Saturday, 30 May 2020

part 77 & 78 : Arman aur Riddhima ka safar

Part 77 

The next day the Gupta and Malik family started  with the wedding planning as they were all excited and wanted this to be a big wedding with all the rituals and functions and lots of guests as both of their youngest children were getting married. Nandani, Anjali and Armaan had come around to the Gupta house to start the planning; they all sat in the living room that afternoon going through the main details.

Nandani: First we'll have the engagement ceremony next week...two weeks before the wedding...so let's plan that one first... – turning to Padma - ...how many guest do you think...

Armaan: - cutting her off - ...No mum...

Everyone turned to look at him with curious looks and raised eyebrows wondering what was wrong with him suddenly.

Anji: What happened to you?



Armaan: I don't think we need to have an engagement ceremony... – looking around at all the ladies

Padma: Why not? – confused

Armaan: Actually aunty the thing is...I've already proposed to her...and... – looking at Riddhima's hand and smiling - ...she's already wearing the ring...so actually we're already engaged...so there's no point in having a whole ceremony for something that has already taken place...

Ridz: But Armaan...

Armaan: - cutting her off - ...Why should we waste time and money for this ceremony when we're already engaged...and I mean...we'll have to rush everything in one week...do you get what I'm saying...

Ridz: Haan...I guess... – slowly nodding her head

Armaan: What do you all think? – turning to the other three

Padma: I don't know...

Nandani: It'll be odd... – slowly

Anji: Ma...I know why he's saying this...

Padma: Kyun?

Anji: Mama...he can't wait any longer...he just wants to get married quickly...he can't stay away from his Riddhima any more... – teasing - ...kyun Armaan?

Armaan: Woh...ummm... – scratching the back of his head

Padma: Oh...toh yeh baat hain... – smiling

Riddhima became shy and looked down while the ladies teased Armaan and he had to give in.

Armaan: Okay fine...that's the truth...but I still think this is a waste of time and money...the rest is down to you all...

Padma: Theek hain...we'll cut out the engagement but all the functions will take place...and you can't back away from it okay Armaan...?

Armaan: That's fine with me...

Padma: I think...most of the functions should take place at home like we did during Anjali and Atul's wedding...but the wedding should be in the hall...

Nandani: Haan...even I think that was a good idea...it's just much simple...

Anji: Yeah I agree...

Ridz: Main bhi...

Armaan: Okay that's sorted...what's next...

Nandani: The guest list...

Anji: I think everyone will have their own set of guests that they want to invite so why don't we all make our own lists and then put it together...it'll be easier and that way we won't forget anyone...

Padma: That's a good idea...

Armaan: Okay we'll do that then...

Padma: - to Riddhima and Armaan – ...You two make up the list of your friends first and then Riddhima decide with Armaan about the functions and what you want...

Armaan: Yeah...then I can hand it in at the office for them to get working on...after all Mr. Shashank Gupta ki beti ki shaadi hain...bohot dhoom dhaam se hogi... – smiling

Padma and Nandani left them alone and went into the kitchen while Armaan and Riddhima started writing up their guests list together and Anjali made her own then went into the kitchen to join the ladies. Once they had finished Riddhima began to discuss her ideas with Armaan.

Ridz: Armaan...I was thinking of the venue...

Armaan: Country Club... – ending her sentence for her with a smile

Ridz: How did you know?

Armaan: If I don't know your choice then who will... – winking at her

Ridz: Oh really... – smiling at him - ...then let's see how well you know my choice... – sitting back and looking at him with a huge smile

Armaan: Challenge huh...? – Riddhima nodded - ...Okay then...the venue should be colour co-ordinated in blue, pink and white...white lilies and pink roses...fairy lights decorating the trees...a massive tent decorated in yet again pink and blue drapes...Indian and continental caterers...your outfit should be ivory with a hint of traditional red and gold...your brides maids should be in pink and blue... – looking closely at her as her mouth dropped open then he carried on - ...blue invitation cards...white cake boxes...oh and...a bouquet of red roses with diamonds... – smiling at her - ...am I right or...am I right? – looking into her eyes

Riddhima sat there in shock as she could not believe that he knew all the small details; her mouth was still hanging open when he had finished going through the list; he placed his finger under her chin and closed her mouth with a smile.

Ridz: Tum...how...how did you... – in shock then grabbed hold of herself - ...you went through my planner didn't you...?

Armaan: I swear I didn't...

Ridz: Then how did you know all the small details?

Armaan: I told you...if I don't know your choice then who will... – smiling sweetly at her - ...do you want to hear the ideas for the sangeet and mehendi too...? – winking at her

Ridz: - smiling at him - ...I trust you to manage that...after what I've just heard I know you'll have it done perfectly...

