Thursday, May 26, 2011

SR FF continued from Part 80

The day break was about to happen when Riddhima woke up. Her body felt a little stiff and her mind still a little tired. As her eyes fell on the person on the opposite couch everything disappeared into thin air as if it never existed. Calmness descended on her and a slight smile formed on her lips.

Sid was sleeping peacefully. Riddhima could not help but notice how he still slept with his mouth slightly open. As if something took her entire being she moved towards him and her hand reached out wanting to caress his hair. 'He gets startled very easily' and a slight smirk formed on her face as she withdrew her hand.

She headed towards her bedroom. While grabbing her clothes from the cupboard, her eyes fell on the photo that lay on the side table and an idea struck her mind.

'That's a good idea ………. Before he gets up I will quickly make some tea just the way I used to and some a hearty breakfast, I am sure he will like it.' She took a quick shower and got ready. She came back to the living room to check if Sid was still sleeping or not. But the room was empty.

She searched the kitchen first and then went to the balcony 'Yaha pe bhi nahi hai ...uski car ... Uski car !!! Realization dawned. She withdrew to the living room feeling completely drained all of a sudden. She slumped onto the couch. 'Woh chala gaya bina kuch kahe, bina mile. Kyu tum hamesha aisa karte ho Sid. Kya kabhi cheesey kabhi sahi nahi ho sakti hamare bheech?'
She sat there nursing her hurt heart when her eyes fell on a piece of paper laying on the table.

She picked it up.

'I am sorry …….. tumhe pata ke nahi jaa raha hoon ……..Tum shayaad sow rahi thi aur main tumhe disturb nahi karna chahata tha.
Apna khayaal rakhana. Tetanus ka injection le lena. Main Juhi ko pata doonga woh kisi ko bhej degi. Aur aaj hospital mat jana if the pain is too much. Take rest.

Take care


As Sid went about his routine preparing to leave for Panchgani his thoughts wandered. His mind was not at rest. Time and again the look in Riddhima's eyes troubled him. He had taken the memory of a happy Riddhima back with him who had finally found the person she loved the most in this world. It till date hurt him that the person was not him. That he was just her responsibility. But he never wanted her to suffer the loneliness that he had endured for the last 10 years. He had moved on. He no more craved to have her by his side like he used to. Back then his world revolved round her and now it his family, friends and work that were his priorities.

For Riddhima it was always armaan. But he was not there with her anymore. He understood the pain a lonely heart goes through. Back then he had tried to heal that lonely heart but now destiny had showed him his path for the future and so had it for Riddhima.

He acknowledged that their paths did not meet anywhere. This time he could not help her. He needed to go down the road planned by destiny for him. He felt helpless that he could not do anything. Anything to make life easier for Riddhima. She was very lonely and more than anything she needed a friend.

His thoughts kept dwelling on this while he mechanically ran through his to do list. Juhi!!!

Riddhima needed a friend whom she could be there for her and Juhi was one whom she seemed to trust. He saw the ray of hope for Riddhima. He needed to talk to Juhi. He had to go Sanjeevani


Sanjeevani was having an infrequent visitor. He was here for a specific purpose - to meet Riddhima. He had been trying to get in touch with Riddhima but all his attempts had gone vain.

He had tried calling her but there was no reply. She was not there at either of the homes. To add to his agony when he reached the hospital the last possible place he could find her, he was told that she had called in sick.

His whole world had come crumbling down. She was called in sick which would mean she should at home but that was not the case. The thought unnerved him that she was unwell at some unknown place, uncared for.  Not knowing where to find was killing him. His last ray of hope was the only person Riddhima was now close to – Juhi.

He rushed towards her office.


Sid waited in Juhi's office. She had been a good friend to him and today he was here to meet her for a reason. Till date he had not told her about Riddhima and his relation. Not because he wanted to hide the truth. But because their relationship though it existed it was just a facade for the world, for him to believe that it existed. Riddhima was always armaan's so what was the point of disclosing this fictional relationship. It was just a truth only in the name of law and he did not know whether Juhi knew about this truth. He felt if disclosed may have caused more harm than good. Yet he felt guilty of hiding this fact from Juhi. He needed to tell her not because he wanted support for himself but for Riddhima. He wanted her help but first he needed to make her understand why he was seeking it. If he sought it without her complete knowledge it would definitively cause more harm than good.

Juhi sensed the tension that Sid experienced. What must have happened last night between the two of them? Was this stress this tension due to that? She quietly entered and greeted him.

He was due to leave for Panchgani probably but he was here to meet her.  He was no more only Dr. Siddhant Modi, an acclaimed doctor, a colleague, a friend, beautiful human-being. He was Sid. The relationship still felt so same yet so different. He was her best friend's ex-husband who had a very dark past thanks to the misdeeds of her best friend. Somewhere she felt so ashamed and somewhere she felt so proud. She could not place a finger on the various emotions she was feeling seeing the man sitting in front of her. She should be feeling disappointed for not being trusted and told about the truth of his relationship with Riddhima when she had questioned him. Yet she understood the reason for hiding the truth. A wary smile creped on her face not being to understand this man though somehow now she could understand the story his eyes told; the story of the infinite pain he endured over the last ten years. Seeing him such made her angry. Angry with herself for not understand why he kept his distance with Riddhima and she always brought her up. Fought for her with him. Angry because she could not understand why Riddhima was subjecting both of them to so much pain. Angry because inspite of all the pain that Riddhima gave him why did he rushed to her help last night. Angry because both of them endured this pain yet did not trust her with it. All the hurt she felt seemed belittled in front of the pain that these two had suffered.

Juhi: Kaise ho?

Sid: Hmmm …… nodded to indicate he was just about ok.
Juhi: Raat bhar sowey nahi ho lagta hai……

Sid: Hmmm ……

Juhi: Saari raat Riddhima ke ghar pe hi the………..

Sid: Hmmm ……

Juhi: Riddhima…….. theek hai?

Sid: hmmm ……. actually mujhe tumse kuch baatana tha……….

Juhi: Woh hospital nahi aa rahi hai ……..

Sid: Nahi ……… Huhh …….. hmmm ………. Maine usse kaha tha ki who rest kare aur …………

Juhi: Tetanus ka injection………. Hmmm maloom hai …….

Sid: Tumhari usse baat hui ……….

Juhi: Hmmm

Sid: Ok………

Juhi: Kya hua …….. utni hi baat karni thi uske baare mein ……….

Sid: Nahi ……..

Juhi: Kuch hua kya ………? You look disturbed………..
Sid: hmmm ………..

Juhi: Bolo …… can talk to me ……… that is if you …………

Sid: Juhi……. Jitna main jaanta hoon ……..tum Riddhima ke sabse jyaada kareeb ho …………. par mujhe pata nahi tum uske baare mein kitna jaanti hoo ……….

Juhi: Jo mere kareeb hote hai woh mujhese kuch nahi chupate ………… waise mujhe lagta tha ki hum bhi kaafi kareeb aa chuke hai ………..

Sid: hmmm……… par maine tumse ek baat chupayi hai ……….. maine jaan bhooj ke tumhe yeh baat nahi batayi kyu ki beeti baato ka asar main kisiki zindagi pe asar nahi padne dena chahata tha………

Juhi: I can understand ……….

Sid: Tum Riddhima ki dost ho ………..

Juhi: Main tumhari bhi dost hoon ……..

Sid: Aur isliye mujhe sab se pehle tumhara khayaal aya ……… Har kisika ek ateet hota hai ……. Aur mere ateet ke panno mein ek naam uska hai ……..

