Thursday, 28 May 2020

part 73 & 74 : Arman aur Riddhima ka safar

part 73

Doc: She's still unconscious...not exactly in a coma but we'll give her another twenty four hours...if she does regain her consciousness then we'll come to a conclusion...excuse me...

The doctor walked away and Armaan watched as he went; as he turned he saw Shashank, Padma, Anjali, Vikram and Nandani standing there. Padma looked as if she was going to pass out any minute and they helped her to a seat while Vikram rushed off to get water for her.

Armaan: - thinking - ...Yeh sab mere wajah se huwa hain...she was stressed out because of me...I have led her to this situation...I can't believe this is all my fault...she loved me so much...and all I did in return was have her lying on a hospital bed...unconscious to the world... – praying silently - ...please make her well again...Riddhima...please wake up...wake up and punish me for all my wrong doings...but please wake up... – his eyes filled with tears...

Armaan looked around the waiting room; Padma was sitting at the edge of the chair crying her eyes out while Nandani sat next to her comforting her. Shashank and Vikram were talking to the doctor and Anjali stood against the wall with silent tears rolling down her cheeks. A few moments later the doctor left the room and the men sat down next to their wives; Shashank explained what the doctor had told him and Padma was uncontrollable.

Padma: Yeh sab hamari galti hain...she was not ready and we forced this onto her...we didn't even ask for her opinion...she was under so much stress already and we didn't think about her feelings...this was wrong...

Nandani: Padma...control yourself...sab theek ho jayega...

Padma: But it's because of us that this has happened...till yesterday we we're both happy but we did not see the pain behind our daughter's smile...this is our fault...

Nandani: Yeh tum kya keh rahi ho? - confused

Padma: Yesterday she had a proposal and we didn't even ask her opinion...we just assumed she was happy...

Nandani: Who was it...?

Padma: Our neighbour's son...Vivik...

Armaan and Anjali looked up suddenly in shock as this name echoed through their ears several times both realising the seriousness of this issue but they both stayed quiet as not to make the matter worse but both their minds started working overtime as they thought of how Riddhima must have felt at the time.

Anji: - thinking - ...No wonder she was under so much stress...even his name must have scared her and to sit with him in front of her parents...I know she would not be able to refuse him for their happiness...they would think that they were making it easier for her as she wouldn't go far from them...but if only they knew what he had put her through they would never even think of this boy for her... – sighing - ...but this is also my fault...recently I have not been able to spend any time with her and she didn't want to involve me in her problems so she didn't tell me about this...I should've been there for her... - guilty

Anjali moved away from the waiting room and went to the washroom as she couldn't control herself any longer and the last thing she could do right now was to cry in front of Padma who was in a terrible state. Armaan on the other hand clenched his fist in anger as the name ran through his mind; he moved towards the window and looked out, now grabbing hold of the window sill; his knuckles turning white.

Armaan: I don't believe this...how dare he...how could he possibly think of proposing to her...after everything he has done...uski itni himat...I swear I'm going to kill him... – angrily in his own thoughts - ...he's at fault for her condition...I won't spare him...what the hell was he thinking... – then suddenly thinking about himself - ...he's not the only one at fault...it's my fault...I left her on her own...she must've had pressure from her parents to get married...I know she wants to be with me...but I gave her no signals about marriage and she... – cutting off his thoughts as he remembered something

Armaan...you haven't got time...for me...for us...for our future...you have other priorities which do not include me...

Armaan: - thinking – ...How could I let it get this far...I can't believe I put her through so much grief...this is all my fault...I hate myself... – angrily he thumped his fist against the window sill - ...I hate myself... – calming down as the pain ran through his arm and up to his head - ...please wake up Riddhima...please get well soon...

He closed his eyes as the same thoughts kept running through his mind and he began to feel horrible for his actions; he began to hate himself. After about an hour of silent suffering from each person in the waiting room the nurse finally came back into the room with a small smile on her face.

Nurse: - to Shashank - ...I have some good news...your daughter has regained consciousness...

Padma: - quickly - ...Is she okay?

Nurse: She's very weak but conscious...

Shashank: Can we see her...

Nurse: Yes...but not all of you at once...please take turns...

Shashank: Okay...thank you...

The nurse left the room and Shashank turned to Padma. Vikram placed a hand on Shashank's shoulder telling him to go and be strong; Shashank helped Padma to get up and walked her out of the room.

Nandani: - putting a hand on Anjali's shoulder - ...Anjali beta...tum bhi jao...

Anji: Ji ma... – tears rolling down her cheeks

Nandani: Par aise nahi...don't cry...she'll be okay now...

Anjali nodded and walked out of the room following her parents down the corridor to the ward Riddhima was in. Vikram and Nandani sat down but Armaan stayed standing by the window; he was happy to hear that she was well but he could not face her; he thought that he was the last person that she would want to see at this moment. He was brought back to reality a few moments later as he heard his name being called from a distance.

