over for dinner. Riddhima smiled slowly at the thought of meeting her friends as she had not seen them in ages and also she was happy that she would see Armaan but for some strange reason she felt odd; something which she never felt on any of her other birthdays but she just couldn't understand what it was that was bothering her.

Later that afternoon Riddhima was relaxing in her room; curled up on her beanbag sofa in her fluffy multicoloured socks and scarf with a book but as she read further into the chapter her mind began to drift away; back to her normal subject; Armaan.

Flashback

*

Ridz: So where's my present? – leaning against Armaan's arm

Armaan: Present...why do you want a present when you have me…am I not enough… – winking at her

Ridz: Armaan! – punching his arm playfully

*

She picked up her pillow to fluff it up as she yawned. She was about to place the pillow back into position when her eyes landed on a tiny square red box. She picked it up curiously and opened it; inside were two small circle shaped diamond studs.

Ridz: Wow! – whispered, seconds passed just by looking at them, a smile appeared on her lips – …Armaan!

She quickly reached over for her phone and sent him a message. Three seconds later her phone beeped; automatically pressing the button she read the message

"I love you too jaan <3"

She kissed the phone and drifted off into a peaceful sleep with sweet dreams of Armaan.

*

But before she could say anything she felt his soft lips on her cheek; she was shocked and blushed madly then turned to him speechless.

Armaan: Happy Birthday baby... – whispered into her ear – ...sorry for arguing with you so early in the morning...I just wanted bhabi to leave the kitchen that's why...I wanted to wish you specially...

Riddhima looked at him sweetly and mouthed "I love you"

*

Armaan had given everyone a lift home and the car was silent with just the two of them left.

Riddhima looked down at the roses in her hands thinking about her day when suddenly Armaan stopped the car. She looked up to see that they were by the park and turned to Armaan who was already looking at her with a smile.

Ridz: What's wrong Armaan? – looking curiously at him - ...Why did you stop here?

Armaan: I haven't given you your gift yet... – smiling widely

Ridz: - blushing she looks down – Armaan... – she looked up a few seconds later to see Armaan holding a single rose, she looked up at him suddenly in shock

Armaan: Happy Valentine's Day baby...

Ridz: Armaan tumne??  - shocked – ...Yeh sab...? – looking down at her roses then back up at him, he nodded and she playfully punched him a few times until he held her hand to stop her – ...Armaan...

Armaan: Sorry jaan...sorry for irritating you all day...all these roses were from me... – she looked at him in disbelief – ...I know you was annoyed but...I love to see your annoyed expression...you just look so cute... – touching her cheek - ...I wanted to see that expression all day and this was the only way...but this is also my gift...roses for valentines and eighteen of them for your birthday... – smiling at her

Riddhima thought about the roses and realised that there were eighteen; she smiled happily and was surprised to see this cute gesture by Armaan. She leaned over and gave him a quick kiss on his lips whispering Happy Valentine's Day against it making him feel warm inside.

Armaan: - taking out a slim black case from his pocket – This is for you...

Ridz: Armaan...ab yeh kya hain?

Armaan: Open it... – as she took it

Riddhima opened it to see a beautiful bracelet; it was matching the necklace and earrings that Armaan had gifted her on her last birthday and on New Years. She smiled excitedly and hugged him.

Ridz: I love you Armaan!

Armaan: Love you too...

*

The gift she had loved the most was placed in a beautiful vase next to her bed; her roses. She looked at them closely to see that each one had her name written on it, the ones that were given in the morning had her name written on the stem and the ones that were given in the evening her name was written on the petals very finely. She smiled as she stroked them, her phone vibrated and she picked it up quickly and read his text.

Armaan: Sorry again jaan...but I only did it coz I Love You...

Ridz: I love you too Armaan...don't worry about it...this was the best gift I've got till date...

Armaan: Really...even better than the jewellery I gave you?

Ridz: Yeah...because you put more effort in this...more love in this...anyone can buy me jewellery...but what you did today...was the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me...I love you...

Armaan: I love you too...Happy Birthday once again...sweet dreams...xxx

Riddhima fell asleep once again dreaming of Armaan.