Juhi: Riddhima !!!

Sid: Jis ladki ko mujhse shaadi karni padi thi woh Riddhima thi !!!

Juhi: Jaanti hoon!!!

Sid: Tumhe kaise maloom ……….. ?

Juhi: Tum dono ne mujhese yeh baat chupayi lekin kal Riddhima ke liye tumhari fikar dekh ke mujhe bata chala ki tum aur koi nahi Sid hi ho …………

Sid: Main yeh tumhe isliye nahi batana chahata tha kyu ki ……… mujhe maloom nahi tha tum yeh baat jaanti thi ya nahi ……….. aur agar nahi jaanti thi toh kyu …………

Juhi: Phir aaj kyu bata rahe ho ………..

Sid: Ab tak lag raha tha ki sab kuch theek hai lekin ……… kal jab Riddhima se mila toh jaana ki woh aaj kitna akeli hai ……… usse ek dost ki zaroorat hai …….. aur isliye main aaj tumhare pass aya hoon ……….. as a friend I want to ask you to do me a favor……… please Riddhima ka khayaal rakhna ………

Juhi: Aur tum …….?

Sid: Uski manzil hamesha koi aur tha …….. aur iss baar main usse uski manzil tak nahi pahoocha sakta ……… par shaayaad tum usse help kar sakti ho ……….

Juhi: You mean armaan ………..

Sid: hmmm ………

Juhi: You seriously think so …….

From the conversation she realized that Sid still did not know the whole truth. Maybe Riddhima had a reason for not disclosing the whole truth. She quietly heard him out as she felt it was something that Sid and Riddhima had to sort out and not her.

Sid: Unn dono ke bheech jo kuch bhi hua ho ………. Lekin aaj bhi woh armaan ki kami mehsoos karti hai ………….. woh kuch nahi bolegi ……….. par usse samaj ne ki zaroorat hai …..usse sahare ki zaroorat hai ……..ek dost ki zaroorat hai ………

Juhi felt her heart fill up with admiration and affection for Sid. Riddhima had done all to destroy this man yet he was here to ask her for a favor for Riddhima. He wanted to make sure that Riddhima was taken care of, she was never alone while facing the trials and tribulations of life. He could have done this himself but understanding the probabilities of it being misunderstood, he was requesting her to do it. He did not want anything to affect Riddhima's repute and life. He never could think or say ill about Riddhima. What Riddhima said was true 'Woh kabhi kuch galat nahi kar sakta'  

Sid: Kya tum mere liye itna kar sakti ho?

Juhi nodded giving her affirmation.

Sid: Thank you………

Juhi: Anytime…….. waise phir se usse miloge nahi ………..

Sid: pata nahi ………chalta hoon …….. bye ……

Juhi watched Sid walk away down the corridor till he was out of sight.

Before Juhi could settle down to do her work, she had another visitor with concern plastered all over his face. 

Part 81 

All her enthusiasm washed away in a matter of a second when she realized that Sid had left. She did not feel like doing anything. For a long time she sat in the living room staring into blank air. The day was moving painfully slow for Riddhima. 

Her escapist tendency got better of her and she finally charged her phone and informed Juhi that she was taking her day off.

Just to keep her occupied, she decided to set straight her house. Her knee was hurting bad but she kept working her way from the living room to the kitchen finally reaching her bedroom. She looked around the room. It hardly needed any work and there was throbbing pain in her knee. The excess work had done the needful to aggravate it. As if purposefully wanting to aggravate it she pulled out her entire wardrobe and dumped it on her bed and started re-arranging it. She was going to start rearranging it when her eyes feel on the side table and she noticed the photo frame missing. Panic struck her and she frantically started searching for it.

She worked through the various piles of clothes she had brought out until she found the most precious thing to her amongst all her belonging.

She held it in her hand and kept looking at it as tears of joy steamed down her cheek.

Padma: Tum kya kar rahi hoo

Riddhima: kuch nahi mumma aise hi cupboard arrange kar rahi hoon  Kuch purane  kapde  hai woh nikal  ne ki soch rahi hoon

Padma:  Tum se ek baaj poochu

Riddhima:  hmmm

Padma:  Tumhara aur armaan ka kitne dino tak aise chalne wala hai 

Riddhima:  Pata nahi  Mumma usse samaj na  chahiye  Papa abhi abhi surgery se recover ho rahe hai  aur meri yaha jyaada  zaroorat hai  aur Mujhe uske saath ki zaroorat hai lekin woh hai ki ....

Padma:  lekin  uska  kehna bhi galat nahi hai ..... Woh bhi waha  akela  hoga

Riddhima:  Toh kya sab  kuch chod ke uske saath chali  jaon  main ? 

Riddhima:  Main ek mahine  ke liye gayi thi maa  jab di  yaha thi  par ab  aap ke pass  kaun  hai  Kaun  dekh bhal karega aap ki  aur  billy  uncle  bhi toh hai  unhe  Kaun dekhega 

Padma:  Tumhari baat bhi saahi  hai lekin ..... Theek jaisa tum theek samjho .....

Riddhima: hmmm

Padma:  Main sham ke Khana  dekhti hoon

Riddhima:  hmmm

She kept arranging the clothes.  One by one giving into the demands of everyone and everything had taken the toll on her and she had started retaliating This lead to arguments and now Slowly and steadily she had grown tired of all this  She desperately needed the support  of a friend  Just then the phone rang

Riddhima:  Dr  Riddhima

Caller :  Dr Riddhima  all the arrangements are done for tomorrows conference .  If you would like I can come down to your place to run you through them

Riddhima:  Alright but only if it not too much of a trouble

Riddhima found she had difficulty trusting anyone quickly but somehow she had taken an immediate liking to Juhi

Juhi: Oh my god looks like you have brought out your whole cupboard

Riddhima: just some spring cleaning anyways you wanted to run me through some things for tomorrow

That evening after discussing work Riddhima found herself opening up to Juhi for the first time.

Juhi: You seem to have a hectic vacation

Riddhima: hmmm

Juhi: If you don't mind me asking you something Dr Riddhima

Riddhima: Riddhima ..... You can call me just Riddhima You are no more on duty Dr Juhi

Juhi: Well then its just Juhi ..... My friends just call me Juhi .....flashing her vibrant smile

Riddhima: Friends?

Juhi: That is if you wish to .....waise I know you are very .....

Riddhima: Inapprocable !!!

Juhi: Reserved would be the right word .... Or if I take take the liberty .....

Riddhima: hmmmm

Juhi: scared to let anyone close

Riddhima: Nothing of that sort .....

Juhi: Hope I am wrong ..... Anyways so friends

Hmmm affirmed Riddhima as a faint smile flashed across her face as she worked her way through the pile of old clothes and files on her bed.

Juhi: you seemed have smiled after a long time par tum haste hua bahoot achi lagti ho

Riddhima absentmindedly nodded as she jerked a kameez to straighten out the creases. Something flew off from there but she not realise. She continued with her work of folding it as Juhi continued to chatter.

Juhi: didn't anyone ever say that to you?

Riddhima suddenly looked up at Juhi bewildered. Yes someone did say that to her.

She quickly looked away not wanting to confront those memories after so many years. She had buried them deep in the recesses of her heart when she walked into the new relationship with her current husband.

She shook her head and continued with her work. They chatted while both got down to straightening out the mess.