Vikram: Armaan...

Armaan: - turning – Yes dad...

Vikram: Are you okay?

Armaan: I'm fine... – lied

Vikram: How did you find Riddhima...where was she?

Armaan: - thinking - ...What should I say...I can't tell them that I knew she would be in our spot...they'll ask millions of questions...and right now I can't afford to bring this topic up...not when she's in this condition...this is the last thing I can do...it'll just bring on more stress for her...

Nandani: Armaan...your dad is asking you something...where did you find her? – looking closely at him

Armaan: Umm...I...she was...she was in the park... – stammering

Nandani: Park...? – looking from Armaan to Vikram and back - ...What was she doing in the park so early in the morning...?

Vikram: But how did you know?

Armaan: I...I didn't know...actually... – quickly thinking of something - ...I had no idea...but I went for my usual morning jog in the park... – lying - ...and I saw a crowd gathered and an ambulance...when I got near I saw a person who looked familiar...when I checked it was Riddhima...

Nandani: Kya? - shocked

Armaan: Haan...I didn't even know that she was out of her home so early in the morning... – lying - ...when I got there they were taking her into the ambulance and I said I know her so I came here with her...she was unconscious... – stammering again - ...and very pale...

Nandani: - getting up and coming towards him - ...Are you okay? – concerned

Armaan: Ji...ji mum...I'm fine...just...just a bit shocked...I didn't know what to do...when I got here I called Shashank uncle...

Vikram: It's okay...calm down...she's okay now...



In the ward Padma sat beside Riddhima's bed and Shashank and Anjali stood on either side of it watching their baby; she was always the baby of the family and to see her in this condition made their hearts ache. She lay on the bed with her eyes closed looking very pale; wires were attached around her body and glucose was being pumped into her with lots of machines beeping away. She was very weak and was put to sleep with the help of medicines.

Padma: Rid...Riddhima...beta utto...wake up my baby... – tears rolling down her cheeks - ...please wake up baby...

Shashank: -placing a hand on her shoulder - ...Let her sleep...she needs to rest...ab woh theek hain...tum phikar mat karo...

Padma got up and walked out of the room now crying uncontrollably; she made her way back to the waiting room and slumped into a chair and Nandani rushed to her side to comfort her.

Padma: Kaise phikar na karoon...my baby is lying there in such a condition and I can't do anything to help her...main kaisi ma hoon...my baby... – crying

Nandani: - hugging her close - ...Sshh...sab theek ho jayega...bas...calm down...

Vikram went into the room to see Riddhima and came back a while later with Anjali and Shashank and they all took turns to console Padma who was in a very bad state. After sometime Shashank told them all to go home as there was no point in standing around; but no one was willing to leave Riddhima in this condition.

Shashank: If you all stay here things won't get better right away...you all go home and relax...come back in the evening...Vikram... – looking over at him

Vikram: Haan...you're right...

Nandani: Main yahan Padma ke saat rukti hoon...Anjali aur Armaan tum log ghar jao...

They nodded obediently but inside they didn't want to budge from there; but they both spoke to Padma then followed Vikram out of the waiting room and down to the car. It was a very silent journey home as they were all busy in their thoughts until Vikram spoke up.

Vikram: Ab tum dono phikar mat karo...she's in safe hands and she will be better soon...Anjali beta you need to be strong for your mama...and Armaan don't forget you have a event to organise...you need to go to the office...

Armaan: - thinking – Oh no...I forgot all about that... – then out loud - ...yes dad...



They reached home quickly and Armaan rushed to have a shower to cool down but it didn't help; he got ready for work and made his way to the office unwillingly. He got there fifteen minutes later and dragged his feet to his cabin even though work was the last thing on his mind. He began taking out files and going through them but after a few minutes his mind drifted away from the words written on the paper and a vision of Riddhima lying unconscious flashed into his mind making him worry all over again.

Armaan: - thinking – ...I'm sorry Riddhima...I'm very sorry... – then praying silently - ...please make my Riddhima better...nothing should happen to her...if anything happens to her...if this is something serious...I won't ever forgive myself...yeh sab mere wajah se huwa hain...

He placed his head down on the table and thought of how rudely he had spoken to her on their last meeting and the times before that and once again he began to hate himself. A while later there was a knock on the door; he looked up to see Rahul and Abhi walking in and making their way towards them.

Rahul: Armaan...what happened...is Riddhima okay?

Abhi: What did the doctors say?

Armaan: Guys...I...I... – suddenly tears sprang to his eyes and he couldn't speak

Abhi put a manly arm around his shoulder as he understood what was happening to Armaan. They gave him a few moments until he had controlled himself and he began to speak again.

Armaan: This is all my fault...she's in this condition because of me...I left her to suffer alone... – gulping after every sentence

He was then disturbed by Rahul's phone as it rung suddenly making them all lose concentration from Armaan. Rahul answered his phone while the other two looked on curiously.

Rahul: Hi Muskaan...

