Saturday, 25 April 2020

Part 27& 28: Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

part 27 

The school days dragged on with work pilling up and up until the gang realised that they were almost covered with paper work. They were now filling out UCAS forms and thinking of their future which everyone found a bore and they kind of ignored it carrying on with their coursework which seemed like a better choice at the moment. Riddhima always thought that this was one of the longest terms in a school year and she wished the holidays would come quickly. Soon her wish had come true and the gang was given a break as the half term had come around and they had a week off school.
During the middle of the week the Guptas' and Maliks'  got to together to celebrated Atul and Anjali's first wedding anniversary with some friends and neighbours. The small party was held at the Maliks' place with some music, food and fun. The gang had a great time together as they recalled the fun they had during the wedding time.

Muskaan: I can't believe one year is up already...congrats Anji Dii... - hugging her

OS : The darkness falls from wings of night

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we -
Of many far wiser than we -
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

-          Edgar Allen Poe, Annabel Lee


The eight of them were stranded in middle of nowhere and it was rapidly getting dark. They were on a camping trip planned at a famous camping site, a few hours from the city limits. Atul had been very excited about sleeping amidst greenery and the rest of the group had teased him mercilessly. Their mood was dampened when one of the cars broke down. As everyone got down and started planning their next move, Atul stood there watching everyone quietly.

"You know guys this is just like a typical horror movie. Youngsters go to a camping trip, car breaks down and eventually everyone will die", he quietly added.

Everyone seemed to be amused rather than scared. Muskaan however showed a bit of nervousness. Before Atul could continue any further, Abhi took charge of the situation and they decided to camp at a place that they had crossed a mile or so earlier. As they started walking, they exchanged stories from their childhood or from their college days which was both hysterical and nostalgic. As they reached the ruins which once could have passed for a small barn, they yelled few shouts of joy.

It had been a tiresome journey so they made themselves comfortable on stacks of hay when Muskaan asked Riddhima to go with her for a bathroom break. At the same time, Atul started with his analysis.

"You know, typically in any horror movie, girl like Muskaan will die first." Muskaan let out a tiny shudder. Rahul burst out laughing.

"You mean girls who are scary themselves?" he asked Atul throwing a wink at Muskaan. She stuck her tongue out. Rahul simply shook his head, chuckling.

"Muskaan represents innocence and naivety yet being fiercely independent which makes her the easiest target. She looks and acts tough but it's just an act to cover her vulnerability. That's why she dies first", Atul replied.

"Thanks a lot Atul, now I feel very safe as I know the reason why I am a potential target for a psychopath", Muskaan bit out sarcastically. Atul thought that a violent Muskaan was much scarier than all the ghosts and psychopaths put together but he didn't voice it though. Without waiting for his reply, Muskaan and Riddhima went out of the barn and asked the rest of the group not to follow them.

A quiet settled in the barn and not even five minutes had passed by when Atul started speaking again.

"They are still not back yet", he replied nervously.

"They are fine Atul", Armaan replied amusedly. After thinking for a moment, he voiced his thoughts.

"Who is next?"

"Armaan, don't feed this kid's imagination", Abhi admonished him. Nikki soundlessly scooted closer to Abhi as she was honestly getting scared of Atul's analysis.

"I think it would be me", Atul answered without a hint of scare. Armaan only raised his eyebrow while Rahul and Abhi gaped at him. Anjali thought Atul was being idiotic again. When he saw that everyone's eyes were on him, he offered his reasoning.

"I am not particularly a threat in this group when compared to the three other guys but I can be a nuisance to the killer. And it would be because of Anjali that I would die."

"So I am actually the next target to the killer, but you will die", Anjali paraphrased him as if by doing so she would achieve some clarity.

"Anjali loves her friends but she is slightly reckless and sometimes even careless. It's never intentional and she even feels guilty for her faults but generally it would be too late for that", Atul's eyes were distant. Nikki cleared her throat and Anjali was blatantly staring at him. Armaan shared a knowing smile with Abhi and Rahul when Atul continued.

