Friday, 21 August 2020

part 9 & 10 : my every breathe in ur name

Part 9 : I could sense her presence

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Sid's POV

We reached Sanjeevani. Riddhima and I stepped out of the car. As we walked towards the entrance, I asked Riddhima one question that was bothering me "Riddhima you will not forget me. Will you?" I said and bit my lips. It was not the right time to ask such a question.

Riddhima turned to face me, she smiled softly with eyes cloudy "Sid, you have a special place in my heart, you know that and it will never be replaced. You are a beautiful chapter in my life. I'll protect it throughout my life safely." She said with her full heart.

I was afraid I couldn't control myself anymore. Tears escaped my eyes without my notice. I moved closer to Riddhima and hugged her gently for one last time. I needed some comfort and only Riddhima could give me some. "Thank you Riddhima. I am glad that you were in my life, though for a short span" said I slowly trying to compose myself together. She held me in her arms.

I drew myself back and smiled at her. This time it was from deep in my heart. We moved forward. Riddhima was nervous. She was trying her best to hide it but I noticed that. "Don't worry Riddhima. Everything will be fine." I said to lighten her mood. She smiled.

When we entered Sanjeevani, I noticed Riddhima's eyes searching for Armaan and so were mine. We didn't find him. All of a sudden something striked in my mind. Did Armaan leave? Were we late? I didn't dare to think about it. I immediately rushed towards Dr.Keerthi's cabin.

I didn't knock at her cabin, rushed to her and asked "Dr.Keerthi, where is Armaan?" trying to catch my breath. She looked at me surprised. "Dr.Sid, is everything fine?" said she. But that was not the answer I expected. I didn't answer her as I myself was not sure whether everything was fine. "Armaan?  Where is he?' I asked again. She was silent for few moments and I was in no mood to wait. Then came the words that I prayed would not come from her. "Armaan left Sanjeevani, Sid, forever. We relieved him this morning." She said with eyes full of pain.

I was shocked. 'He left?' I thought to myself. 'How can he?' I thought of Riddhima. What am I going to tell to her? My limbs started shaking. Just then I heard some sound and turned back. She was there. Riddhima was standing near the door.  She was shattered. I worried whether she could handle it and I was right she couldn't. She looked with horror in her eyes. Tears rolled down her cheek. She took the support of the wall as she could not support herself. My heart twisted with pain looking at Riddhima.

Dr.Keerthi looked at both of us with eyes full of questions. Then she ran towards Riddhima. She held Riddhima in her arms. "What happened Riddhima? Are you alright?" she asked Riddhima caressing her and looked at me expecting some answer. I couldn't. Riddhima cradled in her arms and sobbed. "I….. I…." Riddhima couldn't complete. She cried, cried and cried. No. I thought to myself. I won't let this happen. I composed myself.

"Dr.Keerthi. When did Armaan leave? Where did he go?" I asked trying to stay calm. She seemed to understand the situation. "Sid, he left before an hour. I think he went to airport to catch the flight to Delhi." She said still caressing Riddhima. I immediately took out my mobile and dialled Armaan's number. My  heart beat very fast. He didn't take my call. How can I expect him to?

I looked at Riddhima. I am sure that this time none of us would be able to make Riddhima survive if she lost Armaan. And that thought hit me very hard. I went to Riddhima. "Riddhima" I looked into her eyes. "Riddhima. Trust me. I won't let this happen. Come with me." Said I and extended my hand towards Riddhima. She didn't respond. I was afraid. I took hold of Riddhima by her arms and shook her "Riddhima!" I shouted at her. "Come with me. Please." I didn't wait for her answer and pulled her along with me and ran towards my car in the parking lot, leaving Dr.Keerthi staring at us.

I prayed to God one time 'please stop Armaan' and drove to the airport.

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Armaan's POV

(In the airport)

I was lost in my own world. My world of my basket. The ring of my mobile brought me out of my thoughts. I looked at the screen of the mobile. It was Sid. I had no strength left in me to take that call. 'Sorry Sid' I said to myself. I stared at my mobile.