Muskaan: Rahul...is Armaan there...what did he say...is Riddhima okay...what happened to her? – asking question after question

Rahul: Muskaan calm down...he's here...but he can't talk right now...

Muskaan: Why not... – angrily - ...give the phone to him...I want to speak to him now...

Rahul: Muskaan try to understand...

Muskaan: I don't want to understand anything Rahul...I need to speak to him...right now...

Rahul: Fine...I'm going to put it on loud speaker... – pressing the button and placing the phone onto the table

Muskaan: Armaan...where is Riddhima...?

Armaan: Hospital...

Muskaan: Is she okay?

Armaan: She was unconscious...

Muskaan: Now?

Armaan: She's asleep...very weak... – unable to speak

Muskaan: What happened to her?

Armaan: Pata nahi... – tears rolling down his cheeks

Niki: - from behind Muskaan - ...What did the doctors say?

Armaan: She's...she was...suffering from hyper tension...she was very stressed... – more tears rolled out of his eyes - ...because of me...

Niki: Armaan...control yourself...what did the doctors say before you left...

Armaan: She's still very weak...they didn't say anything...

Muskaan: This is all your fault Armaan... – angrily - ...you dumped her at a time when she needed you the most...

Rahul: Muskaan please...we don't need this right now...

Armaan: Nahi Rahul she's right...this is my fault...

Abhi: Armaan stop being so harsh on yourself...

Armaan: It's the truth... – angrily - ...this is my fault...I left her when she wanted me...she was on her own...she had to suffer so much without me...all the pressure...in this age...when her parents want something else and she sacrifices her dream for them...because I was not there for her...

Niki: Armaan...what are you talking about...

Muskaan: Explain what you're trying to say... – confused

Armaan: You have all got married...she's the last one left...her parents want her to get married...I didn't give her any signs of what I want of her in the future...and I left her alone...her parents found someone else for her and for their happiness she agreed...even though she knew this was like walking into hell willingly...

Abhi: What? – bewildered - ...Who did they find for her...?

Armaan: - throwing his hand across the table making all the files fall on to the floor - ... Vivik...

All: Kya??

Muskaan: No way...she wouldn't...

Niki: Not him...

Armaan: His parents was over at her house yesterday...he proposed to her...and she agreed... – tears rolling down his cheeks - ...for her parents happiness...and because I had broken up with her...it's our fault she took all this stress and left the house last night...she passed out in the park this morning and I was just lucky to be there in time...to see her in that condition I'm punishing myself...

Abhi: How dare he... – angrily

Niki: After all he put her through he has the guts to come back in her life like that... – shocked

Rahul: Muskaan...are you okay?

Niki: Muskaan... – placing a hand on her shoulder as she was now in tears

Muskaan: Yeh hum sab ki galti hain...we're all at fault for her condition...

Rahul: Muskaan what are you talking about...

Muskaan: Rahul...we all left her alone to suffer...not just Armaan...after we got married I don't think we have met up with her except for that hour on her birthday...and we were all too interested in our own lives to think about her...we don't know what she was going through all this time...

Niki: Muskaan you're right...we should've been there for her...when she broke up with Armaan...with this wedding proposal...we're her friends and she needed us...but not one of us were there for her...

Abhi: You girls are right...but there's no point in thinking about this now...that was all in the past...

Rahul: She still needs us now...and we're going to be there for her this time...Armaan...you don't worry...she'll be better soon...we'll go and see her...

Abhi: Yes...now she's not alone...we're all there for her and she doesn't have to suffer on her own...let's go and see her tomorrow...by then she'll be feeling better and she might be awake...

Armaan: Nahi...I can't face her...you guys go...I can't see her in this condition because I know I'm the reason behind it...

Muskaan: Armaan...I'm sorry...I know what I said was wrong...but we are all at fault and we'll all go and apologise and be there for her...

Armaan: ...I can't...

Niki: Armaan...listen to me...do you remember when you were in hospital and Riddhima refused to come and see you...what were you going through...do you remember... – Armaan thought for a moment - ...you were dying to see her but she also thought she was at fault...because of her Vivik had done that to you...so now you know what she must be feeling...

Muskaan: Haan...Armaan she'll be happy to see you...don't let her go through the pain you went through...

Armaan: But what if she doesn't want to see me...what if I make her condition worse...

Rahul: I doubt that...she'll be happy to know that you still care for her...

Abhi: Right then...we'll go tomorrow evening...visiting hours...

Muskaan: Armaan...take care of yourself...

Niki: Haan...and don't worry she'll be fine soon...bye...

Muskaan ended the call and the guys turned to Armaan; Abhi placed his hand on Armaan's shoulder to comfort him.

Rahul: Armaan...just relax...leave this project with me...I'll manage it...

Abhi: I'll help him...you just control yourself...



