Monday, 21 September 2020

Part 6 : In My Heart

It was Christmas Eve and everything was glowing with lights and ornaments inside out and the atmosphere reverberated with Carols. Shanti Nagar was no less. It had been decorated with utmost love & dedication by Riddhima and the kids. The entire Villa glistened in small lights outside and depicted winter land from within. A large lush green Christmas tree adorned with silver, white and gold snowflakes of different materials and sizes stood in the corner of the living room. Its branches were accented with bunches of small red berries, a sheer ribbon garland and lights. Artificial snow was put in heaps near the tree and scattered on the white pristine floor to portray winters. Delicate paper cut snowflakes and icicles were stringed together around the walls. The staircase railing had garlands of shimmering ribbons with metallic red and green ornaments. A small Christmas tree was placed in both kitchen and kids room. The one in kids' room was adorned with miniature toys, sports items and twinkling lights that made it work as night light. The kitchen's tree was placed near the counter and was decorated with miniature kitchen items. The dining table had a crystal white silk table cloth spread over it. In the center was a silver platter with colorful balls on green twigs. A special menu was decided for the occasion and Christmas Party next day.



It was 30 minutes past midnight when kids lay on their beds exhausted from giving final touches to the preparations. Riddhima lay with them narrating stories of Christmas. She told them to sleep quickly so they can see what gifts they've got in the morning. Kids were reluctant so she kept telling tales until they all fell asleep. She tiptoed from the room and made way to the stairs but a faint yellow light coming from Dadi's room forced her to stop and check on her. Riddhima knocked softly on the door and entered. Dadi was in bed with a picture frame in her hand. She patted the side besides her gesturing Riddhima to come and settle there. Riddhima took off her slippers and jumped into the warm and fluffy comforter. A look at the picture and Riddhima knew what was going in Dadi's mind. She leaned her head onto Dadi's shoulder and caressed the picture. It was their family picture from Rahul's first day at office.

Ri: I wonder when will it be the next time that we'll be all together and spend some family time.

Da: The time is very near.

Ri: Really Dadi, how? An excited Riddhima asked.

Da: When My Rahul gets married, we'll all be together.

Ri: Oh God, Dadi, don't say that in front of Bhai, he's never agreeing to marriage. He always refuses to even hear a word about it let alone the discussion of a proposal. Mama has given up on him. Riddhima complained.

Dadi smiled and patted Riddhima's cheek saying: he will agree to it Riddhi, without any pressure, once love knocks in his life.

Riddhima nodded and continued: Dadi can I sleep with you today?

Dadi pulled her down in her lap and ran her fingers in Riddhima's hair lovingly. Dadi knew that even if Riddhima was quite, she was missing her home. Exhausted from all the weeks' work, Riddhima felt relaxed and fell asleep immediately.

The first rays of sunshine entered from an open door and illuminated the entire room. Fresh morning breeze and the smell of roses from the garden made an enchanted atmosphere. There lay a figure in an uncomfortable position on the reclining chair, yet he had a deep smile on his face. The shrill sound of an alarm broke his slumber but the smile was intact. He slowly opened his deep blue oceanic eyes and looked at his mobile's wallpaper and spoke: "You know there's something about you that pulls me strongly towards you. A day without your voice gives me a restless night. During the day I keep wishing to be with you and at night I dream of holding you near myself. How much ever I try to distance ourselves, I come a step closer to you every time. What is happening to me? I've never had such feelings before ever. I need to figure out this before I go crazy." He rushed towards the washroom after a glance on the wall clock hitting the send button on his mobile. To: Basket.  Message: "see you in 30 minutes."