"Who is it Armaan? Take the call." Atul asked me. "Nothing Champ."  said I quickly but was sure he was not ready to let it go. So I immediately changed the topic "So Champ, you were telling something about Anjali…" said I. His face lit at my mention of Anjali. I knew it was the only subject that could distract Atul. 'Sorry champ' I said to myself. I tried to remain calm but then started a pain searing through my being. Why did Sid call me? What did he want to talk? Did I do a mistake not answering his call? All those thoughts surrounded me in a moment and I gasped for air.

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Sid's POV

(Reached airport)

I drove the car as fast as its engine could bear. Thank God, nothing came in my way. We reached airport. I stopped the car abruptly that we jerked forward. I looked at Riddhima. She didn't speak anything. She was silent. She was lost. She was shattered. I stepped out of the car, ran towards the passenger door and pulled Riddhima out of the vehicle. I can't afford wasting anytime. Riddhima was not in this world. Her beautiful green eyes had no life left in them. I was afraid to see her once again in that situation.

"Riddhima" I shook her hard. She blinked and looked at me with bloodshot eyes. "Riddhima. Please don't loose it. Look, we are in the airport. You can still find Armaan here" Her eyes widened a bit at my mention of Armaan. She looked around and I was relieved she understood what I said.

We rushed into the airport. I ran to the enquiry desk and asked "When is the flight to Delhi, to leave?" One last hope. One last chance. I prayed to God. "Sorry Sir, it's late by four hours. It's at 12 pm." said the lady. I looked at my watch. It's 10.30 am. Thank God. A sense of happiness took over me. Tears escaped from my eyes. I closed my eyes. I stood there for a moment and breathed my heart full and rushed back to the place where I had left Riddhima.

When I went back I didn't find Riddhima there. Where did she go? I looked around for her but in vain. I called out her name making my way through the passengers. I didn't find her. My heart beat became erratic. I ran forward searching for her as well as Armaan.

It was already 11 am. I neither found Riddhima nor Armaan. I was out of my breath. I was gasping for air. Then, it was then I saw that person – Riddhima. She was still, without any moment staring into space. I rushed to her. "Riddhima, are you fine?" I asked on reaching her. She was in full tears, her cheeks damp, yet had a spark in her eyes. She didn't speak. She didn't move.

"Riddhima" I called her, turning her to face me. Then she responded. She slowly pointed at something, or rather someone. I stared at the direction of her finger. I saw him. He was sitting far way. But I noticed him. Thank God. I thanked Him heartily. Now Riddhima will be happy. She will be with her Armaan. I thought to myself. But there's little time left. Thinking so, I rushed to Armaan. To stop him. To give him his life back. To return to him what he deserve. To return to him his happiness, his world, his Riddhima.

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Armaan's POV

I didn't understand the reason, but I felt worried. I was uncomfortable. Ofcourse I was in pain, but this time it's something else. I shifted in my seat. Atul was talking to me something, but my mind was not taking it.

Atul looked at me and asked "Armaan, are you alright? You look pale." He was concerned, for me. I thanked God for giving me a wonderful 'Champ'. "Nothing Champ. I am fine. Fine." said I trying to stay calm. But I know he was not convinced. "Armaan, you don't seem to be well. We'll go back. You can leave tomorrow." He said. I understood what he meant. He was trying his best to change my mind. But I know it very well, if I didn't leave now, I will never be able to leave. "Champ" I made a face and looked back at him. "Ok. Ok." He said.

But something was not right. I didn't understand what. I thought of Riddhima. Was she fine? I hope she was. I stared at my mobile. I couldn't resist making her a last call. I reviewed my contacts and stopped at 'basket'. But I immediately I backed off. I put my mobile back in my pocket and stared into space.

Just then a sense of fresh breeze took over me. My pulse raised. I could feel her presence. The presence of whom, I could identify with my full senses. I stood up and looked around. I hoped she would be there. To stop me. But I knew very well it would not happen. At the same time my heart couldn't be wrong. 'Why she would be here?' said my mind. Yes. I thought. She wouldn't be here. I tried to convince myself and sat back in my seat. I noticed Atul staring at me but I ignored his stares as I didn't have any answers for them.