"Anjali is the most grounded person in the group and she would first try to find a solution to get out of here as she loves her friends' very much. She grossly under estimates the intelligence of the killer and she unknowingly becomes the victim. That's where I come in. I die in her place", he said casually as if someone asked him if he wanted to eat a piece of pie. He said with such a certainty and calm acceptance that Anjali choked out a silent sob. She just squeezed his hands accepting his silent plea. Riddhima and Muskaan arrived at that moment.

"What are you guys talking about?" Muskaan asked in a chirper tone. It looked as if the cool weather outside had calmed her down.

"After you die, Atul would die next saving Anjali. Anjali gets devastated because of this and she becomes cold and hostile in the group", Rahul summarized their conversation. Muskaan decided to be sportive about it and simply shrugged.

"Atul, when will Rahul die?" Muskaan asked smirking at Rahul.

"After Nikki", he answered confidently. Nikki looked scared. Atul was looking at Muskaan and explained his theory.

"We are eight of us and killer has killed me and you, right?"

"Right", almost everyone answered.

"Technically Rahul and Anjali are also affected by this act. You know what true evil is Muskaan? It's not killing someone in the most horrific way. It's making that person watch his or her loved one dying a horrific death and not do anything about it is the worst kind of torture that can be inflicted. Even if Anjali and Rahul escape from the clutches of the killer, they will be always haunted by our deaths. In the end, killer does win."

Rahul and Muskaan shared a look and looked away immediately. Muskaan shifted next to Rahul and she could see a storm in his eyes. She clasped his hands tightly showing how scared she was. He gave her a small smile.

"What will happen to me?" Nikki asked in a small voice. Her scare of darkness and Atul's horror movie scenic recreation had her on an edge. She was clutching Abhi's arm as if her life dependent on it.

"There are two reasons actually. One is that you are the easiest target as you can be easily scared. The killer would not even do anything drastic and you will walk easily into his trap. The killer now knows that the targets after you are much tougher than you, me or Muskaan and so he wants to feel that rush of winning. That's why you will be killed", Atul responded.

"What is the second reason?" Anjali asked. Everyone was getting intrigued with Atul's analysis. He was being extremely logical and they had yet to find flaws in his theory.

"The second reason for killing Nikki is also the killer's first mistake."

"Me." Abhi answered.

"Yes. Abhi has a tendency to take charge wherever we are; hospital, hotel or even here. If killer was observing us, he would have seen that when we were walking to this barn, Abhi was leading the group with Armaan and Riddhima close behind."

"The killer wants to emotionally cripple the alpha male of the group", Riddhima replied. She understood the way Atul was constructing logic for the analysis and she cottoned on.

"Abhi takes charges because he is the senior in the group and that's what he has been doing since we have met him. Amidst us he feels as if it's his duty to protect us rather than feeling a natural instinct to protect the group. He is an over achiever, being what he is at such a young age and there is a possibility that he might put himself and Nikki above the group. But a true alpha male would never do that. A true alpha male would not mind to be led and will rise to the occasion when needed", she answered.

"So Armaan is the hero." It was Anjali who said that. Riddhima nodded. They were quite for few moments.

"It's my turn now, isn't it?" Rahul asked Atul lightly. He could see Muskaan wince at his casual question.

"Yes. You make mistakes knowing that it's a mistake. The carelessness that you possess is much different from that of Anjali. Yours comes from the general feeling of negligence and taking things for granted where as hers stems from not understanding the repercussions", Atul replied. Rahul and Muskaan shared a look. He knew for sure that Atul had concluded this based on his interaction with Muskaan. For a moment, he felt miserable for the way he hurt her even if it was never intentional.

"Everyone would warn you, yet you would do the thing which will eventually lead to your death. You would blame yourself for Muskaan's death and you will be even more irrational later on. It will be a suicidal mission and that act will help the survivors to escape from the killer", Atul reasoned out. Everyone was thoughtful for a moment. According to Atul's analysis half their group was dead. Even if it was very unsettling, everyone was still thinking about ' "what happens next?"