The next day came by tediously; Padma and Shashank had spent the entire night and day next to Riddhima's bed making sure not to budge in fear that something would happen to her. The next afternoon she was feeling better; still weak but conscious and she cried a little when she saw her parents who hugged her with tears. After the small family moment they spoke to her telling her it was fine if she was not ready for marriage and she could choose whoever she wanted when she wanted; there was absolute no rush. They made sure she ate and took no tension at all.

That morning Anjali and Atul visited her and later on in the afternoon Vikram and Nandani; they all told Padma and Shashank to rest but they refused to leave Riddhima until she forced them to go home and rest; she promised them that she was fine but they didn't want to leave her alone.

Padma: I won't let you stay here on your own...

Muskaan: Aunty she's not on her own now...

Shashank, Padma and Riddhima turned to the door to see Rahul, Muskaan, Abhi and Nikita standing there with smiles on their faces and Riddhima was happy to see them.

Rahul: - walking into the room – ...Uncle...aunty you both go home now and rest...we heard that you haven't left the hospital since you got here yesterday morning...

Shashank: We didn't want to leave Riddhima alone...

Abhi: Now she's not on her own...you both go home while we're here and we won't leave until you get back...okay?

Shashank: - turning to Padma - ...What do you say...?

Before she could answer Riddhima held onto her hand and reassured her that she was fine and she would be okay until they came back. Padma reluctantly agreed and they left the room, both looking back to see a smile on Riddhima's face, they walked out and made their way down the corridor until they saw Armaan walking towards them and they stopped to talk to him.

Shashank: Armaan...we wanted to thank you...if you was not there on time yesterday we wouldn't have found Rid...

Armaan: - cutting him off - ...Uncle please...don't thank me...I was just lucky to have been there...and now she's fine...that's all that matters...

Padma: Armaan... – tears coming to her eyes - ...I have to thank you...

Armaan: - hugging her and letting her cry - ...Aunty...everything will be okay...you don't worry...sshhh...it's okay...

Padma controlled herself after a while and they left; Armaan slowly made his way towards Riddhima's room now feeling very scared thinking of how to face her. He got there and stopped by the door, he pushed his head around the frame to see her sitting up in bed; she still looked very pale and weak but the smile on her face made him feel weak; he knew the moment he walked in there her smile would vanish and he didn't want that. But something inside made him stop to think; this was his only chance to apologise and accept his punishment. He braced himself taking a deep breath and letting it out then he stepped into the room and stood there.

Abhi: Ridz tell us what's your secret...you've lost so much weight...give me some tips...

Muskaan: Why do you need tips?

Niki: Muskaan...can't you see he's put on so much weight after marriage...

Rahul: And that's your fault Niki...you must be feeding him some delicious food...he just can't help it...

Abhi: Yeah...her food is very delicious...I'm glad I married her...

Rahul: What...for the food...?

Abhi: Then what?

Niki: Kya? – looking at him in shock - ...You married me just for my food...

Armaan watched the smile on Riddhima's face widen as she saw her friends arguing in front of her; she looked from Abhi to Nikita and back as they spoke then her eyes caught sight of him standing by the door and her smile vanished. Her expression suddenly changed and everyone in the room noticed; they looked in the direction of the door to see Armaan standing there and became silent. Armaan walked further into the room until he was standing by the foot of the bed and looking directly at her.

Armaan: Rid...Riddhima... – yet again tears sprang to his eyes as he said her name - ...Riddhima...I'm...I'm sorry...I'm sorry for everything I have put you through...all the pain...the suffering you had because of me...I was wrong...I left you at a time when you needed me the most...but all I could think about was my work...I had forgotten about you...when all you did was think about me... - tears rolling out of his eyes and down his cheeks uncontrollably - ...I have given you all the stress and I deserve a punishment...whatever you say I will do...because I'm the reason that you are in this condition...so please punish me...I'm sorry...I'm really very sorry...Riddhima...

His head was bent low and his eyes were blood shot red from crying so much. Riddhima was shocked at this outburst; this was the last thing she had expected from Armaan and she had no idea what to say or do instead she kept staring at him in this state...
.....................................

part 74

Riddhima's eyes caught sight of him standing by the door and her smile vanished. Her expression suddenly changed and everyone in the room noticed; they looked in the direction of the door to see Armaan standing there and became silent. Armaan walked further into the room until he was standing by the foot of the bed and looking directly at her.

Armaan: Rid...Riddhima... – yet again tears sprang to his eyes as he said her name - ...Riddhima...I'm...I'm sorry...I'm sorry for everything I have put you through...all the pain...the suffering you had because of me...I was wrong...I left you at a time when you needed me the most...but all I could think about was my work...I had forgotten about you...when all you did was think about me... - tears rolling out of his eyes and down his cheeks uncontrollably - ...I have given you all the stress and I deserve a punishment...whatever you say I will do...because I'm the reason that you are in this condition...so please punish me...I'm sorry...I'm really very sorry...Riddhima...