She felt relieved after talking to Juhi. But later that night when Riddhima returned to her room after dinner and dodging another round of questions the depressed feeling returned. As she stood in front of the mirror trying to understand her life, the corner of her eye caught something that lay on the floor. As she picked it up a sense of serenity enveloped her and a small smile played on lips. Unable to understand the sudden turn of emotions in her she looked back at the mirror. ‘Friends!!! Tum haste huye bahoot achi lagti hoon’. She looked down at that piece of paper and turned it over and a tear escaped her eye.

7 years back while rearranging the cupboard friendship compassion and the support to fight the vagaries of life had found its way back into her life.

She held onto the photo frame and smiled back at it. Whenever hope was dwindling these two were always there.  

Sid had indeed left in the morning but his note proved he was still concerned. Hope of meeting him again started building up. She felt he would definitely come back that evening to check up on her and this time it would be different not like last night. A sly smile crept up on her face.  She quickly arranged the mess she had purposely created to keep herself occupied and set down to do something that she really wanted to do. She would not let him eat pre-made food. She would cook for him something anything even thought she did not know what he liked But she knew he would still like it cause they always appreciated each other’s efforts regardless their likes or dislikes. She worked her way trying to whip up something interesting completing forgetting the throbbing pain in her knee.

Part 82

The minute he entered Juhi’s office she knew there was something that was bothering him terribly. He generally was a very calm composed person but today he seemed so unnerved.   

Juhi: Dr Gupta aap yaha?

Shashank:  Dr Juhi …….. Riddhima kaise hai........... hua kya hai usse......... kaha hai woh?

Juhi’s worst fears were coming true. She required to know what Shashank was referring to .....‘As in?’

 Shashank: As in!!! ………… The receptionist told me she has called in sick.

Juhi: Nahi ........ actually kuch nahi ...... she has just hurt her knee yesterday and it’s a minor wound but her knee was hurting a little so we all thought it’s better she takes rest for today. Nothing else.

 Shashank: How did she hurt her knee......... kya hua tha?

Juhi: Nothing major Sir.......... lights chali gayi thi and she must have bumped into something don’t worry ....... it’s all fine.

 Shashank: But where is she? I have been trying her cell since last night but it was coming switched off. I also tried calling her land line but she is not answering it.

She was feeling overwhelmed seeing a father’s concern for his daughter. It troubled her more because she did not know whether he knew the whole truth.

Shashank: Main subah uske ghar bhi gaya tha par waha pe par tala laga hai aur woh hospital mein bhi nahi hai…….. hai kaha woh?

Juhi: Actually Sir woh ....actually .....

Shashank: Kya

Juhi: Woh mere ghar pe hai ........  

Shashank: aap ke ghar pe ......... woh waha kaise.........

Juhi: Woh kal mere saath ghar gayi thi ........ you see ............there was a power outage aur aap ko toh maloom hai Riddhima ko andhere se darr lagta hai isliye main usse mere ghar leke gayi ....

Shashank: ohhhh ok ........ theek hai ....... par woh apna phone kyu band rakah hai .......

Juhi: Actually Sir ... uske phone ki battery dead ho gayi thi aur she could not charge it last night aur shayaad subah bhool gayi hogi ...... nothing else .......... please Sir aap stress mat lijiye ........ all is well ........

Shashank: Nahi mujhe uski fikar ho rahi thi ......... it’s not like her to do something like this ......

Juhi: Ho jata hai Sir kabhi kabhi ................ Don’t worry .......

Riddhima was safe and sound and that was all he wanted. Juhi’s explanations had put Shashank’s worry partially to rest. The anxiety of not knowing about Riddhima’s well being had taken a toll on him and he was feeling it. He needed to take rest and so he decided to go home but before that he needed to talk to Riddhima once. He wondered if Riddhima would have charged her phone hence he enquired for Juhi’s landline number. The receptionist placed the register in front of Shashank for his reference.

Shashank: Juhi ....Juhi ....... here it is ...........

He dialled the number He stood at the reception waiting for Riddhima to answer the phone. This place was always full of hustle bustle. Patients, relatives, doctors, nurses all there with their own set of agenda’s own set of problems and issues. He looked on when he thought he saw someone who seemed very familiar to him. He looked closely. Age had caught up with him and his eye sight seemed to fail him at times. He wondered who he felt he saw was exactly the same person. ‘Was it him? After so many years? No he would not come here ever.’ He dismissed the thought and returned his attention to the call. It has disconnected after ringing. He dialled again and started browsing through the register as he waited for Riddhima to answer the call this time.

He hit upon Riddhima’s name listed ‘Dr. Riddhima Gupta’ Post her marriage to Siddhant she had changed it to Dr. Riddhima Modi but he could never understand till date what stopped her from taking on armaan’s family name. What he found stranger was a small paper stuck on the address section to indicate a new address. He could not make sense of it all. It had to be an error. Someone must have pasted the new address against Riddhima’s name by mistake. He turned to reception and asked her the reason for the change.

Shashank: Who has updated this list..........

Receptionist: I did it Sir some weeks back. Why what happened?

Shashank: Dr. Riddhima ka address galat likha gaya hai ...........

Receptionist: Nahi Sir....... recently unhone kudh yeh address update karvaya........

Shashank: Kya ........ what rubbish?

Receptionist now slightly offended at Shashank’s irritation but kept her calm knowing whom she was talking to. ‘Nahi Sir, unhone kudh likhvaya tha aur check bhi kiya tha’

Shashank’s started understanding what happened exactly ‘woh kal raat ko hamare ya armaan ke ghar pe nahi thi hospital mein bhi nahi thi aur agar Riddhima Juhi ke ghar pe hai toh woh phone kyu nahi utha rahi hai ...... ? Yane .........

Shashank’s whole world seemed to come crashing down that very moment. He knew things were not exactly fine between armaan and her but after so many years this decision coming from her troubled him. He could not understand the reason behind this decision. What hurt him more that she did find it necessary to tell him about these developments herself.

He looked around bewildered as if trying to think clearly through the rage that was building in him. Once again he saw the familiar looking person standing near the lift talking with another doctor. He was referring to a file every now and then and looked as if he was discussing a case listed in the file. Shashank curiosity was building was that person really who he thought he was. If yes, then ......... He stopped that thought there itself. He did not want it to happen that way. That man had suffered enough due to his daughter and he was not the most appropriate person for his daughter ever. If he would have been then his daughter’s life would have been a different story. But whatever was the case Shashank blamed himself for both their lives - Riddhima’s and this man. ‘Par kya woh .......?’

He quickly sought the receptionist attention ...... ‘Who is that person there near the lift ....... ?

Receptionist: Which one Sir?

Shashank: The one in the blue suit?

Receptionist ignorant of the relation that Shashank and that person shared replied in a matter of fact manner ‘Dr. Siddhant Modi’

Shashank: Siddhant!!!

Shashank’s eyes were now burning with rage. ‘Why is he here?’ He thought he was thinking back to himself but unconscientiously had blurted out the question aloud.

Receptionist not understanding that it was just a self talk that Shashank was doing yet again answered plainly. ‘He is working here for sometime’

Shashank was a little stunned. Sid worked for Sanjeevani now and Riddhima did not tell him. Infact no one informed him about this.

Shashank: Since when?

Receptionist: Just two surgeries Sir ........ He was here for the special Purva Shah’s surgery and later he did Mr. Singh’s surgery free of cost as his family could not arrange the finance and he got Purva Shah’s father to bear the remaining cost ........ A very nice man he is ........