They chatted for a while longer about other wedding planning details then they were disturbed as the doorbell rung and they both looked up to see who it was; Muskaan and Nikita ran into the living room and both pulled Riddhima into a rib crashing group hug; they were so excited. After a few moments they calmed down and moved back; taking a deep breath as they wore huge smiles and then settled down.

Niki: Ridzi I'm so happy for you...

Ridz: Thanks Niki...

Muskaan: Finally...three years later...but I'm very excited I can't wait to get started with all the planning and shopping...and then the functions...

Ridz: Well...the planning is almost finished...me and Armaan were just working on it...

Muskaan: Oh hi Armaan... – just noticing him – ...I didn't see you there...

Armaan: Yeah...I noticed... – sarcastically - ...I am getting married too...if you didn't know...

Niki: Sorry Armaan...we we're just so excited for Ridz... – holding out her hand to him - ...congrats...

Armaan: - shaking it – Thanks...

Muskaan: Nautanki... – smiling in his direction - ...but yeah congrats to you too...

Niki: I still can't believe this is actually happening...this is going to be so much fun... – turning back to Riddhima

Ridz: And a very big wedding...

Muskaan: Yep after all the owner of Khushi Events...Mr. Shashank Gupta ki beti ki shaadi hain...it'll be the biggest of all the events organised there...I can't wait...

Niki: So who's done the planning?

Ridz: Me and Armaan did it together...well actually...Armaan has done most of it...all of my choice... – smiling t him as she remembered how he had just recited the list of her choice - ...and the guests list will be ready by tomorrow...after everyone has written there's up we'll put it together...and the rest is down to papa...the budget and all...

Niki: You don't need to worry about that...your dad will do all that...anything else left?

Armaan: You guys do know I'm still here...you can also include me... – feeling left out

Muskaan: Aww...look at that face...he looks like a loner...

Ridz: Guys...please don't tease him...he's been getting it all day...

Niki: He deserves this much...

Armaan: - moving closer to Riddhima and moving to hug her - ...Thanks Ridz...at least I know someone cares...

Muskaan: Okay...okay... – getting up and sitting in between the two of them before Armaan could actually hug her - ...that's enough closeness...

Armaan: What? – looking bewildered

Niki: Yep that's right Muskaan... – then turning to Armaan - ...you guys can't stay together until after your wedding has taken place...

Armaan: What are you two talking about...I've just proposed to her...she's my fianc...and you two are keeping me away from her...this is not fair... – making a face

Anji: - walking back into the room – ...This is fair...mere pyaare dewar ji... – sitting down with them - ...from now until after you both are married...you can't spend any time alone with each other...you can only meet in a crowd and there should be no closeness...

Armaan: What rubbish... – turning to Riddhima - ...I've never heard anything like this before...you guys are just making it up to tease me...right Ridz...?

Ridz: - shaking her head - ...I'm sorry Armaan...yeh bhi ek rewaj hain...it's a cultural thing...we can only meet in a group... – looking sadly at him

Armaan: I don't believe all of this...it's rubbish... – getting up and going over to sit on the other side of Riddhima

But Nikita rushed there quickly and sat there not giving him a chance and Anjali and Muskaan laughed at the shock on his face.

Niki: If you try to push it we'll have to be more strict...if you don't want us to then just leave things as they are for now...

Anji: Niki is right...we'll be keeping an eye on you...

Armaan: This really is not fair...this is blackmail... – slumping down in the single sofa

Muskaan: That's right... – smiling at their victory

Before anyone else could say anything the doorbell rang again and Anjali went to see who it was and Riddhima was also curious; she excused herself and went into the kitchen and a wide smile appeared on her face as she saw Ba and the family standing in the hall; Riddhima rushed to meet them giving Ba a big hug.

Ridz: Ba...how are you...aap theek toh hain na... – moving back with a smile

Ba: Mein theek hoon... – slowly

Ridz: - noticing that something was wrong - ...Kya huwa Ba?

Ba: - tears sprang to her eyes - ...Meri bachi... – giving her a hug again - ...ho sake toh mujhe maaf kardo...I'm sorry...meri wajah se tumhari halat itni karab thi...tum bimar par gayi thi...meri zid ke wajah se...

Ridz: - rubbing her back to calm her down - ...Ba...ab mein theek hoon...I'm absolutely fine...dekho mujhe... – moving back - ...aap please rona band kijiye...I'm fine...aur aap ki koi galti nahi thi...okay?

Ba: - nodding her head as Riddhima wiped her cheeks - ...Okay...

