Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Intro & part 1 : Life Behind A Camera

Characters : Ridhima
Armaan
Sid
Mohit (a new character)

Summary : The life of entertainment is filled with gossip, peer-pressure and spotlight. Whether it's the small screen or the big screen. For Ridhima Gupta, being a part of the most popular show, Dil Mil Gaye, playing Dr. Jennifer;  she was constantly the topic of interest amongst many people, whether they wanted to know of her life, or of her personal life. Which is why when her co-star and love of her life, Armaan Malik suddenly left everyone without a phone call or message or letter, she found herself to be in the spotlight not only in the media, but also at her workplace.
A year later Ridhima had carefully constructed a wall around her fragile heart and forced herself to move on. So why is it that the directer, Mohit, is once again hiring Armaan to come back into the show. What would you do if the man who left you without a word, suddenly was forced back into your life?
................................


part 1

"No, no, NO!" Ridhima shouted as she rushed from the set of the locker room, back towards her dressing area, Mohit following right behind pleading her to stay and see reason. Ridhima, fuming rushed towards the door, banged it open and went inside.

She could not control the rage that had taken over her as she read the week's script. What were the writers thinking, better yet, what was Mohit thinking? Bringing him back to the show, just to increase the TRPs. Ridhima crossed her arms over her chest, and her hands clutched the suit she was wearing in fists.

"Ridhima, look, this is crucial for the show and for the plot-line!" Mohit pleaded with her as he came and stood in front of her, his arms spreading open pleadingly as he looked at her in distress. There were more wrinkles on his face since the first day of the show and more grey hairs than black ones.

Ridhima scoffed and turned her face away, refusing to look at him.

"What plot-line, Mohit? The same one which we deferred from ages ago to please the audience? Or the one which we kept changing just to make the show drag on to please the audience? Mohit, I am not going to work if he is here again. I WILL quit" Ridhima warned him as she glared at him.

"Ridhima, we are trying to work on a new plot-line, we have an ending in mind, and the new triangle between you him and Karan played by Sid would be the new hot thing on TV!" Mohit tried to change her mind, but Ridhima shook her head defiantly.

"I am sorry Mohit, but this is not going to work out. I cannot work if he comes back." Ridhima said, a finality in her voice, and Mohit hung his head in defeat. Giving out a heavy sigh, Mohit trudged out of the office, his shoulders no longer back and square, and his hair unkempt from working so hard. Ridhima almost felt sorry for him, she had worked for him since the start of the show, and he had provided her with nothing but support. Especially during the darkest of her times, and now she was giving up on him.

But she had not other choice, she had to leave if he came back, she did not have the courage to even face him after all the history between them. It would all be too awkward and messy, and Ridhima could not risk having her heart broken again, after she had carefully managed to put all the pieces back together.

********

Ridhima packed her stuff slowly into the box she had got with her. Picking up small items and placing them in the box neatly kept tugging at her heart and to keep the tears at bay was becoming even more difficult.

"So it's true"

Ridhima looked over her shoulder to see Sid leaning against the door, his arms crossed over his chest as he stared into her eyes. Ridhima quickly averted her gaze and looked back at her box, intent on making every little thing fit into it.

"You are leaving" Sid said in a monotonous voice as he came to stand next to her. Pushing himself onto the big desk next to her, he crossed his ankles, leaned his back against the wall and crossed his arms across his chest once more.

Ridhima rolled her eyes but didn't say anything, still picking things off the table to put them in the box.

Sid sat there, looking at her, and Ridhima could feel his gaze piercing into her as she hurried around the room trying to find everything. This was the same room, in which for the past 3 years she had made her second home. Coming here every morning, and leaving late in the evening, Ridhima had most of her memories stored in this room, and now the fact that she had to leave all this behind...Ridhima could not even comprehend the pain she would feel.

Her mother had always told her. She was like a theeki mirchi. She would always get angry quickly; take out all her frustrations on people. But when she loved them, she gave her everything. This is why she always found it hard to adjust to changes.

Ridhima tried swallowing the lump in her throat to no avail. It only made it worse, the tears blurred her vision as she looked around the room. Sighing, Ridhima sat down on the chair, defeated, and put her head in her hands, pressing her palms against her eyes to stop the tears from flowing. But they would not stop, and soon Ridhima's whole body was shaking trying to keep the sobs in, her breath was coming out in short gasps, and Ridhima could feel the control slipping away.

She felt some movement around her, and suddenly felt arms around her shoulders, pulling her into a hug. Ridhima complied, and rested her head against Sid's chest as she gave into the tears. She could distinctly hear Sid shushing her as he rocked her slightly. Stroking her hair, trying to get her to calm down; but Ridhima's life was falling apart. Her perfect life, her perfect career was being snatched away by him.

"I hate him, Sid. I hate him so much!" Ridhima said through her sobs, and her arms slowly wrapped around his waist and her hands clutched his shirt in her hands.

He just rocked her and allowed her to get all the pain out.

