Sunday, 23 August 2020

part 13 & 14 : my every breathe in ur name

Part 13: You are my everything

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Armaan's POV

'Riddhima was standing in a red sari – sauce wala red, looking gorgeous as always and I was in white Kurta. She was very happy about something and so was I. She walked towards me but I was still, grounded at the place where I was standing. I tried to move towards her but in vain. Atleast I was glad that she was coming towards me. I held out my hand to reach her. When she was about to reach me, something pulled her back. Later I noticed that it was myself who was being pulled back, very strongly. I tried to reach her again but in vain. After a moment I saw her presence fading away and she vanished completely. I kept screaming her name to find her, but she was gone – leaving me alone.'

I jerked in my bed and sat up, panting. I checked my surroundings. It was a dream. It was a dream – I said to myself and was relieved. Suddenly I remembered how such dreams taunted me when I was away from Riddhima. That thought itself sent shivers down my spine. I wiped the sweat from my forehead and reached for my mobile. I dialed Riddhima's number but her mobile was switched off. Checking the watch I thought she might be in Sanjeevani. It was 9 am. I got off the bed and went into the washroom. I realized that I slept peacefully after a long time.

I was so happy – happy after a long time. Now everything is being resolved. My life is getting back on track. Immersed in the thoughts of Riddhima, I took a quick shower and stepped out.

I then remembered that Atul stayed with me last night. I went to look for him. We talked the whole night about our lives and I didn't remember when I drifted into sleep.

I went to the guest room but did not find him. When I was about to leave the room, I found a note on the desk.

Armaan,

I am leaving for Sanjeevani. I came to wake you up but you were in deep sleep so didn't disturb you. I talked to Dr.Keerthi about your return. She asked you to report by 10 am. So be quick.

-Champ

I didn't breath for a moment looking at the time mentioned in the note. I looked at the watch. It's already 9.30 am. I closed my eyes and Dr.Keerthi's angry glares flashed in my mind. I ran back to my room to get ready and run for saving my life from Dr.Keerthi.

With one hand I grabbed a sandwich from the fridge while the other is busy working its way on my shirt, tucking it in my jeans. I put the entire sandwich in my mouth, took the car keys and my mobile and jumped into my car and left for Sanjeevani.

As soon as I reached, I checked my watch. It's 10.05 am. I jumped off the car and ran inside.

"May I know where Dr.Armaan is?" I heard Dr.Keerthi's stern voice at the reception desk. Before anyone could answer it for me, I managed to land myself at the desk. "I am here Dr.Keerthi" said I trying to catch my breath. Atul helped me in balancing myself.

"Good. Dr.Armaan, you may continue your duties as usual." I kept listening to Dr.Keerthi but my eyes searched for Riddhima. She was not there at the short gathering. I moved closer to Atul and whispered "Champ, where is Riddhima?" He was hesitant to speak but when I kept bugging him he whispered back "Riddhima is in OT attending an emergency."

But Dr.Keerthi noticed us whispering. "Is there any problem Dr.Atul?" She shouted at Atul. "Mam….I….Armaan….Nothing…." he searched for words shivering. Some things never change and I wished they wouldn't change. I interrupted him "Nothing Mam, we were discussing about a case" I tried to convince her. "Yes…yes Mam…. About case" Atul supported me with a weak smile while all the interns tried their best to fight back their laughter. Dr.Keerthi shot a dirty look at us and ordered "Get back to work now."

I was the first person to leave the place. I made my way to OT when Dr.Keerthi stopped me  "Dr.Armaan, your duty is in Cancer Ward not in OT. It's this way" pointing to the cancer ward. Atul gave me a big grin while I noticed a short smile escaping Dr.Keerthi's lips. Embarrassed at being caught, I nodded at her and ran towards the cancer ward.

On my way, I checked out Riddhima's duty schedule. She had three surgeries back to back till evening and no chances of me meeting her.

'Why is that everyone is against my love?' I muttered to myself and went to check my patients.

All the day, I kept myself busy with the patients so that I don't find it hard waiting to meet Basket. Infact, after many days, I enjoyed being back at Sanjeevani – my home afterall.

In the evening, after my duty, I kept wandering in the corridors, waiting for Riddhima. I did not understand why but I felt restless and uncomfortable. I guess it's due to the bad dream. All I wanted to do was to hold Riddhima in my arms and feel her. Only her presence could soothe me.

Finally, putting an end to my misery, I noticed Riddhima coming out of OT. I was relieved. I stood in the corridor by a corner, staring at her. She looked a bit tired but was beautiful, with a twinkle in her eyes. I noticed her asking the ward boy about me. I smiled to myself that she was that desperate to meet as I was for her.