Ridz: Now be happy...meri shaadi hone wali hain...and you're going to be part of it...you'll take part in all the functions and we'll have lots of fun...right? – with a big smile

Ba: Haan maine sunna hain...aur mein bohot khush hoon yeh sun kar...when am I going to meet my hone wale damad? – smiling

Ridz: You can meet him right now...come in... – taking her into the kitchen and through to the living room where Armaan was - ...Ba...yeh hain Armaan...

Ba: Arre...aise koi naam lete hain kya... – shocked

Ridz: Then what should I say? - confused

Ba: You should say...mere "woh"... – dramatically making everyone laugh

Ba then met Armaan and sat down to have a good chat with him while Riddhima went back into the kitchen to meet the rest of her family. Shubhankar gave her a warm hug and congratulated her then went into the living room to meet Armaan while Riddhima hugged Keerti.

Keerti: I'm really happy to hear that you're fine now...we were all so worried...but then when we got the call last night we thought enough waiting and we made your chachu drive us all here today...

Naina: Yeah... – giving her a hug - ...we couldn't wait any longer...we're all so excited about this wedding...we're going to have so much fun...

Ridz: Yeah...even I'm excited...

Sid: - whispering in her ear from the back – ...And about time...

Ridz: - turning to face him - ...I know...but you completely disappeared...you said you'll take a three week holiday...and what happened...you planned to come back two and a half months later...

Riddhima watched as Keerti, Naina, Padma and Nandani went into the living room to sit with the others and they carried on chatting for a while.

Sid: Sorry yaar...I was supposed to come back but then dad told me to stick around and help in his company...he even spoke to bade papa and told him to let me stay there...I had no choice...

Ridz: It's okay...but I hear that you've been keeping someone updated with all the latest gossip...

Sid: What...? – confused – ...Who?

Ridz: Do I need to remind you... – making a face then smiling as she teased him - ...you've been chatting to Tannu quite a lot recently...haven't you?

Sid: Oh...woh... – scratching the back of his head - ...umm yeah...sort of...but we're just good friends though...don't go getting any ideas...

Ridz: Don't worry...I won't...

Naina, Muskaan and Nikita came into the kitchen while a sudden thought hit Riddhima and she looked around curiously.

Ridz: Sid...Naina...where's my Dhruv...? – still looking around - ...Didn't you guys bring him along...or is he still in the car...he's usually the first one to come and meet me...this is not like him...he was so excited to come...

Sid and Naina shared a worried look and again Riddhima knew something was wrong. She raised her eye brows at the two of them waiting for someone to explain.

Naina: Woh...umm...actually Ridz...he's here...but...

Ridz: But what...? – confused

Sid: The thing is Ridz... – not sure how to say it - ...last night when badi ma called and told us about your rishta everyone got excited...but Dhruv wasn't...he's finding it hard to accept that you're getting married and going to be someone else's...looks like he really has fallen in love with you...

Ridz: Kya? – shocked

Naina: Yeah...he has been quiet since last night...all this morning and throughout the entire journey here...and I know he was the most excited to come but after hearing this...he's really hurt...

Ridz: Where is he?

Sid: I think he sneaked upstairs...maybe in his room...I think you should go and speak to him...

Ridz: I'll be right back...

Riddhima walked out of the kitchen and made her way upstairs feeling really bad. She got to his room and slowly knocked on the door before walking in; right away she noticed that he had been crying as he wiped his cheek and turned away. Riddhima walked towards the bed and sat down next to him quietly.

Ridz: Hi my favourite little guy... – after a few moments of silence - ...you don't want to talk to me...I'm a really bad person aren't I? You don't like me any more right?

Dhruv sniffled and again wiped his cheek and Riddhima felt horrible. She stood up and walked in front of him and kneeled down on both knees looking up at him; she held his hand.

Ridz: Dhruv... – slowly - ...I'm very sorry...I know I've hurt you very badly...and I'm really sorry...please forgive me...

Dhruv: - in a croaky voice - ...It's okay...

Ridz: Dhruv...every girl has to get married some day...they have to go to their husband's house...and I'm old enough now...it's my turn... – Dhruv's hand shook and she smiled knowing how to make him feel better - ...if you was a little bit older I would've have married you... – he looked up for the first time and she nodded her head - ...yes it's true...because you are my favourite person...and you love me so much...you care for me and you're the best person for me...but...because you are a young man and I'm very old for you...what will people say...it's not very nice is it...? – he shook his head slowly - ...So now you know why I had to find someone else right?

Dhruv: - shook his head again - ...Yeah I understand... – in a croaky voice - ...but you should've told me...I would find a nice man for you...