His head was bent low and his eyes were blood shot red from crying so much. Riddhima was shocked at this outburst; this was the last thing she had expected from Armaan and she had no idea what to say or do instead she kept staring at him in this state...



The others watched him as he broke down in front of her but they could not do anything; they waited for Riddhima to respond to him but she was also stuck for words and tears kept rolling out of his eyes. She felt his pain and hated seeing him in this position, before tears could spring to her eyes she held them back and braved herself before speaking up.

Ridz: Armaan... - slowly

Armaan looked up suddenly and Riddhima saw the pain in his eyes; he was really sorry and wanted to repent and she had no choice but to forgive him.

Ridz: Armaan...its okay... I forgive you...

Armaan: - smiled fully for the first time as he heard those three words - ...Sach...

Ridz: - nodding her head - ...Haan...

Armaan: - thinking for a moment and his smile vanished - ...Nahi Riddhima...punish me...I deserve a harsh punishment for all I have put you through...

Ridz: Armaan...woh sab bhool jao ab...I've forgiven you now...so just forget it...

Rahul: Chor na Armaan...finish this now... – putting a hand on his shoulder

Muskaan: - sitting next to Riddhima and giving her a hug - ...Ridz you're the sweetest...

Niki: Haan Armaan...let's forget all of this now...and just be happy...look at Riddhima...she's much better now...

Armaan: But...

Abhi: But nothing...Ridz has forgiven you...forgiven all of us...so let's just move on...right Ridz...? – smiling

Ridz: - nodding her head – Yep...

The gang cheered Riddhima up with their jokes and arguments and by the time they were ready to leave Riddhima felt much better but still a little uncomfortable around Armaan and he was also slightly edgy in her presence and spent most of the time silent which Riddhima realised. A while later; Shashank and Padma returned and her friends decided to leave; saying bye and that they would meet her again soon; she now felt much better.



Riddhima was now slowly recovering over a week; she felt much better and pleaded to the doctors to let her go home but after she had told them about her few months long symptoms they were unwilling to discharge her anytime soon. They had put all her symptoms into thought; long lasting cold, continuous cold and constant headaches, loss of appetite, loss of concentration, stress, blurry visions and on the day of the accident she had heart palpitations and shortness of breath; instead of taking this lightly they kept her under observation when really what she wanted was to go home.



It was early one afternoon when she decided to take a stroll around the hospital as she was very bored in the same room; after taking permission from the nurse. She walked down the white and clinical corridors looking into each room as she passed them and made her way down the stairs to the cafeteria. As she entered she looked around scanning the room until her eyes landed on a familiar figure sitting at one of the tables looking very sad; shocked and confused she moved closer to make sure she was not seeing things and he caught sight of her.

Armaan: Riddhima...what are you doing down here...? – getting up and walking to her - ...You should be in your room... – concerned

Ridz: What are you doing here...? – slowly

Armaan: Woh main... – suddenly stopped and thought - ...what should I say...how can I tell her that I come here every day to see her...I can't let her know...but I can't lie to her...but I can't tell her the truth either...

Ridz: Armaan...what are you doing here at this time?

Armaan: Ridz... – moving closer to her - ...come and sit...what are you doing down here anyway... – helping her to sit

Ridz: I was bored upstairs so I asked permission to come down for a bit...but you still haven't told me what you're doing here... – looking closely at him

Armaan: I'll get you something to drink...

Riddhima watched as he moved from behind her chair to the counter and ordered two cups of tea before making his way back to the table; he placed a cup in front of Riddhima and then he sat down but avoided looking at her.

Ridz: Thanks Armaan...but you still haven't answered my question...

Armaan: Umm...woh... – stammering - ...main...I was waiting for the rest of the gang...we were going to meet up here then come upstairs to see you...

Ridz: That's fine...but at this time... – watching him - ...I'm sure visiting hours doesn't begin until another two hours... – looking closely at him as she sipped her tea

Armaan: Ridz...tum janti ho ke main tumse jhoot nahi bol sakta... – taking a deep breath then looking into her eyes - ...I came to see you...

Ridz: At this time...? – confused - ...Don't you have to go to work?

Armaan: To be very honest Riddhima...since this has happened I can't concentrate on anything...I've handed over my projects to Rahul to complete...

Ridz: But...you've just been promoted...then how could you do something like that? – shocked

Armaan: - thinking - ...She even knows this much about me...and in all this time since we came back from the country club I have no idea what she's been going through...what kind of person am I...what have I turned into...?

Ridz: Armaan...I asked you something...

Armaan: I couldn't concentrate...ever since I saw you lying unconscious being taken into the ambulance...that's all that's been replaying in my mind...I can't put my mind on work...I don't know what I'm doing at home...I don't even know what I'm saying at times...and I didn't even dare to drive here today...

Ridz: - quiet for sometime then she spoke up - ...Armaan...I'm fine now...just forget about it...

Armaan: I wish it was that easy... – looking directly at her - ...you tell me...when I had that accident were you able to think...could you eat...or sleep...? – she was silent - ...Riddhima...I'm so sorry...