Riddhima was dressed in a red pishwas with gold work on the chest area and crinkled sleeves border with a dull gold churidaar & dupatta. She stood on the terrace taking in the beautiful view. The sky was filled with shades of dark pink, red and yellow and the sun was hiding behind the clouds, rays filtering through them. It was nearing sunset and the already cold day was turning colder with the chilly winds. Riddhima wrapped her arms around herself to feel some warmth. A smile formed on her lips as an image flashed in her mind taking her to the past:

"It was the Christmas break and as every year all her friends and family were together to celebrate. Everything in view was covered with a thick blanket of snow. An 8 year old Riddhima stood in the doorway, trying to keep in her curiosity of building a snowman with the other kids of the neighborhood, but to her dismay Sujal wasn't letting her go. Rahul was sad seeing his little sister upset so he came up with an idea to sneak out from the backdoor and return quickly. Both of them along with three other friends went out. They saw the kids jumping and shouting in excitement everywhere. Riddhima and her best friend made a snowman. They used balls, sticks and a pink scarf to complete its look. Both of them were clicking pictures when a snowball hit the face of their snowman breaking its face. That did it. With that they started aiming snowballs at each other. The girls screamed and hid behind cars as the boys aimed at them relentlessly. Riddhima could hear their laughter echoing."

She came back to the present when a finger brushed her cheek to wipe the tear that had rolled out of her eye. She opened her eyes to see Armaan clad in a black button down shirt, sleeves rolled up to his elbows, revealing his tattoos and gray denims with a frown on his ever handsome face.

Ar: hey, what happened? Are you alright? He asked softly.

Ri: Nothing Armaan, I just. I'm missing my family.

Armaan just side hugged her, understanding her emotions. They stood their seeing the spectacular sun set on the sea and thinking about the entire day.

 Today had been eventful with lots of fun and happy moments. Riddhima and Armaan had arranged the gifts near the X-mas tree, planning out games to play and things to do before the kids woke up. The kids had rushed to the living room to collect their gifts directly. Riddhima had a tough time with girls fussing about their hair and accessories, whereas boys were just eager to play the new x-box games. They had brunch and watched a holiday movie, while Riddhima arranged everything in accordance to the games she had planned. They had divided kids into two teams, each with 5 players, as they were 10 in total, including Armaan & Riddhima. The first game they played was "Do you see what I see?" in this 2 players from the same team were made to sit back to back. One was handed an ornament and he had to describe it to his partner without naming it and the other had to draw it on the note pad. Riddhima had brought rolls of black, red and white streamers, cotton balls and masking tape to play "Santa in style" the teams had to dress the volunteers as Santa and then walk them down in the living room for the judge, Dadi, to decide who looked better. Minnie wanted to dress Armaan as Santa but he wasn't agreeing.

Ri: Don't be a spoil sport Armaan. Come na, let them dress u. see Gappu's also volunteering, it'll be fun.

Riddhima couldn't stop laughing seeing Armaan walk around as Santa. He looked so funny with a big shaking stomach, white beard, red cap and singing Jingle bells. Armaan glared at her but nothing could stop her from rolling over in laughter. Dadi had given the verdict in favor of Armaan.

Then they played the "holiday maze". Different ornaments were tied to an end of each roll of string and hidden in different places with the other end tied to a pencil. The rest of the string was rolled around the furniture, crossing the other strings. The kids were handed the pencils and asked to wind the string to find their gifts.

The last was "Gift unwrap relay". Armaan made all to settle down in a circle and handed a big box to Gappu. Music was switched on and the box was passed until it was stopped. The kids had to unwrap the boxes till they reached the gift in the last box. Riddhima was the one to open the last box; it was a blue cube, she happily opened the lid only to scream "Aahh". The box had a hand fixed to a spring that boxed on the face as it was opened. Everyone burst out laughing; Armaan had fallen down from the couch laughing seeing her reaction. Riddhima narrowed her eyes towards Armaan: Tum. Tum ne ye jaan ke kia na.

Ar: Nahin. Nahin tau. He spoke between giggles.

Ri: bohat hansi aa rahi hai na, ruko main abhi batati hoon.

Armaan ran for his life as Riddhima chased him around the Villa.

Ar: Don't be spoil sport Armaan. Huh. What happened to that Basket, now who's being a real one? He spoke running.