Ridz: I know...I should've but it's too late for that now...but I have an idea...why don't you teach my soon-to-be husband how to be more like you...how to care and love me...the way you do...what do you think...you can do that for me? – looking eagerly at him

Dhruv: - excitedly – ...Yes I can...I can do anything for you...and I'll make him just like me so that he will be the best man for you... – happily

Ridz: - smiling – Thanks Dhruv...

Dhruv: Can I meet him?

Before Riddhima could reply there was a knock on the door and Armaan popped his head around it; they both looked up and Riddhima smiled and gestured for him to come in.

Armaan: Sorry to disturb you...

Ridz: It's okay...come in...actually it's a good thing you came up...I was just coming to get you...you've met Dhruv already...and Dhruv this is Armaan...my fianc... – then to Armaan - ...actually Armaan...Dhruv wanted to speak to you...

Armaan: Okay...

Dhruv: - standing up and holding his hand out like a grown up – ...Hi...nice to meet you again... – shaking his hand - ...I was just talking to Riddhima about you...and we decided on something very important...

Armaan: Oh really...and what is that... – looking from Dhruv to Riddhima

Ridz: Armaan...Dhruv is going to give you some tips on how to be like him...he's going to teach you how to be caring...and how to love me...and how to keep me happy for the rest of my life...

Armaan: Is that so...? – raising an eyebrow at her but then turning to Dhruv with a smile - ...That sounds interesting...when should we start...

Dhruv: - to Riddhima - ...Riddhi...he's quite understanding...that's a good sign... – then to Armaan - ...from now until the wedding we'll spend time together and I'll teach you...is that okay?

Armaan: That sounds great to me...

Dhruv: Okay then... – shaking hands with him again

Riddhima stood back and watched them; she thought about Dhruv and how he really had grown up in the past year; physically as well as mentally. She smiled then they followed Dhruv out of the room and downstairs where everyone else was waiting for them. That evening was filled with fun and excitement between the Malik family and the Gupta families who all spoke of the only hot topic; Armaan and Riddhima's wedding.



Over the next few days the girls had met up several times and discussed their matching and colour co-ordinating outfits; jewellery and accessories. Then they made a plan to go shopping one day; Muskaan and Nikita met up at Riddhima's house that morning and waited for Anjali who was going to pick them up and go along with them. They sat in the living room talking and praying that they get nice outfits as they knew when they wanted something important they never find it.

Suddenly they heard the door open and in came Anjali; she made her way into the living room and met the girls.

Anji: Ready?

Ridz: Yep...we're just waiting for you...let's go... – getting up

Anji: Not just yet...there's someone who's here to meet you... – grinning mischievously

Ridz: Kaun?

??: Guess who... – a voice came from behind Anjali

The girls looked around at each other wondering who it was then turned back to Anjali.

Muskaan: Who is it?

??: Arre...you guys have forgotten my voice as well...?

Ridz: - thought for a second - ...Tannu?

Anjali moved away and they saw Tannu standing there with a big smile on her face. She walked towards Riddhima and gave her a big rib crushing hug.

Tannu: So you guys are finally getting married...I'm so happy... – moving back a little

Ridz: Yep finally...but how are you...this is a nice surprise...

Tannu: I know...you also know I never call and come...I always turn up as an unexpected guest...and one day you guys will hate me for it... – smiling

She met the other girls who were there.

Ridz: It's really great to see you...

Muskaan: Yep and you're here on perfect timing...we were just going shopping for outfits...

Tannu: That's great...

Anji: Right then let's go...

They all followed Anjali out of the house and Riddhima let Padma know they were leaving before she left the house. They made their way to South Hall and began their shopping immediately. It took a whole day and they took a few breaks grabbing something to eat. By the time they left it was almost dark but they had got what they came for; each of them had bought three dresses each with matching jewellery, accessories and sandals. They came home late and tired that night and Riddhima went straight to bed as she couldn't even keep her eyes open. The next day Riddhima got down to designing the main outfit; her wedding dress. It was going to be a long three weeks of wedding preparations; it wasn't as easy as it sounded...
...................................

part 78

After three long weeks of preparation for the wedding it was finally time to celebrate. The Guptas had kept a small party for relatives, close friends and neighbours as part of the beginning of the wedding celebrations. Early that afternoon before the guests had arrived, a small team of Khushi Event workers were in the garden setting up a tent which would be used for the week; the guys were outside with them while the girls were inside having fun and celebrating with music and dance and the ladies were in the kitchen preparing dishes and sweets.

Armaan and the guys were sat on the patio relaxing and having a good laugh as Dhruv gave Armaan some tips on how to keep Riddhima happy. Even though he was there his mind was far from it as he was sitting in such a position where his eyes were watching Riddhima who sat with the girls in the conservatory having a great time; smiling and laughing; he unknowingly smiled at the sight but Dhruv nudged his arm bringing him back to reality.