"Abhi will be next", Atul continued.

"Are you sure?" Anjali asked him.

"I am not, to be honest. It could be either you or Abhi. Both of you have lost something very important in your lives. Both of you are very intelligent and will help the hero and the heroine until the end."

"So Riddhima is the heroine?" Nikki questioned. Anjali nodded.

"Is it Abhi or Anjali?" Muskaan questioned. Everyone seemed to be eager to know that answer.

"Frankly, it would depend on the director or the story writer. Because they can bring about sister-sacrifice thing just twenty minutes before ending which gives Riddhima a new confidence to fight back. Or the other angle is Abhi helping them out in a very tough situation and would sacrifice himself as a testament to friendship and avoiding a tragic death for Armaan. It would be for both Armaan and Riddhima's sake."

"Let's forget the movie director and go by pure logic OK?" Rahul demanded. The group was amused by his curiosity.

"Fine. No need to yell at me", Atul retorted. A few of them chuckled. Atul contemplated for a few minutes before replying Rahul.

"Armaan, Abhi, Riddhima and Anjali are the toughest in the group. Mind you, the killer still thinks that Abhi is the biggest threat but now he is having certain doubts. Because, sometimes an alpha male would take a step back to assess the situation more clearly from behind the pack rather than leading the pack with his back against them. Now the killer has to make a choice between Abhi and Riddhima and not between Armaan and Anjali."

He looked around to see that everyone had surprise written on their faces. To add on to that surprise, Riddhima continued. She had always enjoyed behavioral psychology and this was proper clinical work that they were doing.

"Look at Abhi. He is well built, tall, confident and definitely a good fighter. He is the one who would fight till the end and help the group. And as Atul said, at this point, in killer's eyes, Abhi is a bigger threat than Armaan. Since killer has some amount of doubt on Armaan's capabilities, he might even choose me next as it would simply devastate Armaan. And a devastated Armaan is like a loose cannon; it will collapse the group without much work from killer." She fell silent. It took her a moment to realize that she had openly accepted her relationship with Armaan and what they mean to each other. She chanced a look at her sister and she found that there was a calm acceptance on her face. The sisters shared a private smile. Atul explained further.

"Abhi will go next. Even of Armaan gets irrationally aggressive about Riddhima's death, there still is a chance that it could harm killer himself. Instead of that, Abhi is a safe bet. And besides, Armaan would be more protective now since there would be two girls and one guy. It's not a gender bias ladies, it's just the way Armaan is programmed", he grinned at Armaan. Armaan just smiled and shrugged.

"But haven't they figured out who is the killer yet?" Muskaan enquired. Atul smiled at her and unconsciously looked at Riddhima. Only Riddhima seem to understand the logic in which he was coming out with his explanations.

"Now that there are only three of them, they will start wondering if they know the killer or it's some sick guy."

"Of course I would contemplate that the killer might be one of us", Riddhima answered calmly.

"That's impossible."

"It's rubbish."

"Are you crazy?"

"Not happening."

Various exclamations were heard but Riddhima was looking at everyone calmly.

"We are what we are because of the morals and values that have been imbibed in us since very young age. But I honestly believe that there is a dark side to every human being buried deep within us. Based on our mental and emotional stability, that darkness in us is contained. Few people release that darkness by killing others and some people by poisoning other people's lives or ears or hearts." Her gaze had settled at some part of the barn and she wasn't looking anywhere. Others understood what she meant by her words.

She nodded as Atul picked it up as his cue to continue.

"Even though Anjali comes out as cold and calculative, she is actually quite fond of her sister and she will do anything to keep her safe. Even with only couple of years of difference, Riddhima will always be Anjali's baby sister. In events like these, the killer might amuse himself by playing sick games with the victims. In one of those games, Anjali would die protecting Riddhima. I know its clichd and you find this reasoning in almost all movies but you know the reason why it works in every movie?  Because it's true; it's as simple as that."