Riddhima knew about Sid’s presence from the beginning and she purposefully the truth from him. Without her approval Sid could not have conducted the surgery or had the charges waived. Even if he had gotten them done by influence she would have definitely informed about it.

Shashank always believed Sid was a nice human being but his presence was bothering him. Was he the reason for Riddhima's decision? He did not want that to be the case. He did not want further complications in his daughter's life. He felt angry at the sudden turn of events and more so cause he did not whom to blame.

He was visibly shaken by all this which prompted the receptionist to enquire about it.

Receptionist: Sir Aap theek toh hain na?

Shashank just nodded and walked away from there.

Sid did not realise how much agony his presence had caused. He had just gone to check on his patient one last time before leaving for Panchgani and hence got spotted by Shashank.

Riddhima completed preparing the dinner. She ran a check if all was proper and decided to take a shower and get ready. It was nearing five in the evening. She was expecting Sid to be there anytime so she quickly got ready and sat down to wait for him.

Time was again passing very slowly. Vivid memories of their past were flooding her mind - happy and sad.  Tired of sitting in the living room she shifted to the balcony to wait for Sid. She would know the moment he would come there if she sat there. Her eyes fixed on the road scanning every car passing by with the hope that next car would be Sid's.

It was almost two hours now that she had been sitting there. It had grown dark and her hope was dwindling rapidly. Knowing Sid well it looked highly improbable that he would come so late.

Reluctantly she moved in to settle down in the living room. She picked up a magazine to keep her mind occupied but could not concentrate.

Light winter breeze was blowing outside. She got up to shut the door to the balcony when she heard a car drive into the building. Her mind told her she was expecting too much but her heart  requested her to check one last time; may be it can be him.

She peeked out only to find a friendly neighbor wave out to his child who was waiting for his father to get back home. Her mind yet again reprimanded that now there was no hope.

She reluctantly walked back into her living room. Her life felt so empty just like the living room which wanted someone to by to fill it with his presence. That evening brought back the loneliness she experienced always. But it never hurt as much it was hurting her today.

She picked up the magazine to read but just kept staring blankly at it. Everything was a blur just like her life was. Only when a few drops spilled onto her hand did she realize that she had been crying. But somehow it felt that it was not her eyes that were mourning but it was her heart.

Why did she hope against hope that he come. She sat there reasoning. She just let the tears flow down hoping to find some relief. Sadly it never came.

Juhi did not like what had happened. She did not like lying to Shashank but it was Riddhima who should be disclosing the truth to her father and not her. Riddhima needed to come clean on many issues with many people. This hide and seek game was not going to benefit anyone. She needed to talk to Riddhima but a head on confrontation would not help Riddhima would get defensive and it would serve no purpose She have to try another strategy to make her accept the truth. She finished her work and decided to pay an unexpected visit to Riddhima to take her by surprise. It always worked. Riddhima would get vulnerable and it was best to situation to get her talking. Juhi felt guilty of exploiting Riddhima's state of mind but it was necessary. It was necessary to get Riddhima talking and more importantly accepting the facts of her life and ultimately disclosing them to the concerned people.

Riddhima sat there dazed for a long time and had finally dozed off due the fatigue from her day's work and the overwhelming feelings she was experiencing.

She woke up only when the door bell sounded. She looked at the time. ‘Nau baj gaye Iss waqt kaun ho sakta hai? Sid!!!'

Hope again built up and she rushed to the door.

She said a small prayer and opened the door to see an unexpected visitor 'Tum?'

Part 83

Haan main!!!

Riddhima: Tum iss waqt yaha?

Juhi: Tumse milnne aa gayi ..... flashing her usual bright smile …………

Riddhima kept looking at her bewildered as she never expected Juhi to turn up that evening. Normally whenever Juhi or she made visits to each other’s homes they called in advance to check on each other’s plans.

‘ab hato samne se …….. kya darwaje pe khada rakhne ka irada hai’ said Juhi faking irritation at Riddhima’s behavior.

Sorry andhar aao na …… said Riddhima as she moved aside to let Juhi in

Juhi: Thank you

‘par tum yaha kaise’ Riddhima could not stop herself from asking. She sensed there seemed to be more to this visit than just checking on her.

Juhi: aare yaar pehli baar ayi hoon ...paani toh poocho .... phir KBC kelenge ……. Theek hai ……. Laughing at her own joke she plonked herself on the couch.

Riddhima: sorry main abhi layi ………..

Juhi: Nahi main hi leti hoon She quickly got up and walked into the kitchen to pour herself a glass of water. She noticed the food cooked and realized whom Riddhima was expecting. Everthing seemed so perfectly done. Riddhima had indeed taken a lot of effort to make this dinner. A very special effort for that very special person in her life for whom she was not ready to accept her feelings till date. Juhi was not going to let her get away this time.

'Mujhe actually kissi ne kaha hai ki tumhara khayaal rakhne ko’

Sid!!! Realization dawned upon Riddhima as to what must have happened but wanted to hear it once from Juhi. It would be the sweetest moment of her life to hear that Sid had asked Juhi to take care of her, about how he cared for her still so she deliberately asked ‘Kisne?’

Juhi understood Riddhima’s motive and purposely replied ‘Tumhare Papa’ as she walked back into the kitchen to see the look on Riddhima’s face. She was not surprised. Disappointment was way too evident on Riddhima’s face.

Riddhima: ‘Papa ……ohhh!!! …….yes…… ’

Juhi: Haan woh aaj aye the hospital tumhe dhoondte huye ……… poonch rahe the kaha hai unki ladli beti ………

Riddhima: Kya bataya tumne unhe? ………. Anxious to know if the truth was revealed

Juhi: Jo saach hai ……. Said in a matter of fact manner and waited to Riddhima’s reaction.

Kya!!!  Flabbergasted knowing what her father must have felt knowing the truth……. Kya ……...kaha tumne unse…….. Juhi!!!  Can you please tell me?

Juhi: Ki Tumhe choot lagi hai aur tum ne day off liya hai  …………. Juhi  was enjoying this conversation with Riddhima. She hated herself for it but she did enjoy seeing the panic on Riddhima’s face. Riddhima needed to understand the panic the stress that her father had gone through not knowing about her whereabouts And the panic she felt at the moment was nothing compared to Shashank may have felt in the morning or for that matter Juhi herself may have felt when she was confronted by Shashank on Riddhima’s whereabouts.

Riddhima: Aur?

Juhi: Aur kya …….. aur kuch jyada nahi ………

Juhi went on to narrate the conversation that Shashank and she had about Riddhima that morning and Riddhima listened spell bound. She felt ashamed of putting Juhi in a fix and was thankful for Juhi’s quick thinking. She had saved the day for her

Riddhima: Thank you Juhi thank you soo much ………..

Juhi: Thank you ……… is that all you are going to say to me ………. I hate myself for lying to your father ……. You have no idea how upset he was when did not know where you were what must have happened to you ……… Do you realize the amount of anxiety you must have caused Dr Shashank this morning …….…… Don’t you think it’s high time you tell your parents everything …….. I seriously think tumhe unhe sab kuch pata dena chahiye

Riddhima: Juhi main unhe tension nahi dena chahati

Juhi: Lekin kab tak aur agar unhe bahar se pata chala toh kitna dukh hoga yeh socha hai kabhi

Riddhima: Maloom hai …….
Juhi: Toh?