*

Riddhima walked to the table with Muskaan and they looked down at the cake which read: Happy Birthday Jaan...Riddhima looked up in shock at Muskaan; the same girl tapped her on the shoulder and pointed to the door; Riddhima looked there to see Armaan and Rahul standing there with big smiles on their faces.

Ridz: Armaan? – whispered

Armaan and Rahul walked towards them; Rahul stood next to Muskaan while Armaan walked around the table and stood in front of Riddhima; he bent on his right knee and looked up at her while everyone looked on. He held his hand out to her in which was a single red rose. Riddhima was still in shock but smiled at this action of his...

Armaan: I'm sorry Riddhima...please forgive me... – Riddhima nodded silently - ...I love you...

Ridz: - mouthed – I love you too...

Everyone cheered around them and Armaan stood up and hugged her. They stayed like this for some time until Rahul tapped him on the shoulder making them move apart a little.

Rahul: Shall we cut the cake?

Armaan picked up the knife which was on the table and handed it to her but she held his hand on the knife and they cut the cake together; everyone cheered and applauded then helped themselves to a piece. The four of them sat at the side of the room in couples while Jia watched with envy from the other side; she did not take part in this celebration.

Muskaan: How did you guys do this?

Ridz: I was wondering the same thing...and shouldn't you both be at work now?

Rahul: Well...we did go to the office today...we were called in the office by your dad... – to Riddhima - ...he went over our project and was really pleased at the reviews and the way we had worked and also really happy with the huge check we received after yesterday's party that he gave us a few days break...so we decided to come here and surprise you both and celebrate Ridz's birthday...

Muskaan: Well done...

Ridz: And yeah this really was a very sweet surprise thank you...

Armaan: Anything for our love...right Rahul?

Rahul: Yep...

Armaan: Ridz... – turning to face her - ...I'm really very sorry about last week...we were just so caught up with our work we didn't have time...you know I would never stay away from you just like that...

Ridz: It's okay Armaan...really...I just over reacted...I'm sorry... – he nodded - ...and thanks for the flowers this morning...they were beautiful...

Armaan: Flowers? – curiously - What flowers?

Ridz: Didn't you send a bouquet to my home this morning...there wasn't a name or note...I thought...

Armaan: - laughing – Calm down...it was from me...

Ridz: - smacking him as he shielded himself – Armaaannn!!!

Armaan: I love you...

*

End of Flashback

More tears trickled down her cheeks as she thought of all her birthdays that she had spent with Armaan but most of this birthday had already passed and she had not heard from him; not even a text saying happy birthday; and this made her feel terrible but she suddenly wiped her cheeks as she heard a knock on the room door and in came Anjali with a gift box.

Ridz: Dii... – with a smile; putting her thoughts at the back of her head

Anji: Hi Ridzi...happy birthday... – giving her a hug and moving back - ...here...this is for you... – handing her the gift box

Ridz: Thanks dii...

Anji: What are you doing locked in your room on your birthday...come lets go down...everyone's waiting for you...

They went downstairs and Riddhima met her guests; Vikram and Nandani handed her gifts and wished her while Atul pulled her leg about getting old. A while later her friends arrived with more gifts; and they were really happy to see her but Armaan's absence was once again disturbing her. She settled down with her friends in the conservatory and the general chatter started up.

Muskaan: How've you been Ridzi?

Ridz: I'm good thanks... – smiling slowly - ...thanks for coming...

Abhi: Of course we had to come...after all it's your birthday...

Rahul: Yep...you're getting old... – teasing

Ridz: I'm not the only one...

Muskaan: It's been ages since we got together...

Niki: I know...everything's changed now...we should make plans to meet up more often...

Rahul: That's easy for you girls...we're busy all the time...

Muskaan: And we just sit around at home doing nothing right...? – to Rahul

Rahul: I didn't mean that...

Abhi: What Rahul meant was that we're always at the office...you guys can find sometime while you're at home...

Niki: Okay forget all of that now... – turning to Riddhima - ...Ridz what's up...have you suddenly taken up a diet...you've lost so much weight...

Ridz: No...its just the weather...it's so annoying I have this cold for ages now and I've kind of lost my appetite...that's it...