The group was quiet after listening to his theory. Everyone knew how the ending would go. Nikki voiced it.

"So Armaan and Riddhima remain and escape the clutches of the killer."

"It's either that or Armaan might also die in the end. He will never let Riddhima die", Atul added.

Silence now filled the barn. They were not scared of deaths or killer or ghosts or darkness that was out there. They were more scared for others, their friends, their partners.

Happiness settled in his chest when he realized that he was the reason for this realization amongst his friends.

"Let's get some sleep before dawn breaks. We still have to get our car repaired or something and only then we can proceed further", Abhi ordered the group as he fussed around now sleeping Nikki. Everyone got comfortable wherever they were sitting and started falling asleep.

Atul saw that when he started his analysis, there were eight people in the barn. But now, there were four couples.

Everything was going to be fine as long as they had one another.


--- COMPLETE ---

Friday, 24 April 2020


He needs a good morning kiss everyday when I wake him up, and I don't need to demand, he gives mine anyways...

He needs a peck on the forehead when he pouts, and a soft kiss on his lips then, when my pager beeps disturbing our make out...

He needs a kiss on his cheek right before he enters the OR, wishing him luck...

He needs a soft caress on his cheek when he comes home late and complains of being tired...

He needs to hide his face in my neck and just breathe, when he's already there at the hospital, and I go in late and meet him...


Part 25& 26 : Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

It was now the summer holidays; the gang had decided to spend most of their time just chilling out and soaking up the sun. The girls got together and spent almost every other day at each other's house just getting up to mischief, learning some new recipes from their mum's and just finding time to gossip, or watch a movie. For the very first time they had actually spent more time alone without the guys; they had suddenly just felt like having quality girl time and forgotten about being with the guys. Riddhima and Muskaan didn't talk much about Rahul and Armaan that much when they were with the girls and unlike the other holidays and half terms where they would spend every moment as a gang this holiday was different, it was a change, the girls would be together and the guys would hang out together.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

part 77 : Haatho Ki Lakeeron mein

“Matlab, koi parcel nhi lena tha, hame bas yaha aana tha” Armaan asked.

“Bilkul” Ananya said.

Armaan and Rahul were amused and happy by the news that their in-laws will be staying in Delhi only. Everyone was happy that their home was set withing few days and that too with the help of members of Mallik Mansion.

Armaan look at Riddhima whose happiness was visible from her face, expression and acts also. She was setting the table along with Muskaan and Nikki was also helping them. Elders were sitting in drawing room discussion something which was still unknown to our love birds.

“Mom, table set ho gaya hai, dinner k liye bulau sabko?” Muskaan asked.



She entered the house at around 11 in d night and turned 2 see d most pleasing sight in front of her eyes….her armaan sitting in black vest and army Capri in front of d television having a big bowl of choco-vanilla  luv ice cream in his hand and eating it in d laziest way he cud…..

"hey!...u luk tired"

"we girls don't lyk 2 b called tired…." She said plainly…

"even after performing 2 surgeries back 2 back?"

"Yes" she again said flatly and went 2 d kitchen 2 grab a glass of water….

"ooohhh! My basket luks sooo fresh even at 11 in d night…luks like u've been sleeping d whole day in sanjeevani…and now ur so fresh!"..he 2 came in d kitchen 2 keep his empty bowl in d sink and  tried 2 b funny….

Part 24 : Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

The Easter holidays had come and gone in a jiffy and before they knew it the gang was back in school and sitting behind those hard wooden desks in the humid exam hall racking their brains for the answers on the question papers. They had spent the entire two weeks of Easter revising for these final exams; some were as usual not really bothered and thought they would just take it as it comes and others were biting their nails through nervousness wondering if they will pass.