Riddhima: Pata diya toh .....actually no …….. you are right pata dena chahiye mujhe ....wohi theek rahega

Juhi: Good!!!  .... then you will go tomorrow morning and tell your parents the truth ………… if  you want I will come with you ………..for moral support only!!! ……… An embarrassed Riddhima quietly nodded in affirmation.

Juhi heaved a sign of relief seeing Riddhima agree to her proposition. ‘That was easy but the next may not be’

Juhi: Waise …… khane ka kya scene hai ……….. order kare?

Riddhima: Maine khana banaya hai if you would like ....nahi toh order bhi kar sakte hai

Juhi: oh my god tumne banaya aur main na khao .... I would love it

Juhi helped Riddhima set out the food and they settle down to eat. Riddhima was quietly eating when Juhi decided to start on her second mission.

Juhi: Itna khana kisliye banaya ....kisi ko expect kar rahi thi

Riddhima: Hmmm

Juhi: Kisko?

Riddhima: Huh  ....nahi Kisi ko nahi ....aise hi ....bore ho rahi thi isliye banaya to keep myself occupied ………. Feels good at times to cook …….. chalu kiya aur it just happened ....

Juhi: All complete with a sweet dish ....feel good ke liye nice ......

Riddhima: Hmmm  ....said Riddhima hurriedly getting to fetch herself something from the kitchen counter top just to avoid eye contact with Juhi. As she got up she flinched in pain.

Juhi: I am sure your knee must be also feeling good commented sarcastically

Riddhima: No it just hurts once in a while due to sudden movement .... hope you liked it ...

Juhi: Yes definitely ....but you know what Siddhant would have loved it more …….

Sid!!! ussi ke liye banaya tha lekin ..... Riddhima brushed her thoughts aside Nahi he will not like such stuff ....

Juhi: Why ....why do you say that ....he always appreciates when one does anything with so much love....

Riddhima: Huh ……. Unsure if she heard it right …… She looked at Juhi suspiciously trying to read her but failing miserably.

Juhi: I mean you have really taken a lot of effort here

Riddhima: Nahi ....he will not like it .... I know it ...

Juhi: Aisa kyu keh rahi hoo ....kuch hua kya kal?

Riddhima: Nahi kuch nahi

Juhi: Wapis jhagda hua kya?

Riddhima: Nahi baba

Juhi: Toh he said something ....?

Riddhima: Woh toh kuch nahi bolta ....

Juhi: Toh kya poori raat maun vrat leke baite the

Riddhima: Hmmm

Juhi: God you two na ....chalo woh chodo how about me giving you company tonight ...wapis aaj raat light chali gayi toh Siddhant nahi aane wala hai

Riddhima: Kyu

Juhi: Kyu ki woh aaj Panchgani chala gaya
Riddhima: Ohhh!!!

Juhi: Kyu you were expecting him?

Riddhima: Nahi .... main kyu usse expect karoongi …….. Juhi …… actually tum aaj mere saath yaha reh jao ....

Juhi: Wasn't that a wonderful idea a girls night out

Riddhima: Hmmm

They quickly started clearing up. They were almost done when Riddhima remembered the photo frame still sat on the side table next to her bed. She excused herself on the pretext of doing something in the bedroom and moved out. Juhi felt something fishy and quietly peeked in from the end of the passage leading towards the bedroom to see what Riddhima was up to. Riddhima picked up the photo frame. She traced Sid's figure affectionately for a moment and then slowly placed the photo frame in between her clothes in the cupboard.

Juhi was watching her in intently. The bruised smile on Riddhima’s faced confirmed her suspicion. That photograph was none other than Sid's and Riddhima had taken all the effort for Sid and not as a feel good to keep herself occupied.

Juhi by now had started putting things together Riddhima’s questions about Sid his life the people in his life and also her

She pitied Riddhima as she recollected the conversation they had in the cafeteria once Riddhima was suspecting something brewing between Sid and her and she was not able to handle the feelings it brought about 'No wonder she was so cold towards me ....she cannot still handle anyone near Sid Juhi also felt angry at Riddhima briefly for having such feelings After all she had put Sid through she not accepting Sid moving on with someone else angered her She felt Riddhima did not have any rights to do so especially if she could not accept her own feelings

And then a wicked thought crossed her mind

Riddhima and Juhi settled into Riddhima's bedroom. Riddhima was arranging something in her cupboard when Juhi started work on her plan.

Juhi: Ab jab tum Siddhant se mili ho ....

Riddhima immediately became alert but decided to go with the flow of the conversation: hmmm

Juhi: kaisa lagta hai woh tumhe

Riddhima irritated with the question replied 'As in' She could not understand why Juhi was so interested in Sid

Juhi: As in how is he as a human being?

Riddhima: I think I already told you that he is a very nice person

Juhi: Haan ....but you know ....

Ifs and buts about Sid always bothered Riddhima Today was no different

Riddhima: But what ? visibly agitated

Juhi: As in know he is divorced and .....he is so different .... But yet ...

Riddhima: even I am divorced ....

Juhi: exactly ....I know the reason for your divorce but Siddhant
Riddhima: I think he has been open about it ... His wife did not want to ne married to him he has told you ....

Juhi: Exactly ....

Riddhima: what exactly ....what are you trying to get at

Juhi: See ....from what we know of him he is such a sweet heart and yet his wife could not accept him ....

Riddhima: She was a fool of the first order plus uski bhi koi majboori hogi ....usme Siddhant ki kya galati hai ....Riddhima had cursed herself many times for not making it work but that evening confessing it to Juhi it was breaking her even more

While Juhi was happy to see Riddhima accept her mistake partly ...She did not understand the helplessness for having to part ways but she let it go. Understanding that was not her agenda

Juhi: Yes he did and somewhere I feel he is still not over it ....and that is why he has not re married

Riddhima was even more hurt hearing this. The guilt had killed her slow death since she got to know more about Sid and now she felt as if someone had jabbed a dagger into her heart. She winced at the thought of the loneliness Sid had subjected himself to. It was nothing compare to what she had experienced.

Juhi: I wonder what kind of life he has lead ...ten years and now after ten years ....

Riddhima: why are you bothered about his last ten years and what do you mean by now

Juhi: you know how cold and agonized he was when he first came

Riddhima: that was maybe because he is here for someone's eventuality and maybe because he never wanted to come here

Juhi: as in he did not want to come to help his friend

Riddhima: i meant he did not want to come to a place where his bad memories are

Juhi: How do you know?

Riddhima: I am assuming ....said while gritting her teeth She was hating Juhi doubting Sid like this

Juhi: Ohh ok  ...ya but you know how we both met and things have gone very fast know I am surprised how he has evolved we have evolved?

Riddhima: what do you mean? By now Riddhima who was tidings the cupboard trying to avoid eye contact with Juhi went and stood at her next favourite place the window The scenes of the various instances when she had found Sid and Juhi together were flashing through her mind.
Juhi: what I mean was ....he was so cold and harsh at times but now is so warm sweet and gentle You know he is one person with whom I have gotten comfortable so quickly know what I mean ....