Muskaan: You should look after yourself...

Ridz: It's okay guys...I'm fine...come let's go eat...

Changing the subject from her they went into the kitchen where dinner was being served. They got something to eat then returned to the conservatory as the general husband wife conversations started up between the new couples and Riddhima sat in the middle as they talked about the changes in their lives and coping with sharing everything. Riddhima smiled slightly as she listened to them but once again her mind was far from there. Muskaan nudged her a few minutes later bringing her back to earth.

Muskaan: What's up Ridz... – silently - ...if no one else can see but I can...I know something is bothering you...so just tell me what it is...

Ridz: - finally giving up with her thoughts and coming out with it - ...I don't know Muskaan...I'm just feeling a bit low...I wonder where Armaan is...he hasn't even wished me at all today...

Muskaan: Has no one told you...didn't Armaan tell you? – a bit shocked

Ridz: Kya?

Muskaan: Woh...Armaan has gone back home...I mean...he's got a new project and the event's taking place near his home town...so he went back two days ago I think...you didn't know?

Riddhima shook her head slowly once again lost in her thoughts. He hadn't even called her in the past month, they had not spoken for ages and she had no idea about his whereabouts. She felt a huge pang in her chest but Muskaan tried to console her. It had started to get late and her guests left wishing her once again; she said bye while in a daze and then made an excuse to go up to her room saying she was tired and was going to bed.

She got dressed and sat up in bed; her mind was working overtime as she thought about Armaan's absence today and the distance that had grown between them. Her head felt as though it weighed a ton and her eyes felt very heavy as she held back more tears. She picked up her phone and looked through the photos of Armaan as her heart craved for him but he didn't care.

Riddhima pictured herself standing in the middle of a crowded club completely isolated even though there were people moving all around her. She looked around until her eyes fell onto a slightly familiar figure and her legs carried her towards him but as she stood there he ignored her and carried on looking into another girl's eyes; whispering sweet nothing into her ears as she blushed madly and he caressed her hands in his. Riddhima felt herself move even closer to him; she held onto his arm making him look away from the girl and towards her.

Armaan: I'm sorry...do I know you?

Ridz: Armaan...I'm Riddhima...your Ridz... – tears sprang to her eyes - ...how could you forget me...

Armaan: I'm really sorry but I don't know you...

Ridz: But Armaan... – now in tears - ...I love you...you're mine...we've been together for so long...why don't you remember me? – grabbing onto his arm

Armaan: - getting up and shaking her off – Excuse me...behave yourself...I have no idea who you are...just leave me...

Ridz: I love you...

Armaan: I hate you... – angrily - ...I hate you...and I never want to see you again...

Armaan shook her off and she fell to the ground shouting and screaming his name as she watched him walk off with another girl.

Ridz: Arrrmmmaaannn!!

Riddhima jumped out of her nightmare sweating madly, tears rolled out of her eyes soaking her cheeks as her dream haunted her yet again. She got up and walked to the washroom, she splashed her face with cold water making her feel slightly better then walked back to her bed. She sat up as the dream replayed in her mind for the millionth time until she fell asleep once again.



A week later she overheard Padma talking on the phone that Armaan was back and her heart skipped a beat. She rushed to her room and sat at the edge of her bed as her mind started working overtime once again.

Ridz: This is it...I can't stay like this forever...I have to do something...

Riddhima reached over for her phone and scrolled down to his name, quickly pressing the button she held the phone to her ear and waited until she heard it ring, once, twice, three...and four times then his voicemail came on. Swearing loudly she cut the call and tried again. It rang once, and then twice on the third the phone was answered...

Armaan: Hello?

Ridz: Armaan...we need to meet...

Armaan: Umm...Ridz I'm a bit busy today...I just got back...and...

Ridz: - cutting him off - ...Armaan...I need to meet you today...

Armaan: But Ridz...I'm really tired...we'll meet up tomorrow...

Ridz: Armaan...this is urgent...can you please pick me up in an hour...

Armaan: Fine...

Ridz: Thanks...