The gang had taken their ICT exam first which they found; for some strange reason; very easy. Armaan and Riddhima had sat their two hour maths paper which just seemed ongoing for Armaan and slightly difficult for Riddhima. They were now sitting in the hall half way through their English Literature exam; both sitting distant from each other, their pens working away on their question papers. Every ten minutes Armaan would look up at the clock, then at the invigilator then back at his paper. When the examiner had called out that there was only five minutes left Armaan scribbled his last few sentences while Riddhima scanned through her paper for the second time making sure she had no spelling mistakes and that she had answered all the questions.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Part 22 & 23 : Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

Riddhima sat at the breakfast table ready to go to school; she wore her simple black jeans and a short black jacket over a purple top. Her usual jewellery hung from her wrist and neck and a tiny pair of diamond studs in her ears. She took a final sip of her tea before looking over at the time on the microwave for the zillionth time and tapped her feet on the floor impatiently.

Ridz: Aaj main usse nahi chorungi – to herself angrily

She took one more look at the clock then banged her mug down on the table; at the same time the doorbell rung; she picked up her bag frowning.

Padma: Lo...agaya tumhara taxi... – laughing she walked out of the kitchen to open the door

Riddhima followed her out fuming; Padma opened the door and there stood Armaan with a bright smile.

Armaan: Good Morn... – brightly

os : good-bye, a see-you-later and a train ride...

"Have you seen these people who travel all over the world looking for an adventure, searching for new things and learning about new cultures? They seem so accomplished, worldly wise and ironically they would not have toured their own country. It's kind of taken for granted that something that is nearby is always easily attainable. I paused for a couple of minutes. Actually, I came here today to take a train to this place which is an hour ride from here. The place is rich in its cultural history, fine arts and what not so we thought we can check it out; kind of a field trip you know."

Yes, we. She and I. Us.

I still had an hour to board the train and I was already in the right platform. All I had to do now was to wait; for the train and for her. I had no problem in waiting as it gave me a lot of time to think and ponder, observe people around me and simply talk without any inhibitions. It's really hard to be that way with another human being, given the fear of judgmental attitude that all of us seem to possess. I cannot callously speak about something and expect people to accept it as my point of view. Even though ideally that's how it should be, but its not how it is. Between what we are and who we should be, comes our society. I am really glad that I have two such personalities in my life. I can ramble on my thoughts, literally think out aloud and get away with it. I am not scared of being mocked up on for my line of thought nor am I scared of the fact that after I finish my rambling, my friends would think of me otherwise. It's a nice secured feeling.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

part 76 : Haatho Ki Lakeeron mein

The first morning of married life for Riddhima and Muskaan starts quite exciting. Riddhima get up early in morning as new place and Armaan’s room…..oops their room felt new thus sleep was far away from her eyes for so long. She rubbed her eyes and tried to get up when felt the weight over her waist. She become shocked on sudden realization then turn to see Armaan.

“Oh! Riddhima, try to accept these new changes, ur marital status have been changed, u r married now” she whisper to herself and smile.


She hated her dad. What if armaan was the best neurosurgeon around? He did not have the right to send her husband away for days only for the sake of saving people's lives. What about her life? How could she stay away from him for so long? It had already been forty nine hours and thirty four minutes, and even now there were hours left for his flight to land. It would be morning by the time he reaches home. Huh.


She banged the dishes angrily after washing them, wiped her hands dry and made her way to the bedroom after switching off the lights...

She removed all the pieces of clothing from her body, and slipped into his black shirt. She stood in front of the mirror, buttoning up the shirt, leaving of course, the first three buttons open, just like him. She looked sexy, she appreciated herself mentally. His shirt fit her like a dress...she folded the sleeves a little, so it didn't hang off her wrists. And, brought the neckline of the shirt closer to her nose, smelling his cologne, and missing him even more... she moved towards his side of the bed and rested against the back post. She took her phone, and kissed her wallpaper before dialing his number. Switched off, he's still in the flight, she reminded herself. Putting her phone to silent, she slipped under the covers, hugged his pillow and closed her eyes.