"He took everything away from me. I cannot believe him! How can he just come back...H-how? I-I don't know what I am g-going to do now, Sid" Ridhima said, hiccuping. His arms tightened around her but he didn't say anything.

Ridhima held on to him, as she allowed her tears to flow freely down her face. The pain was too much. It was as fresh as the day he had left without telling her anything, left their relationship, ran away somewhere nobody knew. She had tried desperately to contact him to no avail.

Soon she had given up, assuming that he had ran away from her, though there was a small hope within her that still made her plead to god that that wasn't true. That he still loved her. But after a year, Ridhima had completely given up hope. He could have been dead and no one would have known. It was almost like he had disappeared from the world.

Until today

"You are stronger than this Ridzi" Sid said quietly. Ridhima shook her head, and said,

"Nahi Sid, I was strong. But since he left me, I forced myself to move on. Forced myself to believe that it was all like a dream; but now...Now he is coming back, and I can't face him Sid. I can't!" Ridhima said, shaking her head vigorously to prove her point.

"I know, I know!" Sid said, as he slowly pulled away from the hug and squatted down so he was up to her level. "I know he did that. No one on this set can forgive him Ridzi, not one of us can forget how you looked for those so many months after he left you. You were walking, doing your lines, doing your job perfectly. But you weren't living, Ridzi, and it pained all of us to see you in that state."

Ridhima sniffled, as she looked into his eyes, the tears still flowing, and the pain still there. But Sid held her hands in his, as he looked into her eyes and spoke,

"But, you are stronger than this. He is coming back, but this time, if you run away Ridhima, you would be almost like a coward like him! He ran away. You cannot stoop to his level and do that too! Stay back, let him see you living your life, let him suffer. But please, stop making yourself suffer because of him"

Ridhima's face contorted into one of pain as she considered what Sid had said. Should she stay and see him suffer? Is she strong enough to do this?

********

"LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!"

Jennifer stared at Karan as he came to stand in front of her, his eyes looking deeply into hers, he got down on one knee. Jennifer's lips slowly parted as she realised what he was going to do.

Paralyzed with shock, Jennifer couldn't do anything, as he took her hand in his, still looking into her eyes, and said,

"Jennifer, will you marry me?"

Jennifer didn't know what to say. What to do. She stared at him, trying to decipher if he was joking or not. But he looked back at her with all seriousness, the love there on his face as he stared at her.

Jennifer slowly closed her eyes as a tear slipped down her cheek. She tried thinking of all the good times she had had with Karan, but suddenly the good times with him flashed past, and Jennifer was left confused.

Why was she still pining over him?

"Karan...mein.."

"AND CUT! BRILLIANT SHOT! Absolutely brilliantly acted Ridhima! And Sid, try not to smile when the camera focuses on Ridhima, because you never know when the camera will focus on you" Mohit warned him, as Ridhima walked to the chair next to the set and plopped down on it. The make-up lady came up to her, and started doing touch-ups.

Ridhima's eye ran across the set. Tomorrow, everything was going to be different. Everything was going to change. Tomorrow, he was coming back to the show.

********

Ridhima got into her car and rested her head against the head-rest as the driver drove to the sets. They had been called in early today to meet him and the more Ridhima tried getting out of it, the more Mohit would emotionally blackmail her.

Sighing, Ridhima tried getting a hold onto her nerves as the driver drove towards the entrance of the sets.

Wetting her suddenly dry lips, Ridhima took a few deep breaths to calm her heart down. Pushing her door open, Ridhima thanked the driver as she walked towards the DMG sets.

Cursing under her breath for listening to Sid that day and not quitting, Ridhima pushed the door open and faced the past of her life.

********

To say that she had been completely unaffected by his presence would be a downright lie. But she was an actress and she had managed to mask every bit of flutter she felt in her heart, every bit of pain and anger she felt towards him and every bit of helplessness she felt of the situation. Looking up at Mohit, Ridhima tried to avoid the feel of his presence in the room.

She tried to avoid looking at him. She even smiled brightly at everyone, laughed at Atul's jokes, said hello to all the crew and stood next to Sid as Mohit said his welcoming speech.

She tried to portray the persona of being unaffected as much as she could, but she knew he could see right through it. She knew he was looking at her every few seconds to see if she was looking at him or not.

She knew he wanted to talk. But Ridhima did not want to, she could not talk to him after everything that had happened. Blinking back the sudden tears in her eyes, Ridhima tuned back into what Mohit was saying.

"...and this crucial member of our crew, who was there from the very start of the show has returned. I would like you all to welcome back, Armaan Mallik, who is coming back to play Karan Grover, or KSG as people love to call him!" Mohit cried out as he applauded Armaan on stage.

Ridhima rolled her eyes and looked at the clock and prayed that this would end as soon as possible.

********

Ridhima leaned against the wall of her dressing room as she took a few deep breaths. Today was the day, the day when Armaan and Ridhima would act in the same scene together. She could do this, she knew she could, but then why weren't her legs moving?

"Ridhima, are you coming?" Preeti the make-up lady snuck her head in to the room, wondering where she had wandered off to.