Riddhima cut the call and got dressed quickly. She paced her room as her head throbbed harder and her eyes felt extremely heavy; she heard the doorbell and rushed out of her room and down the stairs just in time to see Padma open the door, quickly turning to look at Padma not Armaan she told her mum that she was going out for a bit and rushed out of the house with Armaan tailing her quizzically. She settled down in the car still not looking at him but gave him instructions of where to go and he drove silently. They arrived in about five minutes but neither of them got out of the car; Armaan looked around at the park to see if there was something she wanted to show him but it was bare and he turned to look at her.

Armaan: What's wrong Ridz...why have you asked me to bring you here...and what's so urgent?

Ridz: Armaan...we need to talk and this is the only way I could get to see you... – slowly turning to him - ...Armaan...things have gone too far...and we need to sort it out before it gets any worse...
..............................................

part 70

They arrived in about five minutes but neither of them got out of the car; Armaan looked around at the park to see if there was something she wanted to show him but it was bare and he turned to look at her.

Armaan: What's wrong Ridz...why have you asked me to bring you here...and what's so urgent?

Ridz: Armaan...we need to talk and this is the only way I could get to see you... – slowly turning to him - ...Armaan...things have gone too far...and we need to sort it out before it gets any worse...



Armaan: What are you talking about Riddhima...what has gone too far? – looking closely at her – ...What is the problem?

Ridz: Don't tell me that you don't think there's a problem... – shocked

Armaan: I really don't Ridz...I don't know what you're talking about...

Ridz: Are you serious... – getting slightly angry

Armaan: Please...stop beating around the bush and come out with it... - frustrated

Ridz: I don't believe this...you think that nothing is wrong at all... – outraged - ...I just don't believe this...

Armaan: Come on Ridz...just tell me what is wrong...

Ridz: Armaan I've had enough...I've had enough of all of this...

Armaan: Enough of what...you're still not making yourself clear...just tell me straight...

Ridz: - now in anger and close to tears – Armaan...you're so stuck into your work that you don't see anything that's going on around you...you've changed ever since we came back from the country club...we we're so close and we spent some good times together...but ever since we came back all you care about is your work...it's almost going to be a year that everything has changed between us...you got yourself so involved in Muskaan and Rahul's wedding...then Sid and Niki's engagement...then Abhi and Niki's wedding...and after that all your other projects and now it's just like... – not sure how to end her sentence

Armaan: Like what? – confused – ...Riddhima...that's my job...

Ridz: Armaan...you still don't get what I'm trying to say... – trying not to give up

Armaan: Why don't you say it clearly and then I can understand... – now very frustrated

Ridz: - fuming - ...You're not putting any effort into this relationship...you're always working... – angrily - ...you've forgotten me and you have no time for me...it seems like I'm the only one who's trying...and I'm tired of running around after it...because it's just one sided...so why should I bother...? – looking angrily at him, her voice began to rise - ...Armaan...does this relationship mean anything to you anymore? – looking into his eyes - ...Do I mean anything to you?

Armaan: Ridz I think you're just over reacting... - calmly

Ridz: Over reacting? – shocked yet again at his calmness - ...Armaan...are you being serious...you don't think that there's a problem...we haven't spoken to each other for over a month and you think that's normal...? – rounding on him - ...We haven't met for over two months and that's normal...? Not wishing me on my birthday or even a single text is normal for a couple...? This is all normal for you...you think it's fine if it carries on like this...?

Armaan: - was stuck for words for a moment - ...Ridz...

Ridz: I've really had enough now Armaan...and if you think so or not but I think we need to make a serious decision... – almost shouting - ...because you haven't got time...for me...for us...for our future...you have other priorities which does not include me...because you've just got too big for your own boots now that you just don't see anything else or anyone else but yourself... – angrily on the verge of tears - ...you're selfish Armaan...you're not the person who I fell in love with...you've changed...and I don't think we can be together any more...

Armaan: - angrily – Riddhima you are over reacting now...I'm not selfish and neither am I too big for my boots...you are the problem...miss princess just wants all the attention for herself...no one else should matter but her...you know what Ridz...I've also had enough of your badgering...your pointless phone calls...annoying text...people have a lives...they don't just sit around like you...so I think it's best that we end it...