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Riddhima's POV

It had been a hectic schedule today. I did not meet Armaan since the last night. I was searching for him at the corridor when a strong hand pulled me by my arm into the fire escape. Even before I looked at the person, I could say that it's Armaan.

He cornered me to the wall and he stood infront of me. "Armaan… What are you doing?" I tried to push him away as he moved closer to me. But deep in my heart I was enjoying this proximity. I could feel my blood flushing into my cheeks.

"What am I doing Basket? You are my fianc – officially now" he pressed himself slightly against me raising his arms on my both sides to block my way. In no time, his muscular arms were wrapped around my waist.

"Armaan.. Let me go" I protested in his arms. When I looked into his eyes, apart from love I noticed that there was something else – something bothering him. "What happened Armaan?" I looked straight into his eyes and asked, touching his face. I was pretty much sure, that he wanted to say something but hesitating. This was much unlike Armaan, so that worried me a bit.

He hesitated at first, but finally spoke as I persuaded him to "Basket, I had a bad dream. Infact, those dreams used to haunt me while I was away from you. I know I am being stupid. But I can't live without you. Don't ever leave me alone Basket. I can't stand it" His eyes became moist. My heart twisted in pain at the thought that he had to go through all the turmoil which he didn't deserve – and a part of it because of me.

I hugged him tightly. All I understood was that he needs to be reassured that I am with him and I shall always be. I pulled him even closer and whispered "I love you Armaan. We shall always be together – at any cost." I felt his stiff body relaxing a bit and was relieved. I drew back, stood on my toes and kissed his forehead. He cupped my face in his arms and bent down, brushing his lips against each of my eyes, then nose and cheeks before meeting my lips. This kiss was not of desire but of true belongingness- to convey that we belong to each other. He slowly parted my lips and I let him in, feeling him completely.

I sensed tingling sensations flashing in my body down to my feet. I felt weak but he held me tight in his arms and supported my weight. He drew back after few moments and whispered in my ears "Basket, let's go out. If we are alone for more time I am sure I won't be able to stop myself." breathing heavily. I was still in a state of trance to respond or look into his eyes. I stay still in his arms, with my arms wrapped tightly around his neck.

I jumped at the knock from the door and pushed Armaan and tried to regain myself. A horrified Atul stared at us with a big grin on his face and revealed the purpose of his coming while Armaan gave him a dirty look. "Guys, I have been searching for you all over the Sanjeevani………."

Armaan didn't allow him to complete "Champ! why do you make your entry always at the bad time?" he said making a face while we all three of us moved out of the fire escape. Atul responed back "Are yaar. Not me. Dr.Shashank has been searching for you."

"Papa said that he would talk to the Pandit today" said I looking at Armaan. His face lit up with my mention. He took my hand in his and we both ran to papa's cabin.

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Part 14 : Back to life

Armaan's POV

I tried my best to sleep but couldn't. I tossed up and down, on my bed, tried various positions but in vain. I checked the time. It's 2 am. I quickly grabbed my mobile and dialed a number. After various rings the person answered my call.

"Hh-ee-ll-ll-oo" the person spoke still in deep sleep.

"Basket!" I jumped in my bed at her voice. I was sure my shout would have taken all her sleep, away at a stretch. I wondered how she could sleep so peacefully when I am here dying to get some. I so much wanted to rush back to her bedroom and and......

"Armaan! Is everything alright?? Are you fine?" her response pulled me from my thoughts. I could sense her pulse raising.

I smiled to myself. "Yeah Basket. I am fine. I am not able to sleep, so thought of talking to you" said I hopefully wishing that she would not disconnect the call.

"Armaan, you will never change, will you? Is this the time to talk? Now let me sleep and you also get back to bed. We have lots of work to do tomorrow" she spoke continuously without giving me a chance to speak. I put my mobile far from my ear expecting such a reaction from her.

"Basket. You are not allowing me to sleep. How can I?" said I after waiting patiently for her to complete her yelling.

"What? I am disturbing you? Armaan.. Are you out of your mind? You just woke me up from my sleep n then now blame me that I am not allowing you to sleep. That doesn't make any sense." She shouted back. 'Kitna bolti hai yeh Basket' I thought to myself. No one will believe that she just woke up.

"Yes Basket. You were in my thoughts- in my dreams. How can I sleep when you walk in and out from my mind? And that too without my permission? Moreover you are seducing me." I pouted trying to calm her. I bet now she would be blushing. I missed it.

"Oye.. Hoye.. Basket.. You are too tempting when you blush." I tried my best to suppress my desire to run to her house to be back with her.