Ridhima nodded and wiped her sweaty palms on her suit. Taking in another deep breath, Ridhima readied herself, and walked out of the room hoping for this to finish as quickly as possible.

Taking her position on the set, Ridhima's eyes quickly scanned over the script as she tried to remember the lines she had to say.

Her heart was pounding against her chest, and Ridhima could do nothing to control it.

"EVERYONE GET READY, NOW!" Mohit shouted as Sid came and stood beside him, giving her a thumbs up and smiling at her. Ridhima gave him a tentative smile back, and braced herself for the scene.

"LIGHTS, CAMERA AAAND ACTION!"

Jennifer desperately looked around, trying to find Karan, but she couldn't see him anywhere. Standing there, she looked at her watch for the 3rd time and realised that Karan was late once again. She had decided to give him the answer today.

The answer to his proposal, and Jennifer was hoping that today he would be on time, but he disappointed her again. Sighing in frustration, Jennifer crossed her arms across her chest as she glanced around once more.

Suddenly her heart skipped a beat, and Goosebumps appeared on her flesh. Her breathing increased and her limbs felt weak and heavy. Her arms slowly fell to her side as Ridhima glanced around in confusion.

The only time she had felt like this had been with...him. But he was not here...he had left her. So why would she feel like this?

Her heart started beating rapidly and she could sense someone was behind her. Turning around slowly, Jennifer's eyes widened as she realised who was behind her. Her mouth parted as she took in the sight before her. He was standing in front of her, his eyes brimming with tears. The beautiful eyes, that she had constantly gazed at and had lost herself in them so many times. Her heart went into a frenzy and Jennifer's mouth dried up.

"Jennifer..." He said in a whisper as his eyes raked across her face, drinking in every detail.

Ridhima suddenly felt herself snap out of her character. She completely forgot her lines, and she could no longer see Karan in front of her...rather it was Armaan there in front of her, his eyes drinking in all her features.

She could faintly here someone whispering angrily behind her, "Ridhima, it's your line" but she ignored them. It had been so long since she had looked at him properly. Since she had been able to stare at him without a care in the world and get lost in his eyes.

Ridhima could feel the tears forming once again, and she did nothing to stop them.

"Jennifer" Armaan said once more as he took a step towards her. Ridhima just stared at him, and watched him take small steps towards her.

Suddenly she felt him wrap his arms around her waist and pull her tightly against him. Ridhima's arms lay limply at the side as the emotions of relief, love, happiness, sadness and regret took over her, each of which contradicting the other.

"Jennifer..I love you. I am back, I am so sorry" Armaan whispered as he buried his face in the crook of her neck and shoulder, and his breath tickled her neck. Ridhima used to love it when he used to do that, and she could feel the same feelings emerging from within her.

Her arms still lay limply beside her, as she tried to get lost in the moment. It was almost as if her heart had taken over her brain, and all her functions refused to listen to her logic or reason.

He kept muttering I love you to her, as his arms tightened around her. Ridhima could feel something wet on her neck, and realised that he was crying. Ridhima felt the tears break free and slip down her cheeks. She could feel a sob coming as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders.

Suddenly she heard him say something else, and Ridhima frowned as she tried to listen to what he was saying, though he was whispering so quietly, that no one but Ridhima could have heard him.

"I am sorry Ridhima. I love you. I am sorry"

"AND CUT!"

********

"Holy shit! What was that?" Sid said as he came to stand next o her while Ridhima sat in her chair in her dressing room, away from everyone else.

Ridhima looked up at him and remained silent; she herself did not know what had happened. It was almost like an out-of-body experience, she could imagine herself standing dumbstruck as Armaan came in front of her.

I am sorry Ridhima. I love you. I am sorry

Licking her dry lips, Ridhima tried calming her heart down, and stop her hands from shaking from nervousness. Even the slight closeness she had experienced just then had affected her badly, and she wasn't sure how she was going to survive here.

"Ridhima, you cannot forget your lines like that again" Mohit said, as he came into her dressing room. Ridhima looked silently up at him, unable to form any words in her defense. She still ha no control over herself, it almost seemed like Armaan had taken a part of herself with him when the shot had been cut and Ridhima had ran away from there, trying to put distance between them.

"Though I have to say that the shot was...BLOODY BRILLIANT! Amazing acting Ridhima, both you and Armaan...whew! blew me away! Keep up the good work, and in no time the TRPs would once again be in our favour!" Mohit said, slapping her on the back, conveying his happiness and walked out, beaming.

"Ridhima.." Sid said, as he stood in front of her, kneeling down to look her in the eyes.

"Sid..I-I..can't...I...you saw...I" Ridhima stammered, her eyebrows furrowing in confusion, trying to sort her feelings out.

"Ridhima, calm down. What you did there was understandable, just...try not to let him affect you so much" Sid explained.

Ridhima nodded and looked down, the tears still swimming in her eyes.

It was easier said than done.





So here it is! Hopefully you enjoyed it, the next one should be coming up soon!


~Sweety~

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