Ridz: It was my idea and I'm ready to leave you...because you're just heartless...you care for no one but yourself... – crying – ...I hate you...

Armaan: Feeling's mutual... – spat angrily - ...at least I won't have to think about you any more...

Ridz: Not like you did anyway... – crying uncontrollably

Armaan: Get out...I don't want to see you again...I hate you...

Riddhima grabbed her bag and jumped out of the car slamming the door behind her; a second later he drove off and Riddhima leaned against a lamp post crying her eyes out. A few moments later she controlled herself and walked back in the direction they came from wrapping her coat around her as snowflakes began to fall from the sky and settle around her; tears continued to roll out of her eyes and down her cheeks as she made her way home; his words echoed through her mind for the millionth time.



Sometime after she had ended her relationship with Armaan, Riddhima had found herself in a worse condition as it kept replaying through her mind; even though she wanted to end their relationship; that was not the way it was supposed to have happened. She wanted to end it on a calm note so that they could still be friends, in a way that would not affect their family relationships but things had just gone way out of hand and neither of them wanted to see each other again. The entire conversation had gone the wrong way and had made Riddhima's nightmares a hundred times worse; it had now affected her health, her lifestyle and her work; everything just seemed awful.



A week later she found herself rushing through the icy street trying not to fall as she made her way to her favourite coffee shop; which for some strange reason she was beginning to hate. She was supposed to meet a client there to discuss her outfit designs and she was running late; she felt her shoe slide on a piece of ice but she quickly grabbed hold of the door handle and controlled herself before she walked into the shop. She spotted her client who did not look very happy and walked over to her with a small smile.

Ridz: Hi I'm sorry for being late...it's just the weather...

Lady: - cutting her off - ...I got here in the same weather and on time... – cross - ...anyways...let's get on with it...

Ridz: Sure... – taking out her file from her bag - ...here are some of the designs... – handing them to her

Lady: - looking closely at them - ...What is this...? – frustrated - ...I purposely said not green...why is there three designs in green? – looking up at Riddhima - ...And who wears long sleeves blouses with a sari? – handing the papers back to Riddhima

Ridz: - looking at the designs and swearing silently – Umm...I'm sorry...but the colour is not a problem...I can change them...what colour would you prefer...

Lady: I'm sure I had given you my preferences in writing... – annoyed - ...why haven't you followed them...?

Ridz: I'm sorry ma'am...I'll double check them and have it sorted...

Lady: I haven't got time for this...I might as well buy my own readymade outfit from a boutique...just forget all of this...I don't want to go through with this...

Ridz: I'm extremely sorry ma'am... – upset

Lady: And you should be... – getting up

Ridz: Please just give me one more chance...

Lady: No way...my wedding is in a few weeks...I need it for this spring...not next... – walking away

Riddhima slumped down in the chair as she watched her client walk out of the coffee shop in a huff; she slammed the file on to the table and leaned her head onto it.

Ridz: Aarrggghhh...my head is so painful...why can't I concentrate on my work...why, why, why? – frustrated



A few weeks later Riddhima noticed that instead of things getting better it was now in a complete mess and there was no way she could fix it. She had messed up a few more of her clients designs and she just could not concentrate on anything; she had asked Shashank for a small break from the designing until she thought she was ready. She stayed at home and put her mind into other things like cooking which made her feel slightly better.



That morning Padma had gone out with a couple of neighbours to Wembley for sale shopping and Riddhima was at home alone; Sid had gone back home for a while and Shashank had left early in the morning to go to the office. She had decided to try out a new recipe and was searching in the cupboards for the ingredients. A while later she was well into cooking and the kitchen was filled with a delicious smell; she licked her lips as she tasted her food and smiled slightly; the first in a very long time.

Sometime later she had just added the final touch to the dish and placed it in the oven when the phone rang making her jump; she looked around quickly holding onto her chest as it had given her a small fright then walked over to it and picked it up.

Ridz: Hello?

Muskaan: Hi Ridz...how are you?

Ridz: Oh hi Muskaan...I'm fine...and you?

Muskaan: I'm okay...I've been trying on your mobile but it keeps going to voicemail...

Ridz: Sorry...it's upstairs...I forgot to bring it down with me...