"Shut up Armaan!" She composed herself. " Now that your Basket is in your dreams, romance with her. I won't disturb you and now allow me to sleep." She shot back teasing me. I could feel her smiling.

"Basket please......" I requested her not sure of what I want to talk to her. I just wanted to hear her voice.

"Armaan.... Don't behave like a kid...." she waited for a moment "OK. I'll give you one thing. Promise me you will allow me to sleep after that." she said still smiling. I wondered what that 'thing' would be. I agreed to it hesitatingly and waited for that 'thing' holding my breath.

Then came the 'thing' that I could die for. She spoke softly "I love you Armaan" and kissed the mobile tightly that I could feel the intensity of her lips. I cursed the mobiles for staying in between us. "Good night Armaan" she said while I was still in trance and disconnected the call. I still kept staring at the mobile not sure of whether it's a boon or a bane for me.

'You know how to get me clean bowled very well Basket' I thought to myself. 'Only a matter of few long hours of separation. Then we would be together - together forever.' Soon my thoughts were transposed to the conversation we had with Dr.Shashank today evening.

"

I was still anxious as to what he would tell when I knocked at his cabin's door. Riddhima squeezed my hand lightly, her eyes urging me to stay relaxed. I wondered whether she could read my mind.

"Yes. Come in" I composed myself when I heard Dr.Shashank's voice and we both entered his cabin.

"Good evening Sir." I wished him and took my seat while Riddhima went to her dad and hugged him before settling beside me.

"Well. I wanted to talk to you about your marriage. Where have you both been to? I have sent Dr.Atul to search for you when I didn't find you in your cabins." He said with a smile on his face.

His words filled me with a new strength and pleasure. My marriage- with Riddhima. I wanted to jump up and down. Finally my dream is going to be true. I was immediately in my world thinking about my marriage - with Riddhima in saucewala lehenga as my gorgeous bride.

"We.....We were.... Yeah we were in Cancer ward...... Talking to a patient..... Isn't it Armaan?" Riddhima slightly pinched my hand which bought me back to present. 'What am I supposed to speak' I thought to myself as I glanced at Dr.Shashank's face expecting some answer from me.

I recalled that Riddhima told something to him when I was deep in my thoughts. So to be on safe side I agreed to what Riddhima said, not sure of what she said "Yes.....Yes Dr.Shashank. Riddhima is right." praying that this won't land me in any trouble. I was glad that he seemed to be convinced and looked at Riddhima. She smiled weakly and I returned her the same smile.

"Well Armaan, and Riddhima ofcourse. I have talked to the Pandit about the date for your marriage. He told me that day after tomorrow is a good day for you both to get married." He said hesitatingly. I was shocked and couldn't believe my ears. 'Day after tomorrow? So soon. Did I hear it right?' Before I could speak something Riddhima jerked in her seat "DAY AFTER TOMORROW?"

"Yes Beta. Or else you will have to wait for three months. What shall we do?" he spoke calmly. I was pretty sure I couldn't wait that longer. Before Riddhima could say something I jumped in my seat shouted "NOO. Day after tomorrow is fine. It's OK. It's perfect" and looked at Riddhima with a wide grin on my face.

She smiled shyly and blushed a little. I then looked at Dr.Shashank expecting his consent. He smiled at my excitement and said "Well OK. Armaan. I'll talk to your parents and ask them to come here as early as possible". "Yes... Yes Sir. Sure." Said I immediately my voice still full of excitement and I looked at Riddhima. Our eyes met and we were lost in each other, exchanging innumerable emotions through our eyes.

"Ok. I'll wait for you at the reception Riddhima. Be quick" saying so Dr.Shashank left his cabin. I was so glad that he understood that we need sometime alone.

As soon as he left his cabin I immediately pulled Riddhima into a rib crashing hug. She responded back with equal excitement.

"

Tring! Tring!

'The knock at Dr.Shashank's cabin wouldn't sound this way' I thought still lost in my world.

Tring! Tring! Tring! Tring!

The frequency of the rings increased and I suddenly realized that it's my door bell.

One more ring pulled me back to present. I shook my head and checked the time. It's 5.30 am. I wondered who it would be that early. Whoever it was I cursed for the bad timing. Hesitatingly I got off the bed and went to unlock the door.

As soon as I opened the door I felt something heavy smashing me to the ground with an embrace, with a big shout "Armaan!".

I closed my eyes and shouted back with my full voice "Thief..... Thief....." getting hold of the creatures over me.

"Abey Armaan. Open your eyes. It's me Rahul" one of the creatures yelled with a hand placed over my mouth, to stop me from shouting. "Haan. Open your eyes." Said another familiar voice.