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Part 10 : Finally, Love beats the Fate

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Riddhima's POV

The pain inside my heart is tearing me apart. Armaan left me? No, that's not the truth. I pushed him away. Pushed him way for loving me more than what I deserved, so selflessly, so unconditionally. For loving me what I am.

What did I do? Can I live without him once again? I wished that he would come back when he left me last time, wished than anything else that he would take me in his arms. Wished that he would love his 'basket' more than before. But when he did come for me, overcoming all the hurdles in his path, what did I do? I made him believe that he was a mistake in my life. I made him believe that I could live happily if he not around me. But Armaan, you knew your basket. How did you believe it?

I deserve this punishment. Don't I? I deserve all the pain that I had given him or rather more.

I felt everything fading away in front of my eyes. I didn't understand where I was heading, but my legs kept moving.

Suddenly, I felt that Armaan was near to me, around me. My every sense told me that he was there. I could feel him. My cloudy eyes searched for him. It was then that I saw that person, the person whose mere presence could ignite my senses, ignite the feelings that are buried deep in me. It was Armaan. Yes I could see him. He was real. My joy knew no bounds. Tears escaped from my eyes but this time it was with boundless happiness.

Will he accept me if I went to him now? After everything I did? What if he rejects me now? Ofcourse he has every right to do so.  I became still. Someone called me. But I didn't respond. I was afraid that if I move my eyes away from that person, he would disappear. I can't afford that. I kept staring at him. Someone shook me holding at my arms. All I did was pointing my finger at Armaan and hesitatingly looked at the person by me. He was Sid. He looked at the direction of my finger and a pleasure of relief swept his features. He was happy. He rushed to Armaan immediately but I kept staring at Armaan.

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Armaan's POV

"Armaan" someone's call brought me out of my world. It was not Champ. Who is it? Now? Thinking so I turned in the direction of that voice. I was shocked to see that person. It was Sid standing there. Why did he come here?

"Sid?" Atul said in disbelief. "You here?" he asked. I stared at Sid and then at Atul. Sid did not respond to Atul. He came straight to me and asked "Where are you going Armaan? Why are you leaving?" looking straight into my eyes.

I knew very well I didn't have any strength left to answer him. I quickly looked away and said "Sid, I am leaving to Sanjeevani's Delhi branch. They need me there." Everyone there knew that it was not the truth. But what does Sid want now?

"Armaan, I know very well that it's not the truth and so do you" said he in a stern voice. I did not speak. "Can you live without Riddhima, Armaan?" then came the question I myself am not sure of the answer. "Sid, please.. please don't..." I pleaded him. But he cut me and said "Armaan, I know very well that you can't live without Riddhima. Then why are you leaving?"

"Sid please. I am Riddhima's past and you are her present. I made a mistake coming back into her life. She needs you Sid, not me. I don't want to make her life complicated. I want her to move on and live happily." I said wiping a lone tear that escaped from my eye.

"Armaan, do you think Riddhima can live happily without you? No Armaan, she doesn't know how to live without you and living happily is far off the point. She was even ready to end her life when she came to know that you left her. You are her past, present and future. You are everything to her"

I know. I know that's my basket. She loved me. Loved me inspite of all my mistakes. But what did I do? I left her to live her own life. Now when she had moved on with her life, how can I expect her to be back with me.

"Sid, that's the past. But now everything has changed and I accepted it. Please don't make it more difficult for me. Riddhima is not comfortable of me being here. She...." I couldn't complete as I found myself defeated. I spoke again after a moment "What do you want from me Sid? Why are you here?" I said not able to take it anymore.

"Armaan, I am here to return back Riddhima's life to her. You were her life Armaan. You are and you shall always be. No matter how much she tries, she will never be able to wipe you off from her heart and I know it. You are her world Armaan. Her every thought begins with Armaan and ends at Armaan. You make each other complete. Please don't leave."

I stared at him with utter shock. What is he saying? What does he mean? Does Riddhima still love me? Does she want me back in her life? No, that's not the truth. She already told me what she wants. I shook my head lightly as to put my thoughts aside and closed my eyes not to let the tears come out. I should not be weak now. I told myself.

"Sid, do you understand what you are talking? You...."I broke off as I noticed Riddhima coming towards me. My heart skipped few beats watching Riddhima. She looked tired. Her body weak and eyes red with tears.