Muskaan: It's okay...what you up to...I haven't spoken to you in ages...

Ridz: I'm just cooking...yeah I know it's been a really long time...how's married life going?

Muskaan: Good...has its ups and downs...

Ridz: It's almost going to be a year for you guys...wow...

Muskaan: I know...time flies...

Ridz: You think... – seriously - ...it's going extremely slow for me...aatiichhoo... – sneezes several times then recovers before talking  - ...sorry about that...

Muskaan: Are you still not well?

Ridz: Yeah...just this really annoying cold...I've had it all winter and it doesn't want to go...

Muskaan: Have you done anything about it...like go to the doctors...

Ridz: You know I don't like going to the doctors...

Muskaan: Well don't expect it to get better on its own...spring is here now and it's not good to have a cold for so long...it's almost five months right...

Ridz: I know meri maa...what's with the lecture... – smiling slowly

Muskaan: Fine I won't lecture you...you know what's best for your health...

Ridz: So tell me...what's new?

Muskaan: Nothing much with me...you should be telling me...I bet you're so happy...

Ridz: I should be telling you? – confused – ...What?

Muskaan: Okay stop with your nautanki now...I bet you can't wait for the party tonight...

Ridz: Muskaan...what are you talking about...what party?

Muskaan: Ohh...looks like it's a surprise for you also...

Ridz: I'm seriously confused Musk...tell me clearly...

Muskaan: Be ready tonight...your sly boyfriend will be coming to pick you up...

Ridz: Musk... – slowly

Muskaan: - cutting her off - ...Okay fine...I'll let you in on the surprise but don't tell him I told you...Armaan's been promoted... – excitedly - ...he's throwing a party tonight at our old club...he called and invited us two days ago...

Ridz: Oh...that's great... – sarcastically

Muskaan: What's wrong Ridz...?

Ridz: Muskaan...I'm not invited...and I won't be...

Muskaan: What are you saying Ridz...of course you're invited...your boyfriend's been promoted...

Ridz: No Muskaan... – slowly - ...he's not my boyfriend...we broke up a month ago...

Muskaan: WHAT...?? – shocked - ...Ridz are you serious? When? I mean...how did this all happen?

Ridz: It's been going on for ages...and the only solution was to end it...

Muskaan: But... – still in shock

Ridz: Woh sab choro Muskaan...it's over now... – sadly - ...but you guys go ahead and celebrate...I'm happy for him...he got what he wanted... – on the verge of tears - ...and he deserves more...

Muskaan: Ridz... – slowly

Ridz: Umm... – clearing her throat - ...Muskaan...I'll talk to you later...my food is ready and I think mama is back...I'll give you a call sometime in the week...take care...bye...

Muskaan: Bye Ridz...

Riddhima ended the call and leaned against the cupboard thinking about Armaan's success; she really was happy for him. Even though they had ended it her feelings for him had not changed and she still cared a lot for him; this news was music to her ears and even though she couldn't celebrate with them she was happy to know that he was celebrating. She walked towards the kitchen table and sat down thinking of Armaan and their first meeting.

Flashback

*

Teach: Looks like you finally have some competition… – he hands their work sheets back to them – …very good work Armaan…welcome aboard!!

Ridz: WHAT?? – shocked - …But…but I always get the highest marks!! – sad face

Armaan: Not any more…Ms. Not Interested!! I think you should get use to the fact that I'll always be one step ahead of you…

Armaan picked up his bag and walked to the door; he turned and winked at her before walking out of the room.

Ridz: Arghhh!!! – very angry now

*

Ridz: Tum?? Phir se? – looking at Armaan

Armaan: Maine kya kiya? – smiling slightly now that she's okay

Everyone settled down and looked curiously from Riddhima to Armaan and back.

Ridz: I don't ever want to talk to you...

Armaan: Par baat to tumne shuru kiya…hain na? – smiling sweetly

Ridz: YOU?? – pointing at him

Armaan: My name is Armaan…not "you"!! How many times do I have to remind you?

Ridz: Argh…wish I didn't have to put up with this…

*

Ridz: TUM? What are you doing here?