Part 20 & 21 : Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

part 20

The whole month passed with the gang busy in their revision; they usually did group revision sessions where they would all go to the library, sit in their corner, covering the tables with papers, books and notes. Occasionally they would get the odd whisper to keep their voices down as they read out loud trying to shout over each other.

Armaan and Riddhima sat next to each other studying a maths paper together; every now and then Armaan would purposely put his hand on the book so that he could touch Riddhima's hand; and she would blush and slap his hand away. Suddenly they were all disturbed by an outburst by Nikita.

Niki: Aaarrrgghh! I can't do this…

They all looked up from their books to her with curious looks.

Ridz: What's wrong?

Monday, 20 April 2020

AR OS : You Own My Heart

Riddhima looked at the window for the zillionth time,thinking,'why isn't he here?' ,then blushed.
She was the happiest person on earth today...Wasn't she,she got back her Armaan,who,infact,just a few 15-20 mins back,had kissed her crazily in front of everybody..That is,she and he were too oblivious to see their surroundings or whoever was watching them.

Her heart leapt at the thought of his arms around her  and she smiled wide. The moonlight slowly descended on her face,the wind played with her hair and she inhaled the beauty of the night around her..Everything seemed so..Romantic.She had almost left Mumbai.If Anjali hadn't told her that Armaan was wanting her,he wanted her to come back,he wanted to stop her but he couldn't find her,she wouldn't have come back to him..singing "Asmaani" as she watched his tears flowing down his cheeks,the unexplainable expression on his face after she'd wiped his tears and proposed him,going down on her knees,his uncontrable happiness as he hugged her tight,the feeling of his lips on hers..Everything just fit into place.As if,everything was made to be so.

Part 19 : Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

It was the last day of the Christmas holidays, which had gone by really fast, and the gang had gathered in the park all dressed up with coats, hats, gloves scarves…you name it. It was freezing! It had snowed heavily the night before and there was at least five inches of snow covering their local area. The boys planned to go to the park to play in the snow; it was nine am and the park was completely empty when the girls walked through the park gates blowing on their gloves to keep themselves warm.

Ridz: I c-can't believe I got out of my b-bed so early…on the l-last day of the holidaysss…just to come and r-run around in the park…!

Niki: I know…what was I thinking…its free-eezing! These boys are crazzy!

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Part 18 : Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

It was now the Christmas holidays and time for the gang to relax after a very long and tiring school term. They had decided that they were going to make the most of their holidays relaxing and spending time together promising not to ruin it by looking at books or school work. Riddhima had found this a little difficult, she still found time to read a book and design outfits and do some coursework but this didn't stop her from spending time with her favourite person…Armaan. This wasn't very hard as Shashank and Padma had now become very fond of Armaan and liked his company as he spent most of his time at the Gupta house. The gang had made plans to meet up at least for an hour each day, either at the mall or at someone's house; today Riddhima had invited them around to her house in the afternoon because she didn't feel like going out into the cold.

Riddhima was upstairs in her room sitting in her comfy armchair reading a book when someone opened the door. She hadn't noticed Armaan walk in, he looked at her curled up on the armchair and smiled, and he walked around her and hugged her from the back.

OS : It's because I have been loved that I have become stronger...

Why am I leaving you this note? I mean I will be meeting you in few hours before you arrive for your shift. Here, let me tell you the reason. A few minutes ago I was walking in the corridor reading a report when I was hit by an aroma that I have solely associated with you. You know I love you, a lot, but it takes my breath away when your essence meddles with the normalcy of my everyday life.

It's not as if this is an everyday occurrence, but when it does, it's an experience that many people can only dream of. There is a shift in the air, heaviness in the ambiance and then, there is this warmth that starts in my palms and starts spreading all over me and in the process of doing so, it defines me, our memories, my insecurity and my current state of loneliness. There is a melancholy in the way that you are not here when I actually feel your residual presence and something very romantic in the fact that I am actually writing it down. And this is when I stop writing my tangled state of mind and write something what my clear heart is dictating.