Dhruv: Are you even listening to me...

Armaan: - shaking his head and coming back into focus then looked at Dhruv - ...Yeah...I was...sorry...what did you say?

Dhruv: I said...Riddhima likes jokes so you should tell her lots of jokes and keep her laughing...I like to see a smile on her face all the time...

Armaan: Me too... – looking back to where she was sitting

Rahul caught his gaze and shook his head with a cheeky smile and then pointed out to Abhi and Sid where Armaan's attention was. Abhi laughed and Sid chuckled as he looked back at Armaan; if it was a cartoon you could see hearts leaving his mind and a twinkle in his eyes. Rahul jerked him back out of his thoughts and Abhi carried on laughing.

Sid: Control yourself Armaan...there's just four days to go... – chuckling

Abhi: Armaan... – still laughing - ...are you really sure you want to do this...I mean...do you know what you're getting yourself into?

Armaan: What do you mean...you two are married as well...and by looking at you I think you're both doing really well...

Rahul: That's on the outside...we have to put on an act...but the truth only comes out behind closed doors...

Abhi: Yeah...whatever she loves now...she'll hate after...let me tell you a joke...

Armaan: I'm not interested...you guys are trying to put me off...but let me tell you that it's not going to work...

Sid: Go on... – turning to Abhi - ...I want to hear it...

Abhi: Right...why does a groom sit on a horse minutes before he gets married...? – looking around at them all

Dhruv: To ride to the wedding hall...that's an easy question...

Abhi: Nope...it's their last chance to ride away...

Rahul, Sid and Abhi laughed; while Armaan shook his head and Dhruv thought of the logic behind that joke; looking very confused.

Sid: I heard this once...a guy is better off with a collection of pillows instead of a wife...

Armaan: What? – looking at him in confusion

Sid: Yeah...when he wants to cry he lies against the pillow...when he's happy he hugs the pillow...so the moral of the story is...when you want true love...go to the shop and buy a pillow...you can share all your emotions with it and it won't talk back... - laughing

Abhi: - laughing – That's a good one...and so true...

Rahul: You guys are mad... – laughing

Armaan: I agree... – looking back at Riddhima but once again they disturbed him

Abhi: I have one more...listen up... – laughing already

Sid: Listening... – through giggles

Abhi: One day a married man was looking at his marriage certificate and his wife comes along and says..."Darling what are you looking at?"...the husband replies..."I'm looking for an expiry date"...

All the guys started laughing at that one even Armaan and Dhruv joined in; they were laughing so loud that their voices were travelling in doors to the kitchen as the door was open and unknowingly to the guys Nikita was standing there and had overheard their last two jokes and was fuming silently. She went into the living room and through the conservatory where the girls were and narrated to them what she had heard.

Tannu: Oh really...they think they're really funny...let's challenge them...

Ridz: Girls...I don't think it's...

Muskaan: - cutting her off - ...I'm ready...

Naina: Let's get them...

They went into the kitchen and set something up then went out onto the patio where the guys were sitting; they stopped with their jokes but still in laughter they looked over at the girls who stood there angrily.

Niki: What's the problem with you guys...why have you got such a problem with marriage?

Abhi: It's not marriage...it's you girls...before marriage you say... – putting on accent - ..."Oh you're so cute...you're so different...you talk such nice things..." – looking around at all of them - ...and after marriage you say..."how are you driving...why don't you eat on time"...why are girls so difficult in life...

Tannu: Abhi...why did you get married...? – Abhi looked down in shame and the guys laughed - ...And I can ask the same question to Rahul as well...and soon to be Armaan...

Armaan: I didn't say anything... – putting his hands up and looking from Tannu to Riddhima who was watching him closely

Naina: You guys can't live without us...and that's a fact...

Muskaan: That's true...do you remember that old movie...Satte Pe Satta...the seven brothers were like animals...and who straightened them out...who made them human...? – looking closely at Abhi and Rahul - ...A lady...and that's what you all need...

Naina: If it wasn't for us you all would have to eat noodles and sleep...

Niki: Haan...na cook milta na bai...khaana bannane ke saat ghar ko saaf rakhna parta samjhe... – specially to Abhi

Ridz: Okay...guys that's enough... – calming them down

Armaan: Let's all calm down...

Tannu: We're all calm Armaan...but things aren't going to be settled like that...we want to challenge you...

Sid: Challenge...? – brightening up - ...Let's hear it...we can beat you any day...

Tannu: Oh really...then let's put you guys in our shoes...

Rahul: Matlab?

Muskaan: Kitchen main chalo...we'll show you...

The girls walked into the kitchen with smiles on their faces and the boys were just about to follow but Dhruv stopped them.