They kept going in rounds around the swing, when Armaan suddenly tripped down with Riddhima on top of him. Riddhima fisted his collar and spoke" now I won't leave you." Armaan just stared at her breathing heavily with all the running they did. His hand removed her hair that was blocking his view. This action made Riddhima realize the position they were in, she quickly tried to move but Armaan held both her hands in his free hand. She looked into his eyes and found herself drowning in the depths of Blue Ocean. A giggle from the kids made them embarrassed and Riddhima rushed in without looking at Armaan.

Da: Riddhi please come down. Dadi's voice broke their reverie. They looked around to see it had become dark now. They went downstairs. All of them got together to clear the mess they had created while playing.

Soon after having a lavish dinner, there began clattering of spoons on the dining table followed by chants of "we want cake." Riddhima brought out the huge cake in a white platter. It was Glazed Chocolate Layer Cake with white snowflakes made of fondant.

Riddhima helped the kids along with Maasi to change and get into bed. Armaan had left after clicking lots of pictures of everyone.

3 days later, Armaan had taken Riddhima for grocery in the afternoon. They were on the way back when Riddhima asked: Armaan you remember, I said I'll ask for something from you when I need it. Armaan just nods and keeps driving.

Ri: Can you take me to the Beach.

Ar: Beach! Basket we go there every day. He asked surprised.

Ri: I know that Armaan, but I want to see the sunrise. Dadi would never allow me to go at that time, lekin agar tum saath hoge to hum chupke se ja sakte hain.

Ar: Pagal ho kya? Dadi will kill me if she gets to know, I took you out when she had clearly said NO.

Ri: Tum itna nahin kar sakte mere liye. Please. She stressed on please, smiling too sweetly and flattering her eye lashes.

Ar: I'll see. He shook his head trying to hide the smile making its way across his face at her nautanki.

 Armaan's family was off to Dubai for the official New Year celebrations with their business partners. Armaan had stayed back saying he had some pending tasks at the office but who was he lying too, Prerna had understood he wanted to celebrate with his friends. Armaan stayed at Shanti Nagar from morning till night and returned home just for sleeping.

New Year Eve had finally arrived. Shanti Nagar was lit with silver shimmering lights; the walls were decorated with dark purple and white ribbons and streamers and the floor was full of balloons of the same colors. A black box with a pair of ribbon bands of different colors was kept on the center table. Everyone had to pick one from it and those who had same color ribbons were partners for the evening.

Everyone was dressed and assembled in the living room munching on the candies and soft drinks. The girls were dressed in purple flowing dresses and boys in black suits. Armaan had worn a gray Armani suit with an ice blue shirt. They were waiting impatiently for Riddhima to come down to begin the party.

Ar: what is taking her so long? He grumbled.

Ga: Bhaiyya wo hum sab ko tayar kar k abhi to gayi hai, thora time to lagega na.

They were so indulged in silly talks and snacks that they didn't notice Riddhima descending down the stairs. She cleared her throat to gain their attention and there were gasps followed by silence. Everyone just stared at her in awe. Riddhima stood in a royal blue net sari. She had sequins and pearls work on the border and a net backless blouse. She was wearing pearl ear rings with a royal blue stone and a similar bracelet. Riddhima had used minimal make up and set her hair in loose curls. In short she was a stunning beauty. When nobody responded she pouted and spoke: Bohat buri lag rahi hoon na. Mujhe pata tha sari won't suit me. Wait I'll just go and change.

Da: Bilkul nahin. Bohat sundar dikh rahi ho. kisi ki nazar na lage meri bachi ko. Dadi said cupping her face and kissing her forehead.

Ri: Kya Dadi ap aise hi bol rahe ho, dekho ye sab mujhe kaise dekh rahey hain. She spoke gesturing towards the kids with her hands. That's when she noticed Armaan standing as a statue near the kids' room. Armaan became speechless seeing Riddhima like this; he just stood rooted staring at her. They felt the world fading as their eyes met. Both of them appreciated each other silently. Dadi understood the silent conversation and their growing feelings towards each other. She spoke to break their trance: Chalo bhaye, ab party shuru karo.