"Riddhima !" said I still wondering whether she was real. Tears ran down my face and this time I didn't fight to stop them. Why is she here? To stop me? To tell me that she still want me? To accept me? A small ray of hope started rising in my heart. I wanted to hold her in my arms, to soothe her and myself off the pain, so much, that I found myself stepping towards her. But what if I was wrong? I can't bear anymore. That thought stopped me and I stared at her. I quickly regained myself and opened my mouth to speak something.

But before I could speak something, she ran to me and threw her arms around my neck, crying. I didn't understand what to do. I looked at Sid, surprised. He nodded at me slightly smiling.

I was still not sure of what Riddhima meant. Then came the answer to all my thoughts. "Please don't leave me Armaan. Don't leave me. I can't live without you." said Riddhima between her sobs, still holding onto me tightly. Those few words just shook me away. Those few words filled me with a new strength.

I slowly raised my arms and hugged her back tightly afraid of letting her go away. Afraid of letting that moment of pleasure go away. "Riddhima, I too can't live without you. I thought you wanted me to leave. That's why..." I couldn't speak any more. My voice got stuck at my throat. I just closed my eyes and took my heart full of that moment. The moment that I wished would come ever since I returned back. The moment for which I fought against all the odds.  Against all the hurdles to be back with her, with my love and life.

It was then, that the words came from Riddhima, my 'Basket'. The words that I could die for. The words that I anticipated for, for most of my life. Riddhima slowly moved in my arms, planted a soft kiss on the lower end of my neck and said "Armaan, I love you. I love you more than anyone else. You are my life." My joy knew no bounds. All the pain in my heart vanished just with those words. Infact I thought, I could bear even much more pain to hear those words from Riddhima.

I slowly drew Riddhima back so that I could see her face. She did not open her eyes. She was beautiful. Infact she is the only person who appears the most beautiful to me. I cupped her face and wiped the tears that are rolling down her cheek. I wondered why tears still formed in our eyes. "Riddhima" I called her. She opened her eyes and slowly looked at me. Looked at me with eyes full of love. Love for me. I thought of kicking myself hard for not recognizing the love in her eyes for past few days.

"I love you too 'basket'." I said looking straight into her eyes. She smiled heartily and blushed. I love to see Riddhima blushing and enjoyed the moment. Her cheeks changed to even darker color noticing me staring at her.

I didn't know how much time we were lost in each other's eyes. She hugged me again, this time with mere satisfaction and said in my ears "I knew it Armaan." I pulled her more closer into me and lifted her slightly off the floor. I closed my eyes and wished we could stay in each other's arms for ever, like this. I wished the time would never pass.

Just then, I noticed someone calling me. I ignored it at first but this time the voice raised in volume. It was Champ's. I wondered what he was doing here. I opened my eyes to notice him standing by me with his elbow on my shoulder. I made a face and looked him. He said rather teasing "Armaan, do you mind if you continue this after going back to home?" and pointed to all the passengers staring at us. Then I realized that we were in the airport. Riddhima gently pushed me away and looked at me embarrassed. I was embarrassed too. Atul continued "I mean, if you want to stay here, you may, and continue but I and Sid thought of going back." and winked. I looked at Sid. He smiled in agreement to Atul.

Searching for words to speak, I blurted out "No. It's Ok. We'll continue at home" and started moving. Sid and Atul stared at me smiling and Riddhima slightly blushing. Then I understood what I said and bit my lips. "I mean. Let's go. Let's go. Everyone is staring at us." trying to correct myself.

Atul came to me and said slowly "Armaan, I am happy to see you back. So happy for both of you." hugging me. "Thank you Champ" said I and my eyes stopped at Sid. I drew myself back and walked to Sid and said "Thank you Sid. Thank you for everything. I owe you a lot." He smiled at me and replied "You don't owe me anything Armaan. You deserve what you got. You both deserve each other." patting at my shoulder. "Let's go. I guess everyone is waiting for us." said he and walked towards the door with Atul.

I put my arm around Riddhima and we started moving towards the exit. Heading towards a new beginning with hearts full of love and beautiful thoughts about future.

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