Dhruv: Be careful guys...these girls are really smart...

Abhi: Whatever they can do we can do better...let's show them whose boss... – walking into the kitchen with the guys following him

As they entered the girls were standing there already waiting for them; flour, water, oil and the cooker was waiting for them and all four of them held rolling pins in their hands with smiles on their faces.

Tannu: We challenge you five to make roti...from beginning to end...are you up for it...? – smirking in their direction

Abhi: This is easy...

Sid: Couldn't you guys think of anything more challenging...we can do this...right guys...?

They all agreed and the girls moved to stand at a side while the guys rolled their sleeves up and made their way to the counter where there were five bowls set out with flour. Tannu counted them in and they began; as expected they all poured the entire jug of water into the flour making a mess right away and the girls couldn't stop laughing.

Naina: Oh man...we could've placed a bet...I knew they would all do that... – through giggles

Muskaan: Me too...

Dhruv: - turning around to them - ...It's not funny...give us a chance...

Ridz: Okay... – laughing - ...girls let them try...

The five girls walked quietly behind each of the guys and peeked over their shoulder to have a look; Naina saw that Dhruv's bowl was filled with water like a pool and she giggled silently; Tannu noticed Sid's sticky fingers and lots of water and Nikita saw that Abhi's flour was squishy and he was making more of a mess than anything. Muskaan smiled happily when she noticed that Rahul's was the only one that actually looked like a lump of dough and she patted him on the back proudly but Riddhima giggled loudly as she saw Armaan's sticky fingers and messy dough.

Ridz: Main thodi madat karoon? – giggling

Armaan: Here... – annoyed he went to wash his hands

The girls ended up making the dough for each of the boys while they all rushed to wash the flour mix off of their hands; by the time they got back to their places the girls were giggling amongst each other and they had fixed all the boys dough making small round balls for them to roll out. Once they were all finished they turned around to face the boys with rolling pins in their hands; they walked to each of their partners and handed them the rolling pins.

Ridz: All the best Armaan... – grinning

Armaan: Thanks... – winking at her

Niki: Good luck... – to Abhi

Abhi: I don't need it... – smugly

Tannu: Will you be making Africa or Italy shapes... – to Sid

Sid: Wait and watch...it'll be rounder than you can imagine...

The guys got started and the girls watched over their shoulders giggling all over again. Each of them made a few and put it to a side; some very confident and others had almost given up hope. A while later Padma and Keerti came into the kitchen; and wondered what all the noise was about.

Keerti: Arre...what's going on in here?

Naina: Mum the boys are making roti today... – in a fit of giggles

Padma: Kya...? – looking surprised - ...Kyun?

Niki: They think they can make it better than us so we gave them a chance...

Keerti: Looks like you guys are practicing from now...right Armaan...now you know what Riddhima expects of you after marriage... – laughing

Armaan: Ji chachi...anything for her... – turning around and smiling at her

Padma: And I'm guessing Rahul and Abhi must be experts by now...

Abhi: I give up... – turning around

Tannu: Already?

Sid: Me too...

Muskaan: Theek hain...let's see how "well" you guys did... – giggling again

Each of the girls stepped up behind their partners and peeked over their shoulder; each taking turns to guess the shapes they could see.

Naina: - looking closely at Dhruv's roti - ...Umm...I think... – inspecting it - ...a shoe?

They all laughed and Riddhima gave him a hug to make him feel better as everyone made fun of his then they moved onto Abhi's roti and Nikita took a long time to decide what it looked like.

Niki: "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"...

The girls were in a fit of giggles while Abhi fumed and pulled off his apron; he moved to a side and the girls moved onto the next one which was Sid's.

Tannu: It looks like...an ear... – making a face

Muskaan: - now looking at Rahul's - ...This one looks like Mickey Mouse with two gigantic ears... – holding onto her sides as she was in a stitch of laughter

Rahul: At least it's round...anyway the last one... – turning to Armaan's - ...what is that supposed to be?

Muskaan: Umm...what is it? – looking closely at it

Armaan: Bolo na Ridz...what is it? – with a sweet smile

Ridz: It's a heart... – quietly

Naina: Aww...how sweet...looks like Armaan is the winner...

Rahul: What...? – shocked - ...But mine was the only round one...

Abhi: I'm out of here... – throwing down the last piece of dough and going to wash his hands

Niki: Looks like you guys lost this one...it's not easy doing a lady's job is it... – smirking - ...now think about what you would do without us...

Sid: Whatever...let's go...

The guys all washed their hands and left the kitchen leaving the girls in fits of laughter. After some time the party started and the guests had arrived. There was a buffet dinner, dance and music  and lots of fun and games throughout the evening and late into the night which everyone enjoyed.