Armaan: Huh? – coming out of his thoughts – …What?

Ridz: Behre ho kya? What are you doing here?

Armaan: Ajeeb ladki hai…you've come to my house and you're asking me what I'm doing here… pagal…

Ridz: Kya kaha tumne? Pagal…main aur pagal…tum toh…

Armaan: Haan…you're right…tum sirf pagal nahi ho…tum toh sab kuch hai…pagal, janglee, crazy, stupid…pura list hain mere paas…sunna chati ho?

Ridz: TUM! – stepping up now at the same height as Armaan

Armaan: Kitne baar tumhe kehna parega…it's Armaan…not TUM! Please get it right…

Ridz: Whatever…

*

End of Flashback

Riddhima smiled through watery eyes as she thought about each time they started bickering for absolutely no reason; she hated it then but now she wish she could bicker with him again just for the fun of it. It had been an entire month since they had last seen or heard from each other and she missed him lots.

Ridz: - talking out loud to herself - ...I'm really happy for you Armaan...you really deserve this...all your hard work has finally paid off...even though we did start this together...event management...but even in this you're one step ahead of me...if it wasn't for me...you wouldn't even know that you had a hidden talent in this field...but now you've really gone way ahead and forgotten me on your way to the top...but I still love you...and I'm happy for you... – tears rolled down her cheeks - ...I pray that you achieve the highest and your name is written in golden letters...all the best...

Riddhima thought about him for a while longer until her tears stained her cheeks and her eyes were red. She had stopped crying now and was staring into thin air as her thoughts carried on until from a distance she heard the front door slam shut; she quickly wiped her face before turning to see who it was. She saw Padma walk into the kitchen carrying a few bags and she walked over to help her.

Padma: Ridzi you should have come along with us...there was some really nice outfits...I bought so many nice saris...and I bought a suit for you too...here... – looking into the bags and picking out a suit - ...have a look...

Ridz: - taking it - ...Thanks mama...

Padma: Go and try it on...

Ridz: Abhi nahi...I'll try it later...

Padma: Go on...

Ridz: Mama...lunch is ready... – changing the subject - ...let's eat...I'm very hungry...

Padma: Okay fine...I'll just go and freshen up...

Padma left the kitchen and Riddhima set the table with lunch; she sat down and waited for Padma to return then they began to eat together. Padma talked through the events of the morning; about who she had met; outfits she liked and the prices of everything while Riddhima stayed quiet and nodded several times until Padma brought up a subject which the neighbours had mentioned while they were out.

Padma: Ridzi...I was thinking... – getting her attention - ...one year is almost up...and you have stopped working on your fashion design ideas...so maybe we should start thinking about what will happen next... – beating around the bush - ...and today the neighbours were also saying the same thing...what do you think?

Ridz: Mama...what are you talking about...I don't understand... – confused

Padma: The neighbours were saying that it's been a long time since we had a wedding...

Ridz: - not letting her finish - ...So they should get their kids married then... – quickly

Padma: Haan Ridzi woh bhi theek hain par... – getting serious - ...one year is almost up beta...if we start looking for someone now then we can have the wedding in summer...

Ridz: Mama please... – annoyed

Padma: Riddhima...do you have anyone in mind...? – looking closely at her

Ridz: Nahi mama... – getting up

Padma: Then we'll start looking for someone...

Riddhima turned around sharply to say something but stopped as she realised the seriousness of this matter. She stayed quiet as she put the dishes in the dishwasher and rushed out of the kitchen and up to her room leaving Padma sitting there with a smile on her face. She walked into her room quickly and stood in the middle as the conversation replayed in her mind several times. She suddenly felt a little dizzy and her vision became blurry, she moved to her bed and laid down closing her eyes as her mind filled itself with random thoughts.

Ridz: - thoughts – ...Rishta...Shaadi...Armaan...pyar...nahi...no... – shutting her eyes tight - ...Armaan...
...........................................................
Flashback

Ridz: Kyon?