Ridz: Arm...

Armaan: - cutting her off - ...Riddhima please let me say what I have to...I can't live in peace again until I sincerely apologise and you don't forgive me with all your heart... – he looks into her eyes - ...Riddhima I was selfish...I only thought about myself and my work...I had forgotten you and your love...I ignored your phone calls and your texts...I put you through so much sorrow and it led to this...I'm really, really very sorry Riddhima...please forgive me if you can...if you can't then I'll understand and I won't bother you any more...I promise...

Ridz: - stuck for words for several minutes then she began to speak - ...I forgive you Armaan...just forget everything and let's move on now... – with a small smile

Armaan: Thanks Riddhima... – smiling sadly

Ridz: Cheer up now...

Armaan: - smiling fully - ...Ridz I was thinking...kyun na hum phir se shuru kare...

Ridz: Kya? – confused

Armaan: Look... – making her understand - ...when we met we argued...we hated each other... – smiling as he saw her expression change as she remembered those days - ...then during bhai and bhabi's wedding...there was infatuation...then it turned to love...with a few arguments...

Ridz: Which were your faults... – smiling

Armaan: Okay baba...my faults...then we reached the height of our love...and things went downhill after that...

Ridz: So what are you trying to say... – confused

Armaan: In our relationship we've never been friends...

Ridz: - thought for a moment - ...Haan...that's true...

Armaan: So why don't we start over again... – watching her smile he held out his hand over the table - ...so Ms. Not Interested...kya tum mujse dosti karogi?

Ridz: - smiled fully for the first time and nodded her head - ...Haan... – shaking his hand

Armaan: That's more like it... – putting on an act - ..."no pranks...no shaitani...only dosti nibhani..."

Ridz: Kya... – looking at him weirdly

Armaan: Haan...don't you remember...Dill Mill Gayye...

Ridz: Armaan...you're mad... – laughing at him

They chatted for a while longer until Armaan noticed the time and helped her back upstairs to her room; they joked around and had fun then Armaan decided to leave as it was almost visiting time and her parents were supposed to arrive soon. He made sure she was comfortable before he left saying that he would meet her again soon; she smiled as she watched him go and she felt heaps better; anyone who looked at her what think why was such a fit person in hospital.



A few days later Riddhima was discharged and was extremely happy to be back home; in her own room, eating deliciously warm, fresh cooked food and surrounded by all her loved people. Anjali and Nandani had spent a few days with them, helping Padma with the cooking and cleaning as the house was left in a mess for the amount of time Riddhima was in hospital. They made sure she was comfortable in bed and got her all that she wanted before the order could leave her mouth; she felt the immense love from everyone and felt much better.



The day she came home she got into some comfortable clothes and was tucked up in bed with juices and platefuls of fruit to munch on; she received a phone call from her family and was busy chatting away with them.

Ridz: Ji Ba...ab main bilkul theek hoon...aap fikar mat kijiye...I'm fine...

Ba: - crying - ...Yeh sab hamari zid ke wajah se hain...I told your parents to get you married...and now this...

Ridz: - cutting her off - ...Ba...aap please rona band karo...I'm fine now...

Ba: I'm sorry meri bachi...

Ridz: Ba...if you don't stop crying I'll cry...

Ba: Theek hain...I've stopped...

Ridz: Sure...?

Ba: Haan pakka...you take care of yourself...and as soon as Shubhankar gets his holiday I'm coming to see you...

Ridz: Ji Ba...

Dhruv: - taking the phone from Ba - ...Riddhi are you okay...what happened...why were you in hospital...what did the doctors do...I'm so worried about you...how are you feeling now... – breathing heavily - ...over here no one is telling me what happened...I'm so worried...

Ridz: Oh my favourite little guy... – smiling widely – ...don't worry so much...I'm absolutely fine...I was just a little weak and had to spend time in the hospital but now I'm fine and I'm back at home...

Dhruv: Are you sure you're okay...I want to come soon too...it's my summer holidays but bhai is helping dad at his office for some time and there's no one else to bring us...we have to wait for their holiday...but don't worry I'm coming soon...

Ridz: I can't wait to see you...

Dhruv: Me too...

From the back Riddhima could hear a squabble starting up and a loud moan; she smiled as she heard another familiar voice on the line.

Naina: Hi Ridz...how are you feeling now...?

Ridz: Hey Naina...I'm fine...

Naina: You had us all worried...

Ridz: Sorry...but really I'm okay now...

Naina: Okay take care of yourself...

Ridz: Thanks for calling...

Riddhima ended the call and smiled at the concern of her family but somewhere deep down she felt a little bad for her actions as she had made everyone worry unnecessarily. But before her thoughts could go any further her phone buzzed on her bedside table and she grabbed it, looking down at the name she smiled and answered.

Ridz: Hi Tannu...how are you...