Everyone picked a ribbon from the box. Riddhima & Harsh, Armaan and Minnie had become partners. Armaan tried persuading Harsh to exchange the ribbon with him but he wouldn't listen, when he looked at Basket, she simply shrugged. The lights are dimmed and music plays. They all danced like crazy. Armaan kept stealing glances at Riddhima who was smiling and dancing happily. As soon as Dadi left for her room, Armaan went and tapped Riddhima's shoulder: last dance of the evening with me, please.

Riddhima looked at Harsh and raised an eye brow. He nods his head. Armaan quickly grabs Riddhima's hand and pulls her out in the garden. Small fairy lights lit the place & music filled the air. Armaan placed Riddhima's hand on his shoulder and held her waist. Both sway to the music slowly completely drowning in each other. The countdown brought them out of the reverie. "Happy New Year Armaan/Basket" both of them said simultaneously. Armaan pulls Riddhima in a hug, staying like that for a while. Riddhima tried to understand the feelings she was developing for Armaan, whereas Armaan only wanted to etch her smell and warmth against him in his memory forever. Armaan parts a little and says: May you excel in everything you do and all your desires are fulfilled. Riddhima holds his hand: May all the peace, luck and love of the universe are yours forever and may the Al-Mighty always protect you. Armaan smiles a dimpled smile and kisses her cheek. Riddhima smiles and lowers her eyes blushing. Both of them move inside and exchange greetings with everyone. They touch Dadi's feet to take blessings; she smiles fondly at them and speaks: Bhagwan tum per apni kripa banaye rakhien. Jeetey raho bachon.

It was 2 am; all had gone to bed after dinner and opening the gifts Armaan had got them. He had brought a blown up picture from X-mas, photo frame clock with every ones picture in each square frame, magic hat of tricks, space origami set and other toys as well.

Ar: Basket go change your dress, we'll go to the beach now to see the sun rise.

Ri: Really? But Armaan, Dadi is still awake, how will we go?

Ar: I've already asked her Basket, so don't worry.

Ri: Haww. She gave you the permission but when I had asked her, she simply refused.

Ar: Yea that's because careless kids aren't allowed to go alone.

Ri: Armaan, I'm not a kid & I'm not at all careless.

Ar: Of course you are Basket. What is someone who forgets her phone, loses her way, forgets to take her medicines on time, etc. called?

Ri: I'm not coming with you, go by yourself. She says twisting her nose and facing the other side.

Ar: Now stop being a stubborn kid, go and don't waste time. He pushes her on the stairs.

Riddhima's jaw dropped on seeing the view in front of her. Armaan chuckles and closes her mouth: close your mouth Basket; otherwise you'll eat a mosquito.

A big brown tent was set up on the shore. It shone from the light of the candle flames that were dancing on the tunes of wind. A couch was placed inside with a rectangular glass table. A white chocolate cake with "Happy New Year Basket" scribbled on it was placed on the table along with 2 smoking hot coffees. Armaan motions Riddhima to sit down and she nods meekly. They cut the cake together, fed each other and indulged in talking. Armaan's cell beeped indicating it was nearing sun rise. Both of them go to their favorite spot and settle down. Armaan keeps silent letting Riddhima take in the view. Riddhima is in awe of the view presented by nature.

Ri: Armaan you know I have dream of building a housing project near the sea, with my house exactly on the shore, so that I can witness this beauty every day of my life. It'll be villas, small but comfortable, modern architecture with a touch of home and at affordable costs so that more people can enjoy the nature.

Armaan is staring at Riddhima and smiling, she nudges him and raises an eye brow saying: tum mera Mazak ura rahey ho.

Ar: Aray nahin Basket. Do you know how similar your dream is to mine?

Ri: Really?

Ar: Yea I had thought of this too in addition to providing all the daily necessities like super market, gym, jogging tracks with adjoined parks and a clinic nearby, so that people can stay here with ease. But I like your idea of villas, they'll be more private. So it's decided, after you complete your studies, we work together on this. Your dream, my dream, is now our dream, so we'll achieve it together, ok?

Riddhima smiles hearing Armaan and agrees instantly and says: Meri aik shart hai. Tum boss hoge, per tum mujhe daant nahin sakte, warna main kaam nahin karungi.