My eyes immediately stung open as I recognized their voices "Rahul..... Abhi....." I was out of my breath as I saw them. And standing at the entrance were Muskaan and Nikki struggling with their luggage.

"Muskaan..... Nikki......" I pushed Rahul and Abhi aside and ran to the girls and hugged them tight. I sensed them trying to catch their breaths in my rib crashing embrace. I drew back and shouted "I can't believe it's true. So glad to see you."

Before I could hear to what they said Rahul came with full force and kicked me in my back "Abey. You forgot us. We were the first whom you met, not the girls." I turned back to them to notice Abhi and Rahul with a big grin on their faces. I immediately rushed towards them and jumped onto them throwing my hands over their necks. They were strong enough to support me. "I missed you all so much" I again shouted at the top of my voice.

"Wohoo Armaan you are no less that 80-90 kgs and we are tired after the journey. Get off us" Abhi pleaded in my ears. I was still lost in the immense happiness that I ignored it. I have met them after almost 1 year and immediately my eyes flooded with happiness. I regained myself and stepped back on the floor.

"Will you let us inside or leave us to our fate to stay in the balcony" Muskaan shouted from the entrance. "And you Rahul, who will take care of the luggage?" she glared at Rahul. How much I missed her voice. How much I missed their 'non-sensical' fights

Lost in the old memories, I let them in and closed the door. All four of them threw their luggage in the entrance, rushed inside fell in the sofa. Muskaan signaled me to get the luggage in. While struggling to pull their luggage inside the living room, I noticed them being very tired.

"How come you guys are here?" I asked them wondering who might have told them. I felt ashamed of being lost in my world and forgetting to inform the people whom I considered as my true family about the biggest happiness in my life.

"You were busy romancing with Riddhima that you forgot us. Glad that Riddhima remembered us. She called us yesterday night. And so we were here all the way to attend the much awaited marriage" saying so Nikki hugged me "How are you Armaan? We missed you so much." her voice trailed off.

I felt so complete with them being with me. I recognized the hurt in her voice. I felt guilty of leaving them alone. Tears escaped my eyes without my knowledge. "I am fine Nikki. Thanx for coming. I missed you all too." I drew her back and wiped the tears off her face and mine too. I regained myself and shouted in excitement "You have put on a lot of weight. You don't fit in my arms anymore." I suddenly noticed sindhoor on her forehead "Wow Nikki. So you are married to Abhi?  So happy for you." I looked at Abhi. He had a wide grin over his face. I immediately rushed to Abhi and gave him a bear hug "Congratulations man! Why didn't you tell me."

Before Abhi could speak Muskaan came towards me and said "How can we inform you Armaan? You never let us know about your whereabouts. We were worried when you left all of a sudden." It's so unlike of Muskaan being emotional. But I realized the concern in her voice. She hugged me and continued "Glad to see you back Armaan." While I held her in my arms I suddenly realized something came in between us. I drew her back and looked at her. I noticed a different spark in her eyes and yelled in happiness when I understood what it is "Wohooo Muski, you are Pregnant? So junior Rahul is on his way." She blushed and nodded shyly.

I rushed to Rahul and pulled him in for another rib crashing hug "Yaar Rahul you are very fast. Congratulations. So happy for both of you."

"Thanx Armaan. Happy for you too." Rahul spoke with his voice full of happiness.

My joy knew no bounds. I didn't understand what to speak and whom to speak. I wanted to share so many things with them but didn't understand what to start with and where to. I prayed that this happiness would stay with me forever. Once again I was lost in those memories when

Tring! Tring!

Again the bell rang. I wondered what the surprise it would be this time. I wondered whether my heart could take more. I went to the door and unlocked it.

"Champ! You too." I exclaimed. But he pushed me aside with full force and rushed to the living room shouting at the top of his voice "Nikki....Muski...Rahul....Abhi....". I was startled at first and quickly regained myself. I closed the door and went back to the living room to notice the most amazing sight.

Rahul, Nikki and Muskaan were busy teasing Atul who was grabbed at his neck by Rahull while Abhi was laughing his heart out at some joke cracked by them. My mind went numb with immense happiness for all my friends. All the wonderful memories of us in Sanjeevani became alive all of a sudden. Tears of happiness flooded in my eyes. 'All these friends and Riddhima - this is what my true world is. This is my life. What else could I ask for' I thought to myself.

I wiped the tears off my face and was about to join them when the bell rang

Tring! Tring!

'Wow Armaan today you are showered with surprises' I smiled to myself as I went to face yet another one with excitement.

But this time it was something else. I was shocked at the person who stood at my door.

"Sid? You here? This early?" I mumbled not expecting him at that time.

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