Tannu: Hi ki bachi...how are you...what happened...Sid told me everything...but I'm so shocked...wait till I get there I'm not going to spare that Armaan...

Ridz: - smiling - ...Hi Tannu...how are you...it's been a long time...what you up to...? – sweetly

Tannu: Ridz...

Ridz: Chor na Tannu...it's all over now...forget it...please...

Tannu: You can forget it but I can't...do you know he hasn't spoken to me since I left last summer...what kind of friend is he...I hate him... – then calming down a little - ...but how are you feeling now?

Ridz: That's more like it...I'm fine...finally glad to be home after two and half weeks...

Tannu: Yeah I know what you mean...I hate hospitals...

Ridz: So...when am I going to see you next?

Tannu: Trying to get time off work for this summer...hopefully you'll see me by the end of summer...

Ridz: Oh that's great...

Tannu: Yeah...until then take care of yourself...

Ridz: I will...and thanks for calling...

Tannu: No prob...bye...

Riddhima ended the call and laid back in her bed closing her eyes and resting a little with a smile on her face. A while later Anjali came upstairs to her room carrying a plate of steaming hot stir-fried noodles which smelled delicious and she instantly sat up.

Ridz: Dii...that smells delicious... – licking her lips

Anji: Calm down...it's all yours...here... – handing her the plate

Ridz: Thanks dii... – excitedly she began to eat

Anjali sat next to her on the bed and watched her with a smile on her face but there was a sad look hidden behind it as she carried on looking at Riddhima eating away. Later on that day Riddhima had more visitors, Muskaan and Nikita spent the afternoon with her giving her company and they were later joined by Armaan, Rahul and Abhi who lightened up the atmosphere with jokes and silly stories from the office. Late into the night her friends left and Riddhima was alone in the room with Armaan; there was something strange which they both felt as they sat in silence looking over at each other. Before either of them could say anything Anjali and Atul came into the room and once again it was filled with jokes and laughter.



Two weeks later Riddhima had fully recovered and was back to her normal self; feeling fit and fresh. She had put back on the amount of weight she had lost and had started exercising again. All her stress had vanished and she felt much healthier now. She was practicing her yoga pose early one morning as the sun shone into her room, the balcony door was open and fresh air entered the room, the wind blew the nets and there was a fresh feeling about this morning.

Suddenly there was a knock on her room door and she ended her pose before turning around to see Padma walk into her room with a bright smile.

Padma: Good morning beta...

Ridz: Morning mama... – giving her a hug

Padma: Here...this just came for you... – handing her a rectangular metallic blue envelope

Ridz: Yeh kisne beja? – looking closely at it

Padma: Pata nahi...open it...

They both sat down at the end of her bed and Riddhima slowly opened the envelope looking inside to see a scroll like paper rolled up. She carefully took it out and unrolled it to reveal an invitation; she read through it slowly and turned to face Padma as she neared the end.

Padma: What is it?

Ridz: It's an invitation... – slowly looking back at it - ...for a class of '07 reunion party...

Padma: Arre wah...that's nice...when is it?

Ridz: This Friday...

Padma: Toh tum ja rahi ho?

Ridz: I don't know...

Padma: What do you mean you don't know...you should go...

Ridz: I'll call Muskaan...see if she's going...

Padma: Theek hain...you call...I'm going to get breakfast ready...come down when you're finished...

Ridz: Ji mama...

Riddhima walked around her bed to the table and as she was about to pick up her phone it rang; she saw Muskaan's name flashing on the phone and answered it quickly.

Ridz: Hey Muskaan...

Muskaan: Hi...did you get the invitation... - eagerly

Ridz: Yep...

Muskaan: Then let's go shopping today...Niki just called me as well...we'll meet up at the mall around three...

Ridz: But Musk...I'm not sure if I want to go...

Muskaan: What...? – shocked – ...What do you mean you're not sure...of course you're coming...we're all going...I'll meet you this afternoon at the mall okay?

Ridz: Theek hain...bye...

Later that afternoon the girls met up in their usual spot at the Mall and began to shop. Riddhima made up her mind that she would go along to the reunion with the rest of the gang and they all chatted away excitedly about the upcoming event.



That Friday night Riddhima got dressed in a purple and black long evening dress with a halter neck top and silver studded surface deco. She wore a matching purple shawl to cover her arms as she thought the dress was a little too revealing; but she looked beautiful with her hair done up nicely and beautiful matching silver jewellery which Armaan had gifted her for her birthdays and success. She grabbed her metallic silver clutch purse along with her invitation scroll and made her way down the stairs in her silver heels. All eyes turned to her as she got to the bottom of the stairs and made her way into the living room carefully in her heels.

Padma: Wow beta...you look beautiful...kisi ke nazar na lage... – placing a black spot of kajal behind her ears

Ridz: Mama...yeh sab kya hain...

Shashank: You don't worry about all this... – making a face then smiled - ...go and enjoy yourself...

Ridz: Ji papa... – then to Muskaan and Rahul who were waiting for her - ...sorry to keep you guys waiting...shall we go...