Riddhima unknowingly tighten her grip on the window sill Her nails seemed to make a mark on the wood A sudden click sound brought her back She looked down and started fidgeting with her finger to break off the remnant of the nail which had broken
‘No’ she retorted
Juhi: I have not exactly but he has ... ...What she wanted to leave unsaid she was forced to say It was hurting her hurt cause she was going to hurt her memories with Rishab She was hurting her friend and also tarnishing her friendship with Sid which was so pure but she saw no other way Riddhima would need to confront her feelings and she saw this the only way Push Riddhima to the edge till she break down with jealousy

Juhi took in a sharp breath to ease herself and continued ‘Not once but a couple of times when we were together when we interacted when Sid was near he made it feel so right .... Which I did not feel with anyone else except Rishab’
She never felt so much pain as she was feeling now. Riddhima stood there oblivious of Juhi’s state of mind. Her mind was only trying to block out what Juhi was talking as that was the only way to stop the pain she was experiencing.
Juhi closed her eyes and saw a face smile back at her – Rishab!!! A faint smile appeared on her face She felt at peace and she continue to narrate what once had happened between the two of them. Coincidently what Juhi started narrating was similar to what Riddhima had witnessed. Rishab was also a skilled surgeon and he would help Juhi when she practiced for her operations. Not only because she needed his help but to steal brief moments with her from their busy schedules.
The pain was too excruciating. The images of that evening refused to fade away even as she shut her eyes tight making the tears spilled away that had welled up. To restrain herself as she clenched her fist the broken nail pricked her tender skin. She could handle it no longer. She wanted to shout out Shut up Just Shut up I don’t want to hear any more of it. But she could not. To stand there listening to Juhi talk about Sid be it her escapade in the library or when he consoled her about Rishab’s death or his habit’s was just getting more and more unbearable. Finally she could not take it any longer She rushed towards the bathroom.

Juhi: what happened?
Riddhima: aankh mein kuch chala gaya
Juhi: come let me help Juhi got up walked towards her
Riddhima: nahi its ok and shut the door and collapsed on the floor. She wanted to cry out loud but instinctively cupped her mouth to stiffle her sobs She could not let Juhi hear her Tears flowed freely It was too much for her to take. The images of Sid and Juhi together were just not ready to let her be in peace

It was quite some time now Juhi let her be Riddhima needed that time alone but not so much It worried Juhi Had she overdone it Maybe

She knocked on the door 'Riddhima tum theek ho'

Riddhima: Haan main theek hoon answered through her sobs
She got up and splashed some water on her face She looked into the mirror and for the first time she saw herself Dr Riddhima Gupta talking back to her 'kyu saachai se bhaag rahi hoo Aaj bhi tum usse kisi aur ke saath nahi dekh sakti Aaj bhi tum Sid pe sirf apna haq manti ho Aaj bhi tum manti ho ki Sid sirf tumhara hai Uske woh teen shabd sirf tumhare liye ho sakte hai ……… Yaha saach hai ki aaj bhi tum sirf ussi se …………..’

Part 85

'NAHI...yeh nahi ho sakta ...main Sid se ...Sid kya soochega ...nahi Aisa nahi hai ...

Saach ko Jhootla se saach badal nahi jayega ...agar Aisa nahi hai toh tumhe itna farak kyu padta hai ...kyu Tumhe Itna gussa aa raha hai kyu itna dard ho raha hai

Kyu ki ...kyu ki ...woh ...

Kyu woh khaas koi aur hai ...

Nahi woh Juhi hai

Aur woh bahoot achi ladki hai ...har tarah se Sid ke layak bhi hai ...aur usse bhi badkar Sid usse pasand karta hai ...USSE ……….. Tumhe nahi


Dard ho raha hai ...  Riddhima saw her reflection laugh at the her misery

Hmmm ……….. It was hurting Riddhima a lot more than what she ever thought it would hurt her

Kyu ???


Par yeh sahi nahi hai !!! …….Riddhima felt disgusted with herself

Kya sahi nahi hai?

Main kaise Sid se ... Nahi …….. yeh nahi ho sakta ……….. woh sab ehsaas maar gaye bahoot saal pehle…….. aur jo kuch bhi bache woh maine maar diye …………..

Phir jhoot bol rahi ho ...Tumhe woh sab ehsaas sirf daba diye the

Par ab kaise ... nahi yeh nahi ho sakta ……..

Accept it Riddhima accept karlo ki tum aaj bhi usse hi ...

Nahi …………

Accept karlo Riddhima


Accept it Riddhima

Haan …….. main Sid se pyaar karti hoon ... karti hoon Sid se pyaar aaj bhi ………. Sid ko dekhti hi woh saare ehsaas phir se jag uthe ………… aur main nahi handle kar sakti ki koi woh kisi aur ke kareeb ho ... uspe kisi aur ka haq ho ... par yeh galat hai ...


Kyuki ……… Kyuki Sid ko yeh acha nahi lagega ... woh kabhi nahi chahega ki main usse ……..  Nahi ……… main uspe yeh kabhi zaheer hone nahi de sakti ……………..yaa main aise kar sakti hoon ...Bolo ...Bolo ...

She looked up and she found herself staring back at herself The person who was talking to her was not to be found realization dawned The Riddhima Gupta was once again lost in the deep recesses of her heart

Riddhima splashed some water on her face and moved out with the same straight face she always adorned.

Juhi could make out the agony that her eyes were screaming out at her

Juhi: tum theek ho ...

Riddhima: hmmm chalo sow jaate hai ...

Riddhima settled in bed turned on her side pulled a blanket over herself and switched off the nightlamp

Juhi waited for a moment and settled down herself but needed to understand whether her efforts had borne fruits 'i hope tumhare aankhon mein padi dhool hat gayi hai ab Riddhima?

Riddhima plainly affirmed and pulled the blanket over a little higher and pretended to sleep.

Sid mind was still not at rest. He decided to drive down to Panchgani instead of hiring a cab. He was driving for many hours now and was already regretting the decision Fatigue from lack of sleep from  previous night was catching up He tried hard to concentrate on the road as it had grown dark now but his tired mind kept recollecting the fore long look in Riddhima's eyes

He was ridings high on guilt. From the moment he realized that Riddhima was oblivious of her relationship with Shilpa he was just cursing himself for not telling her about Shilpa being her sister. What was bothering her more was she could not even be there for Shilpa's last rites

At that moment in Riddhima's house he felt it was best if he did not tell Riddhima about Shilpa But there was Rohan also. She had a right to know about him He wondered if Rohan could be the ray of hope in Riddhima's life

But he should not be taking this decision alone He recognized that he was running high on emotions and his decision would be affected by them He needed to consult someone The only other person coming to his mind was Massi She would definitively be able to guide him He urgently needed to clear his mind without which he would not get peace Impatience built up and he increased the speed He wanted to talk to her now.

Shashank paced up and down in his bedroom. Sid's presence in Sanjeevani was constantly tormenting his mind Sid would not be here after 10 long years with any ulterior motive. If he was one to keep any ulterior motives then he would not have left 10 years back. Riddhima and he never got to discussing what really went wrong despite his various attempts but he could never get Riddhima to talk. He knew his daughter well and Riddhima avoiding discussion over the years yet not being able to hear any negative comment against Sid had strengthen his belief that indeed Sid was not at fault This was increasing his agony even more. Was Sid the reason for Riddhima to separate from armaan after so many years? What was Riddhima planning to do? Whatever she planned but Sid did not deserve any further agony due to his daughters wired expectations from people who cared for her. Sid had given his whole being to his marriage and he had always been at the losing end and after 10 years may be he would still support Riddhima but Riddhima definitely did not deserve it. More than Riddhima Sid did not deserve being pulled back.