Armaan smiles and replies: don't worry; tum boss hogi or tum mujhe daant bhi sakti ho, alright.

They punch their fisted hands saying Deal and gazed at the emerging sun above the sea. Both wish each other again.

Riddhima is touched by all the efforts Armaan made and thanks him: Armaan, honestly I never thought I could come here at this time, but you made it possible and memorable for me. I'll always remember the last night and this sunrise for the rest of my life. I'll never be able to thank you enough for this or make it up to you.

Ar: Who said you can't? You can if you want.

Ri: Really? Tell na, what can I do?

Ar: Simple, promise me that you'll always bake me a HUGE cake on all special occasions and you'll only bake for me.

Ri: Armaan tum bhi na, bilkul bachey ho. Ye kia baat hui?

Ar: Bacha hoon to bacha sahi, per I don't share things that I love, understand? I keep them all to myself. Riddhima saw Armaan's eyes twinkling with naughtiness and something new. She chuckled when he held his hand out for a promise. She brought her hand forward but stopped it just above his saying: Armaan main to chali jaon gi yahan se, phir kaise tumhare liye cake bake karun gi?

Armaan's smile died down on hearing this and he felt a pinch in his heart. He hadn't thought about her going back. He spoke: wo mera masla hai, tum bus promise karo ki tum kisi kliye cake nahi banao gi. Riddhima put her hand in his. Armaan held her hand firmly and that new look was back in his eyes. They went to the coffee shop on the shore for a light breakfast.

Ar: Basket, I'll drop you home after this. I have to go to office for some important work, just received a message from Dad.

Ri: Per tum kaise jao ge? You didn't even sleep.

Ar: to kia hua Basket, office janay kliye sona zaroori thori hai.

Ri: Tum meri waja se rest bhi nahin kar sakey or ab tumhein kaam bhi karna parey ga. She felt guilty of keeping him awake the whole night. Armaan saw Riddhima's face falling; he held her hand on the table and spoke: Please Basket, aisa kuch nahin hai. I'm fine, it's only a small paper work that needs to be done, and I'll get back home soon.

They left for the orphanage in Armaan's car.

Ar; Basket do you know why I did all this today?

Ri: Yea it's my return gift.

Ar: Hmm and also because I wanted to see you smile. Look now you are wasting all my efforts, this is so not fair.

Ri: Aisa nahin hai Armaan, I'm really happy, see. She replied quickly putting on a smile.

Ar: Yea, tabhi ye jhooti smile kar rahi ho. Basket, seriously it was my choice na, whenever I bring you here. I already knew I had to visit the office later at noon, ab jaldi jana hai to kia hua.

Ri: kya? Tumhein aj office jana tha or tum mujhe yahan le aye. We could have come later.

Ar: I know but I wanted to see the first sun rise of this New Year with you. So is mein mera matlab bhi tha or tumhari khushi bhi. Ab to smile kar do, please.

Riddhima smiled at Armaan and looked at him, he had made so many efforts to see her smile and spend time with her. He had indeed made a very special place for himself in her heart. She would miss him a lot once she goes back home. But for now she pushed those thoughts away and smiled for his happiness.

Armaan was sitting in his office chair completely immersed in reading the papers Anurag had faxed him. There were some errors in the final draft that was sent to the Malaysian delegates, and so he was scanning through them. A knock on his door diverted his focus. A lean, pretty lady clad in a pink shirt and black jeans was standing at his door.

Ar: Yes, may I help you ma'am?

Lady: Haww, have I changed so much that you can't even recognize me now.

Armaan frowned, that voice was so familiar.

Lady: You, how can you forget me, dumbhead? She came forward to punch him. Armaan recognized her immediately and took her in a bear hug.

Ar: Oh Naina, I'm so sorry. I had no clue of your return and right now I was so busy that I couldn't recognize you. He parted from the hug and looked at her,

Ar: My, my, someone's grown up into a pretty lady. He said hoping it would melt her anger.

Na: this is not working Armaan, understand?