Muskaan: It's okay...

Ridz: Bye mama...bye papa...

Padma: Have fun...all of you...

Riddhima got in the back seat of Rahul's car as they drove to the venue; their old school; on the way they chatted excitedly about all the people who would be there, people who they haven't met in these two years of leaving school. They arrived quickly and made their way up to the sixth form common room where the party was being held. On the way they came across many familiar faces who they greeted with smiles or some hugs and kisses; the three of them got into the lift now very excited.

Muskaan: Isn't it great being back here after two long years...

Rahul: I know...but I also know one person who wished that this could be the last place to ever come to...

Ridz: Who's that? – quizzically

Rahul: Abhi...

They all laughed as they got out of the lift and made their way to the main hall; as they reached the entrance door they were greeted by familiar faces and Riddhima turned to Rahul who wore an I-already-knew look. This event was organised by the Khushi Events team, two workers welcomed them and checked their invitations; handing them leaflets about what was to take place this evening. They walked into the hall to see it was beautifully decorated with blue and silver coloured drapes, balloons, streamers and flowers. The garden in the middle looked beautiful with fairy lights in the plants and benches set out like a moonlit garden. The glass doors in the middle were open; the partitioned classrooms on the right side were opened out and it was like a small hall, with comfy chairs and tables laid with snacks and appetisers. The main common room was being used as a dance floor and was packed with lots of familiar faces.

They moved through the crowd and made their way to two very familiar faces who were chatting away with old class mates. Nikita turned to them and hugged each of the girls while Abhi carried on chatting away.

Niki: Hey guys...you look beautiful...

Muskaan: You're also looking very nice...

Niki: Ridz...I told you that outfit would look beautiful on you...and look you're even matching the decorations... – smiling

Ridz: Thanks Niki...I really like it... – then turning to Rahul - ...you knew this was being managed by Khushi Events...

Rahul: Haan...sorry I didn't tell you before...I didn't think it was important...but yeah...it's mine and Armaan's project...when we found out that the school wanted to hold a reunion party me and Armaan jumped on it...we met the head of sixth form an organised this function...

Ridz: But...how comes you're not doing anything now...I mean...

Rahul: Actually Armaan said to leave it to him...and when I left here this afternoon everything was finished...and I had to go home to collect my wife and best friend... – putting one arm around Muskaan and the other around Riddhima - ...and I must say you both are looking very, very beautiful...

Muskaan: Thank you...

Ridz: - smiling slowly – Thanks Rahul...

Abhi: - turning away from an old classmate towards the gang - ...I still can't believe I'm back here...this is the last place I wished to see myself...

Muskaan, Riddhima and Rahul all looked at each other and laughed while Abhi and Nikita looked on curiously.

Niki: What's wrong guys...?

Muskaan: – laughing - ...While we were coming up here in the lift Rahul said the exact same thing Abhi just did...and we knew it was true...

Rahul: And it looks like he's having the most fun...

They carried on laughing and joking around, both guys had their arms around their wives and the four of them looked very happy. Riddhima smiled; but inside she felt a little sad.

Ridz:  - thinking - ...If he's organising the event that means I won't see him...just like all the other functions...and I was hoping...maybe we could spend this evening together...going over all the good times we spent here...but...what was I thinking... – sadly

Riddhima looked around the hall; one very familiar faces stood out amongst the crowd and Riddhima suddenly felt very scared as their eyes met and he began making his way towards her. She was rooted to the spot and was unable to move but he came forward and was now standing in front of her; she turned to go but he held onto her hand and a cold shiver went down her spine.

Ridz: - turning back – Let go of my hand...

Riddhima struggled to remove her hand from his grip but he held it tightly and was about to speak when suddenly the lights were dimmed and a spot light came on flashing around the hall until it stopped on the glass door of the balcony. An image of Armaan falling through the glass flashed through Riddhima's mind and she suddenly pulled her hand roughly out of his grip turning to the where the spotlight shone. She noticed a figure standing on the outside of the balcony; and she squinted her eyes to see who it was but she could only see the back. Out of nowhere a sudden tune started up and filled the hall and the person began to sing...

Asmani rang ho...pyar ki bhoond ho...roshni ho...dhoop ho...chahaton ki goonj ho...anchal main hain dhanak chandni...haaton main woh chand hain...gairon se bhi hai wasta...apno mein pehchan hain...

The music played on for some time and Riddhima moved forward to see who it was but the person still would not turn.

Mera izhaar hain...pyar hi pyar hain...yaaron ki yaar hain...tu zindagi... – slowly turning around to face the crowd - ...tujhse main kya kahoon...tu hi mera sukoon...sang tere rahoon...tu zindagi...

Just as the person turned to face the crowd the spot light went off and they were unable to see who it was; suddenly there was a loud bang of multi-coloured fireworks and out in the distance they all read:


I LOVE YOU RIDDHIMA...

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