Padma thought that some work related worry was bothering Shashank so she had let him be. Shashank would not discuss work and hence thought there was no point aggravating his worry. She let him be but the concern for his health had started taking better of her. Shashank's pressure was running high since the previous evening due to his worry for Riddhima. She had carefully diverted Shashank's mind towards general conversation and had gotten him to try go to sleep. Shashank found temporary relief but soon was back to his thought which hovered over Riddhima and Sid. Sleep eluded him and his pressure was again on the rise

Juhi tend to sleep light in new places. Every time she stirred Riddhima would get alert but Juhi still managed to understand Riddhima's state of mind. Those light sobs did not escape Juhi's attention At one point she thought of talking to Riddhima but then refrained

Riddhima was mentally and physically drained yet she was finding it difficult to sleep. Emotions she was experiencing were too strong and too many Jealously anger guilt remorse confusion anxiety hatred All her reasoning for her feelings to being inappropriate and accepting Sid's feelings towards Juhi for his better future did not lessen the pain She kept debating with herself and her tear kept flowing forming a wet patch on the pillow.

Sid's anxiety to meet Massi was at its peak It was late now He had driven very slowly earlier in the day A normal six hour journey had stretched much beyond He was driving a crazy speed He was concentrating hard on the road ahead Suddenly he saw something ahead Sid slammed his brakes and turned the steering and his car swirled off the road.

This was the nth time Juhi heard a mild sob Her patience gave way She sat up and turned Riddhima to face her The sight broke her heart 'Riddhima!!!' Juhi whispered soothingly as the wiped away the tears from Riddhima's face. One look at Juhi's face which was edged with concern broke Riddhima and sobbed her heart away. Juhi gathered her in her arms and patted her head to calm her down. When Riddhima sobered down a little Juhi eased her away. She covered Riddhima with a blanket and waited for Riddhima to fall asleep. She continued patting her head just like a mother would when her child was disturbed due to a nightmare.

She sat there when she noticed Riddhima's phone flashing on the side table. Alarmed she nudged Riddhima 'Riddhima tumhara phone'

Immediately she knew something was drastically wrong. Her intuition always managed to pick up signs of danger quickly and accurately. The name flashing on the screen alarmed her even more. She quickly grabbed the phone and answered it. Her voice shaky. 'Hello…………' She listened with baited breath. Panic struck Riddhima and worry written all over her face. 'Aap fikar mat kijiye …………… main abhi yaha se nikhal ti hoon ……. Sab kuch theek hi hoga .…………… sab kuch theek hona hi hoga ………… aap please dariye mat………..' She was reassuring the person on the other side not to get scared but she was terrified herself. Why did this have to happen? He did not deserve this?

She disconnected the call and turned to Juhi. Looking at Riddhima's alarmed expressions Juhi understood there was something major. 'Kya hua ……….. bolo Riddhima……… kya hua'

Riddhima wanted to speak but landed up choking on her words. Juhi desperately tried to make sense of what Riddhima was trying to tell her All she could make out was one name and alarm sounded for Juhi also.

Part 87

Shashank had suffered a stroke Padma stood outside the ICU with Riddhima It was a hugh blow They had been just plain lucky to have gotten him under medical supervision on time Juhi was inside helping the on duty staff to stabilize Shashank

After almost two hours Juhi walked out It was nearing four in the morning.

Riddhima and Padma rushed forward with the obvious question

'Situation seems to be under control but the next 24 hours are critical'

Even though the danger was not completely averted it was welcomed news

Riddhima went through the reports and realized that the damage could have been very heavy She was angry with herself for not being there when her father needed her

Juhi and Padma tried to reason with her but Riddhima was unconsolable

The next hour passed slowly Riddhima and Padma had calmed down a little Looking at Shashank's state all decided it was important to inform Anjali Riddhima made a quick call to inform Anjali. Atul was out of town on a conference while the his parents were visiting their native Situation looked grim but it looked highly improbable for Anjali to come immediately She assured that she would be make it as soon as possible 

The next person on list to call was none other than armaan Juhi and Riddhima understood the question prying in Padma's eyes

Juhi was a little tensed looking at Riddhima's state She knew Riddhima needed support. She asked the next question on mind 'aur kissi ko khabbar deni hai

Riddhimaplainly replied replied 'sab ko khabbar kar di hai an aur koi nahi bacha hai Anjali bhi Atul ko pata degi usne kaha hai aur jo bache hai unhe main kal khabbar kar dongi'

Padma: Par Riddhima

Riddhima: please maa !!!

Riddhima's stance made Padma stop in her tracks but Juhi had decided what she was going to do. Padma  also knew it may not make much difference but they had to inform him She took Riddhima's word for informing armaan If Riddhima did not do it the next day then she would she decided

Fatigue was catching on so Juhi asked Riddhima to settle Padma in Riddhima's office and excused herself to check on Shashank But before that she was going to do what she had decided

She brought out her cell phone pulled up the number Looking at that name she wondered if what she planned to do was right or not He did not turn back to check on Riddhima himself when he left He may have his own agenda and it would not ne proper to pull him back into all this But then she felt he was required to be told She wondered if she should call or not After a brief debate she decided to inform him nonetheless She did the needful and headed towards the ICU

Riddhima settled Padma in her office after much persuasion She decided to quickly settle her stuff in before proceeding towards the ICU again.

She pulled out her clothes from her large duffel bag and was going to dump it into the drawer when she felt something solid in between her clothes  Padma was watching her intently

Padma: Tum ghar chalti tab tum change kar sakti thi ya phir main tumhare kapde le aati kal tumhare ghar se

Riddhima had to tell some time. Though this was not the most appropriate time she decided to break the news

Riddhima: Mumma main ab waha nahi rehti

Riddhima's statement alarmed Padma 'kya?'

Riddhima: Haan Mumma kuch hafte ho gaye jab se main armaan ke ghar nahi rehti

Padma immediately started putting one and one together and realised what must have happened What was the reason for Shashank's worry and condition She flew into a rage 'Tumne hume batana zaroori nahi samjha ....Tumhe maloom hai Shashank ki jo halaat hai'

Riddhima was unusually calm She was also surprised how come she broke the news so easily to her mother She somehow did not fear accepting the truth

'Maloom hai Mumma ....par main darr rahi thi main kaise apko yeh bataungi ....par ab aur nahi jhoot ....main jaanti hoon ki Papa ko yeh sab pata chala hai aur unki halaat ki zimedar main hi hoon I am sorry Maa Yeh sab meri wajah se ho raha hai aur yakeen maniye main Papa ko kuch nahi hone doongi aur uske liye mujhe jo kuch bhi karna pade main woh karoongi yeh mera aapse wada hai

Padma saw a strong conviction in Riddhima's voice after many years She wanted to see this in Riddhima and now that it was finally there her heart blessed her for this Riddhima could never thank her mother enough for understanding and supporting her in these tough times She just smiled back and turned her attention to the solid item in between her clothes As she pulled out that item her faint smile turned into a wide grin and a tear escaped her eye She realized how she got the strength to accept the truth in front of her mother Why she felt so calm and sure. She placed all her clothes into the drawer and opened the last drawer of her desk and placed it lovingly back to its original place

While leaving Padma called out to Riddhima 'I hope you remember what you are supposed to do?'