Two days later everyone met up at the Gupta House again; this time for the Mehendi Function. The girls arrived early and were seated in the living room with Riddhima; teasing her and having lots of fun by cracking jokes entertaining everyone else that was around. After some time the mehendi professional arrived and got started with Riddhima's mehendi while Nikita, Tannu and Naina went off to the kitchen to help around as there was still lots to do. Muskaan stayed seated with Riddhima giving her company and teasing her making her blush crimson at the thought of finally getting married to the love of her life.

The other girls were in the kitchen helping Keerti to make laddos and at the same time hearing about Keerti's wedding day experience and having a good laugh ending up in Keerti becoming shy and leaving them to finish off the work. Suddenly Naina noticed Sid's head poking up from the kitchen window; she went to take a closer look then came back and whispered to the girls.

Naina: Girls...I have some interesting news... – whispering

Niki: What's wrong?

Anji: - noticing the girls in a huddle she walked over - ...What's going on here? – whispering to them

Naina: Anji Dii...the guys are trying to sneak in...and as far as I know they shouldn't be anywhere near this house today...it's strictly a girls function...

Tannu: What...? – annoyed but still whispering – ...What are they doing here?

Niki: We have to get them out quickly...

Anji: But girls...it's not fair...they just want to have a good time...and Niki do you remember at my mehendi when they snuck in you guys played a game and had lots of fun...then what's the problem?

Niki: That's not the point Anji Dii...Padma Aunty ne kaha tha...no boys allowed...and they're still here...

Anji: Theek hain...whatever you girls think is right...but I think they should stay...

Tannu: Let's get rid of them...

The three of them stood up and went through to the living room and into the conservatory where they saw the guys peeping in from the windows. Watching the girls walk in their direction they all stood up and was about to run away when Tannu stopped them.

Tannu: Not so fast...

Naina: What are you guys doing here...this is strictly a girls function you guys have no right to be here...

Niki: Aur Atul Jiju aap bhi?

Atul: They dragged me along...as usual...

Rahul: This is not fair...we just want to have some fun...

Abhi: No actually...we're here to protest... – standing forward - ...why can't we join in...?

Niki: Why...do you want to apply mehendi on your hands?

Sid: We want to have fun and we will...

Tannu: Fine...then you can stay...but according to the tradition...any guy who gate crash a girl's function should be punished...are you guys ready...

All: NO WAY!

Hearing all the noise from inside the other girls joined them outside and were shocked to see the guys there but Anjali who wanted to take their side.

Naina: - turning to the other girls - ...What do you all say...should we let them stay and punish them?

Muskaan: I think so...you guys won't ever learn will you...

Rahul: Come on Muskaan...please let us stay...

In between all of this Armaan and Riddhima were having their own eye contact conversation in which Armaan pleaded with her to let them stay because he wanted to be around her and she looked down shyly as she had no say in this.

Anji: Okay guys listen to me... – standing in between the two groups and Atul joined her - ...I think we should let them stay...seen as they're already here but not with a punishment...

Muskaan: Kya...? – shocked - ...But Anji Dii...they shouldn't be here...that's the problem...they should be punished...

Atul: Listen... – quietening them down again - ...yeh sab punishment ki baat choro...why don't we have a competition...it'll lighten up the atmosphere and it'll be fun...what say?

Tannu: Competition... – looking around at the girls

Dhruv: What kind of competition...?

Anji: Of making laddos... – smiling excitedly

Abhi: What? – making a face - ...That's not fair...two days ago we made roti and now we have to make laddo...that's a girls job and they'll win easily...

Atul: They'll be three competitions then...and in that we'll decide who's the winner...okay?

Rahul: Okay...that sounds good...let's start...we'll win anyway...

The girls let the boys in and they settled down in two groups; the girls on one side and the boys opposite them and they waited for Anjali and Atul; who where the judges; to set up the games. Riddhima went back to have her mehendi done while Armaan sat with the others but his gaze stayed on her.

Atul: Okay let's start with the first game...

He placed a huge tray in front of both teams which was covered with a red cloth and everyone looked around curiously at each other.

Anji: In a minute we're going to take off this red cloth and you all will have only thirty seconds to see what is on it okay...

They all nodded and the cloth was removed; they all scanned the tray silently; there were lots of items; candle, mehendi cone, laddo, balloons, shoes, flowers, ear rings, bangles, kaju katli, rose petals, pair of glasses, invitation card, coconut, lal chunri, sword and a garland. Atul then covered the tray again and they all wondered what was going on but soon the judges explained everything clearing their curiosity.

Anji: Now you all will be given a card and you have twenty seconds to write down as much as you can of what was on the tray...