Armaan sighed: Oh ok, then what do I do to make it to you, your highness?

Na: Simple, spend the day with me. You do know, Mom's gone, so I'm all alone.

Ar: Hmm I know, but Naina it wouldn't be possible today. Can we keep it for some other day?

Na: Yea sure, but don't forget.

Ar: of course not. Tell what will you have? They immersed in talks with a cup of coffee each, after which Naina left for home and he continued with his task at hand.

Armaan had taken Riddhima out to the beach. It was a cold night. They had gone out for a stroll when it started raining. Riddhima spread her hands and faced skies ward to feel the rain. Armaan stood enjoying the rain and the beautiful view Riddhima presented. Then he started humming a song and stretched his hand forward for a dance.

"Jeene laga hoon, pehle se ziyada, Pehle se ziyada, tum pe marne lagaa"

Riddhima slips her hand into his and they start dancing. Riddhima is looking down blushing. Armaan puts a finger under her chin to make her look into his eyes and sings:

"Main, mera dil, or tum ho yahan, phir kyun ho palkein jhukaye wahan.

Tum sa haseen, pehle dekha nahin, tum is se pehle they janay kahan.

Jeene laga hoon, pehle se ziyada, pehle se ziyada, tum pe marne lagaa."

Armaan twirls her around and back into his arms with her back crashing into his chest.

" Rehtay ho aa kay jo tum paas mere, tham jaye pal ye wahin, bus main yeh sochun"

Riddhima spins out of his arms and they move in rounds keeping their arms extended on each other's' shoulders and sings:

"Sochun main tham jaye pal ye, paas mere jab ho tum.

Sochun main tham jaye pal ye, paas mere jab ho tum."

Armaan moves his hand over Riddhima's face and brings it down to her heart,

" Chalti hain saansein pehle se ziyada, pehle se ziyada dil thahar ne lagaa"

He turns away from her and she hugs him from behind moving sideways with the music.

A sudden flash of lightening makes Riddhima's hand to slip from Armaan's grip. She holds his hand but it slips again. She looks around feeling the presence of somebody else there.

Ri: Armaan yahan koi hai.

Ar: Basket, apna haath do. Riddhima tries but in vain and starts panicking.

Ri: Armaan koi humein alag kar raha hai.

Ar: Basket!

Ri: Armaan main tumse duur nahin jana chahti.

Ar: Basket mera haath mat choro.

Ri: Armaan mujhe rok lo please. He tries reaching for her but an invisible force is separating them.

Ri: Mujhe mat choro Armaan.

Ar: Basket!

Ri: Armaan! Armaaan!

Dadi rushes inside the room to see Riddhima holding the duvet in her fists, trembling and her face covered in sweat, staring into space. She makes Riddhima face her: kya hua Riddhi?

Ri: Wo Armaan, koi Armaan, main. She couldn't put words into a proper sentence.

Dadi pulls her into an embrace and says: Riddhi meri bachi, Armaan theek hai, tuney bura sapna dekha hai or kuch nahin, ye le pani pi. Riddhima gulped down it down immediately and held her hand over her madly racing heart. She closes her eyes but the same scene of their hands slipping came again in her vision. Riddhima quickly opened her eyes crying.
Da: Riddhima, idhar dekh, ro kyun rahi hai? Armaan se baat karey gi. Riddhima shakes her head.

Da: Kuch nahin hai bache, mere paas sir rakh or so ja. Main yahin hoon tere paas. Riddhima rests her head in Dadi's lap and tries to control her uneven breathing.                                                                   Riddhima had gone to bed directly after coming from the beach, as she was tired after a week of festivities.

Ri (thinking): I had slept thinking about returning home and missing Armaan, that's why I had this dream. But why am I getting so restless with the thought of leaving Armaan? I know I have to leave everyone here but why does my heart sink on not being able to meet Armaan again. What is this feeling that I have whenever Armaan is around? I should just stop thinking. Please God keep Armaan in your protection. She sent a silent prayer and closed her eyes.

Next afternoon Armaan called Riddhima to inform her of his business trip to Malaysia.