Armaan: Kyon ki…I can't see you cry… - whispers

*

Armaan: I thought you were the most beautiful girl in the world…you looked so beautiful…and I couldn't take my eyes off of you…I just wanted to capture that moment forever and I took the photo…I'm sorry if you're hurt or…

Ridz: It's okay… - she doesn't know what to feel

Armaan: Riddhima…I don't know how to say this but…I can't sleep without looking at your photo…I can't work when you're not around…I want to know that you're alright where ever you go…I think about you all the time…I lo… - he stopped to think if he should carry on, Riddhima was all smiles

Ridz: Go on…

Armaan: I love you Riddhima…I love you…

*

Armaan: Great... – pulling her closer with a big smile

Ridz: Noo... – moving him away – …you stay right here...I'll just take a quick shower and be down in five minutes...

Armaan: That's not fair Ridz...this is perfect time...I just want to love you...we never have time alone… – pulling a puppy dog face

Ridz: Armaan... – after a few seconds of watching him she finally gave in

Armaan: I love you…

*

Ridz: Armaan...yeh tum kya kar rahe ho...it's unhygienic...

Armaan: Nothing is unhygienic between us...I can't see you bleed... – staring lovingly into her eyes

*

Armaan: Get out...I don't want to see you again...I hate you...

*

End of Flashback



A few days later Riddhima found that her health had deteriorated with the amount of stress that was building up. She had decided to get out of the house and get some fresh air but she wanted to be alone and made a trip to the mall. The moment she reached there she felt like walking back out as all the memories of the gang and Armaan flooded her mind but instead she debated with herself and decided to be strong walking in and browsing through the shops.

Half an hour later she had felt slightly better and had also found a nice new outfit which she bought without second thought. Just as she walked out of the shop she heard her name being called from a distance but didn't turn until it was called out again and she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned to see a beautiful young lady standing there with a bright smile on her face.

??: Hi Riddhima…how are you?

Ridz: Umm...I'm fine... – baffled,  then slowly  – ...do I know you?

??: Not fair Riddhima...you've forgotten me... – smiling - ...Minnie...

Ridz: Oh my gosh Minnie... – happily hugs her - ...you're so grown up...you look beautiful...

Minnie: Thank you...

They went over to the fountain cafe and settled down after they had each brought something to drink.

Minnie: So...you've forgotten me...but I still remember you all...I missed you guys so much for the rest of my school life and even now...how's Muskaan and Niki?

Ridz: They're fine...both married and settled down with their husbands...

Minnie: Married? – surprised - ...Wow...Rahul and Muskaan right...and who did Niki marry?

Ridz: You remember Abhi right...

Minnie: What...?? – shocked – ...But they both hated each other...then how did they get married?

Ridz: They were in love...secretly...after going through lots of problems they're now happily married...

Minnie: And I'm sure you're also happily married...here shopping with your husband's money... – winking - ...so tell me how is my Armaan?...Or shall I say now your husband Armaan...

Ridz: - becoming serious - ...Umm...I'm not married...and we're not together any more... – slowly

Minnie: Oh... – shocked but calm - ...I'm sorry...

Ridz: It's okay...it's been a while...

Minnie: Well...I hope you find someone very soon...and I pray that he makes you the most happiest and lucky lady in the world...

Ridz: Thanks... – smiling

They chatted for a while longer until Riddhima realised the time; they shared contact information and wished each other before Riddhima decided to head home. Even though she had felt slightly better after getting out of the house her mind still buzzed with the usual thoughts of Armaan, their breakup and now Minnie's words which confused her slightly. She reached home sooner than she had hoped and as she entered she heard voices coming from the living room, she peeped in to see that they had guests but was not sure who it was; instead she rushed upstairs from the main staircase to her room to get dressed into some decent clothes.

Once she had felt a bit fresh and looked decent she decided to go down to meet the guests. As she neared the living room the voices could be heard but she still could not make out who it was until she got to the bottom of the stairs and was met with a shocking surprise.

Padma: Lo Riddhima bhi agayi...

Shashank: Come Riddhima beta...we we're just waiting for you...tum hare liye ek bohot acha rishta aya hain...

Riddhima stood rooted to the spot as all heads turned to face her but one; and she felt a shiver go down her spine as he slowly turned to face her with a smile...


No comments:

Post a comment

dilmilgayearblog.blogspot.com