Atul gave each team a card and a pen and started the clock; Muskaan wrote for the girls and Rahul wrote for the guys and in between Abhi and Dhruv came over to the girls and teased them trying to get their answers and to distract them. Suddenly Atul called time up and took their cards and pens; there was lots of laughter and fun as they teased each other wondering who had won.

Anji: - looking at both cards - ...The girls...have written... – counting in her mind - ...seven items...and the guys... – counting silently - ...nineteen items...so that makes the guys the winners of this round...

Naina: That's not fair...Abhi and Dhruv were annoying us...

Abhi: All is fair in love and war...and this is a war! – jeering

They had some more fun as they teased each other while Atul and Anjali got the second game ready; no one noticed when Armaan sneaked away and went to sit next to Riddhima; she blushed furiously as he sat next to her and his hands began to wander around her waist as she sat still having her mehendi applied. She pleaded to him with his eyes to stop but he grinned at her with his dimpled smile making her blush even more.

Anjali and Atul called for attention and they all faced them to see that there were two trays and Anjali explained that they needed to make laddo but with a twist; two people had to take part from each team; one would stand in the front and instruct the person at the back how to make the laddo. They all became excited and decided who would take part in this game.

Abhi: I think we'll have Dhruv and Rahul for this round...right guys...? – turning to them

They both nodded and turned to the girls to see who they were competing against and started to tease them.

Tannu: From our team will be Naina and Muskaan...go on girls...

The four of them got up and got into position with aprons on and huge smiles on their faces.

Anji: Let the Halwai Round begin... – laughing

Muskaan stood behind Naina while she gave her instructions to pick up a handful and roll it into a ball and on the other hand there was Dhruv standing behind Rahul who was sitting on a chair as Dhruv was much shorter than him and giving him instructions while the rest of their teams cheered them on and teased the other team. Thirty seconds later Atul stopped them and they couldn't stop laughing after having lots of fun, Anjali gave them tissue to wipe their hands while they decided the winners.

Anji: And the boys have made seven laddos... – they cheered

Atul: Not so fast guys...let's see how many the girls have made... – counting them - ...five...six...seven...eight...and...nine...the girls have made nine laddos... – cheering them on - ...congrats girls...you're the winners...

All Girls: Yeaaahhh! We won...!

Dhruv: Don't get too excited yet...there's still one last competition and we're going to win that one...

Muskaan: We'll see...

Rahul: Don't be too over confident... – then turning away - ...oi Armaan...what are you doing over there man...come and support us... – calling out to him

Ridz: - turning to him – ...Jao na Armaan...

Armaan: Do I have to...? – making a face

Abhi: - got up and walked over to him - ...Come on... – pulling him up and dragging him away

Anjali and Atul had come back with two more trays but this time filled with readymade laddos and they all looked on excitedly as they were now in the mood to win this one.

Abhi: From our team...

Atul: Calm down Abhi...at least let us tell you what the next game is... – laughing and everyone else joined him - ...right the next game is...for you all to eat as many laddos as you can within thirty seconds...

Sid: That's easy...right Abhi... – turning to him

Tannu: Of course you can...bhukar... – laughing

Anji: But there's a twist... – they all turned to her - ...one person will feed the other while standing behind them...

Atul: - standing behind her and putting his arms around her - ...Like this...

Armaan: Bhai...you just want to romance with bhabs... – smiling

Anji: - wriggling out of his grip - ...But the twist is...you have to do this while you're blindfolded... – looking at their faces with a smile - ...let's begin...

Abhi stood behind Sid and Nikita stood behind Tannu as they got their blindfolds on and Atul checked to see if any of them could see through theirs before counting them in and they began. Abhi fed Sid while Nikita fed Tannu but found it a bit difficult as she was short and Tannu was very tall; the rest of the gang cheered them on but it looked like they already knew the winners. Atul stopped them thirty seconds later and they tried to finish what was in their mouths through laughter as everyone else cracked jokes around them.

Atul: Okay, okay...control yourself guys... – through laughter - ...the girls had two laddos...

Anji: And the guys are the winners...with five laddos... – giggling

They all cheered loudly and the girls sulked; once Tannu had got hold of herself she walked towards Sid angrily.

Tannu: Like I said...bhukar...

Sid: Don't call me that...you loser...

The rest of the gang calmed them down then turned their attention towards the two love birds to see Armaan had snuck away while they were playing and was now feeding Riddhima piece of laddo very lovingly and she could not stop looking into his eyes.

Muskaan: Kuch toh karna parega...this is too much... – whispered to Naina

Naina: He took advantage of the game and snuck away to her...

Niki: I know...we need to make a plan to keep them apart...

Muskaan: Let's think of something...quickly...

Tannu: Leave it to me...


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