Ar: I have to go to Malaysia for 2 days.

Ri: when do you have to leave?

Ar: Today.

Ri: Aj!

Ar: Abhi.

Ri: Abhi! Armaan tum mujhe ab bata rahey ho?

Ar: Please Basket, suno. I myself was informed about it 2 hours back and I have only packed my stuff and am on the way to airport.

Ri: Milne nahin aao ge? She asked in a small voice.

Ar: I can't. I'm sorry. He whispers, closing his eyes.

Ri: All the best Armaan and come back soon.

Ar: Thanks Basket. I'll be back before you know and I'll come to u as soon as I return, that's a promise.

Ri: Take care of yourself Armaan.

Ar: Tum bhi Basket. Bye.

Both move their mobiles towards their hearts and think about each other. Riddhima has a sinking feeling about this sudden trip after her dream. Armaan inhales deeply and shuts his eyes for a nap as the flight takes off.

It was the second day after Armaan left. Riddhima had followed her daily routine but she felt lost, she had been in deep thoughts about her dream and the bond she had developed with Armaan. She didn't know when he became a part of her life. Now her vacations were coming to an end and she had to return. But something hurt inside her on the thought of leaving Armaan. What was this feeling?

In Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia,

Armaan leaned on the reclining chair with closed eyes. He was exhausted from travelling and the back to back meetings, which had ended only an hour ago. He had been busy but his thoughts were only clouded by a sentence in Riddhima's voice: Milne nahin aao ge? Her voice had seemed low and tensed. He had worked continuously wanting to end all of it and return home quickly but Anurag had ruined all his plans by assigning him an additional work.

Naina barged into his room in frustration: I think you have completely forgotten that you aren't alone here. Kya hai Armaan, jab se aye ho bus meetings mein busy ho or ab aankhien bund kar k baithe ho. Kitna bore kar rahe ho.

Ar smiles: Who asked you to accompany me here? You already knew I was coming here for an official trip and not personal enjoyment.

Na: I did know that but now you are free, phir bhi room mein baithe ho. Let's go out. I've been waiting for you since two days to get free.

Ar: I'm sorry Naina. Actually work load itna tha that I wasn't free for even a blink of an eye. How about we go sightseeing and then dinner at my favorite restaurant.

Na: Great! Thank you. Give me 10 mins, I'll get ready. She hugged him and left to her room.

When Armaan and Naina returned at night, they had a surprise waiting for them. Prerna and Muskaan had arrived shortly. Armaan had rolled his eyes seeing the over dramatic reunion of Muskaan & Naina, whereas Prerna was over joyed. They kept chatting till late at night, Muskaan had left with Naina & Prerna stayed back in Armaan's room.

It was almost mid night; Riddhima lay awake in her bed tensed. She had tried Armaan's number innumerable times but there was no response. It was the end of 3rd day but there was no news from Armaan.        Armaan had been busy the entire day. First he attended a seminar, where young Businessmen from around the world had gathered. Later he had a business dinner meeting which continued till late, as they had to get over the issues. He was exiting the 7 star-hotel after the meeting, when a big soft toys' store caught his eyes. Armaan remembered Riddhima seeing it. Ar: Shit, I forgot to tell Basket about extending my stay. She'll be tensed. I'll just call her.

Riddhima was staring at the stars outside her window when her cell beeped, it was a private number. She was a bit apprehensive about picking the call. Who would call her this late at night?

Ri: Hello.

Ar: Basket I'm so sorry, I couldn't call you. Actually I had to extend my stay here due to some work. I was busy so..

Ri (cutting him in the middle): it's ok Armaan. You don't need to explain me anything. Enjoy yourself. Bye.

Ar: Basket. I'm, listen, hello. Damn! He closed his eyes in frustration. Riddhima had cut the line without listening to his explanation. He had been trying to call since so long, but the heavy rainfall had disrupted the networks. Why couldn't she hear him for once? This was just great. First he had to extend the stay, second tolerate the ladies at home and now Basket was upset with him. What was he supposed to do now?


So this is it guys, please let me know your views.
Love,
Nimra.

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