Riddhima: Haan she walked out she started searching a name in her cell phone's phone book Should she drop a message or call? She pondered on the question For some reason she looked back at her mother and then towards her desk A faint smile appeared and she walked away looking at phone She knew what she needed to do or moreso what she did not need. Inspite of all the tension and stress there was a confidence in her walk

Sid got up feeling thirsty. He had a glass of water and was going to go back to sleep when he felt an urge to check his phone The screen flashed '1 unread message' He read it and his throat went dry again. His step faltered and he slumped on the bed. Sweat forming on his brow. He should be there He wanted to be there but was his presence desired It looked like a message only to inform him He read the message again 'Dr Shashank has suffered a stoke His condition is critical' More like a formality fulfilled as once he was related to the person concerned or was it because he was also a doctor and they may require his services or was it because once upon a time Dr Shashank was his mentor. What was the reason? He ran his hand through his hair trying to make sense He looked at Rohan who was sleeping peacefully Rohan needed him but he felt it was important to be there for Dr Shashank and also 'Riddhima' She must be shattered All this while all he could figure out is that she was very lonely without any support Did she need his support If yes then why did she not call him Why was there only a message Yes it was just a formality of informing him After all that had transpired between them she would not solicit his help explicitly The feeling of guilt may still be playing on everyone's mind though it was not anyone's fault It was a game of destiny that had played a cruel joke on their lives He needed to ne their He could not let them alone If he could help he would Should he call and check No!!! They would not ask him directly If they had to then he would have been called and not sent this message He just could not decide He once again looked at the message and then at Rohan Rohan really wanted to spend time with him and so did he He did not want to disappoint Rohan.

Part 87

Juhi and Riddhima tried convincing Padma to go home but she was not ready to budge It was nearing 12 in the afternoon all three waited outside the ICU

None of the reports gave hope Juhi did not want to discuss it in front of Padma

Juhi: I think aunty aap ghar jayiye hum sab hai na yaha pe

Padma: Nahi Juhi main theek hoon

Riddhima: Mumma aap please ghar jayiye   Papa ko kuch nahi hoga things will be fine aap please apne aap ko Itna stress may dijiye we all need to be strong

Padma: Mujhe sab pata hai aap dono kyu mujhe ghar bhejna chahate hoo

Riddhima: Yakeen kijiye aisi koi baat nahi hai Papa theek hai Haan progress slow hai par woh theek ho jayenge Maine kaha tha na kal main Papa ko acha karne ke liye jo kuch bhi karna pade main karoongi 

Padma: Aur kya tumne kiya ....?

Riddhima and Juhi looked at Padma bewildered

Padma: kya tumne sab ko inform kiya

Juhi knew that Riddhima had not done after all that had happened ....'Kal hi maine bakki sab ko inform kar diya'

Riddhima was flabbergasted but she kept quiet She did not want to argue in front of Padma

After much persuasion they managed to send Padma home.

After Padma left Riddhima immediately opened her tirade of questions 'Kyu Juhi ...Tumne aisa kyu kiya ? You know na its only going to add to the mess'

Juhi felt a little offended that Riddhima did not understand her hence did find that Riddhima needed an explanation 'Jo maine theek samjha woh maine kiya and if you don't have anything else to talk regarding Dr Shashank then I am leaving to check on him

Riddhima was surprised at Juhi's brassness  It was best that she lets it go anyways the damage was done for her There was no point crying over spilt milk

Juhi walked out the ICU with a dismissal look No improvement Riddhima knew it What worried Juhi more was how Riddhima was going to handle all this She was due to leave for a conference after two days She needed to do some arrangements

Juhi: I think we would need to send someone else for the conference

Riddhima: I was thinking the same You already have stuff scheduled so you will also be not able to go....  I don't know what is in store for us

Just then when a wardboy came and called Juhi aside They had a brief chat and Juhi excused herself one the pretext of attending some work

After half an hour she returned back to check on Shashank and Riddhima

Juhi tried explaining to Riddhima that there was no point pondering on the by gones She needed to be strong like Riddhima had been telling Padma But guilt was weighing heavy on Riddima

Juhi knew it would not be easy for Riddhima but she was not alone

Fatigue was now evident on Juhi's face also  Riddhima persuaded her to go home Juhi agreed on one condition of that she would return in the evening and Riddhima would go home to take some rest before returning back to stay over at night

Once Juhi left Riddhima returned to her thoughts that were haunting her

Too much was happening too quickly She felt too overwhelmed Yet somewhere she felt that all would be fine She closed her eyes and prayed A strong sense of security was enveloping her She could not understand why It was the same strength she felt while telling Padma the truth

She sat there when she heard the nurse speak to the doctor in charge She was handing over the new reports 'Yeh saare reports hai jo unho ne maange hai'

Doctor: Theek hai main hi leke jaata hoon case bhi discuss kar loonga

Riddhima ignored it for a moment and sat there absorbing the secure feeling It was assuring her that she was not alone Indeed she was not alone Her family was there her best friend Juhi was there whom she knew would never leave her side But this secure feeling was different She was cared for She had the support to fight all vagaries of life It was motivated her to give life a another chance with the assurance that all was still not lost This feeling was not alien She always felt it when she was faced with a challenge But it was stronger today Strong like when she felt that person close to her Just the way she felt that night when she slept peacefully after many years. When she felt his presence She could feel it now also ‘Par woh yaha nahi ho sakta’

Why was she feeling like it then Was it of the other person whose presence she could feel at one point of time. ‘Haan shayaad …… usse toh itilah bhi ki gayi hai iss sab ke baare mein Par kya usko itne saalon baad farak padta hai?’  She closed her eyes to let that feeling settle in gauge it Nahi!!!

Last time when she did feel his presence it was a different feeling She had felt very insecure It was a very eerie feeling  Not at all calming Then was it indeed because of whom she always felt motivated loved cared and supported She pondered on it when suddenly it struck her that Juhi was not there now and so who was this person.

She scolded herself ‘Nahi!!! Usse toh maloom bhi nahi toh woh kaise ho sakta hai ……’ Then who was it why was this feeling enveloping her

She brushed her thoughts aside and looked around and noticed the nurse who had handed the reports to the doctor in charge He was going to discuss the case with some other doctor She felt a strong urge pulling her Without her knowing she started walking away from the ICU in the direction her feet took her With every step the feeling was growing as if taking over her entire being ‘Nahi uske alava aur koi bhi nahi ho sakta’ Only he could evoke those feelings in her still other than God himself He was a messenger of God in her life Her Angel But how could it be him?

She walked towards the end of the corridor and she heard the voice of the doctor in charge talking Her feet came to grinding halt She so wanted to confirm her belief She hid behind the door taking shelter to be not seen

 She was scared to challenge her faith her belief What was she wrong? She was scared. What if her belief was not right and her mind was only playing a rude joke But she had to confront it But she could wait Not make a deliberate attempt Maybe then the pain may be lesser Nahi!!! She knew it won't be but it would allow herself to soak in this secure feeling for a little while longer Haan!!!

She waited there for the other person to speak Hear his soothing voice to confirm her belief To feel  she was safe All were safe All was fine That wait was endless The other person was pondering on the information disclosed But his mind was wavering He could feel her close by Kya usse maloom hai main yaha hoon? Agar maloom hai toh woh samne kyu nahi aa rahi hai?  Kya woh nahi chahati main yaha pe rahoon Shayaad Par woh message?  He brushed his thoughts aside reprimanding himself to concentrate on the facts at hand regardless what all other facts of their life were then years back and today

He was here for a different reason He needed to concentrate on that All he wanted was to make things fine For the person concerned for her and maybe between them also She after all was never responsible for all the mess in their lives It was none other than him Maybe this was a chance given by God to do penance for all the pain he had given her and may be her approval may follow even though he did not seem to crave for it But he knew in the deepest of his heart that it would follow She was a nice human being who would not hold grudges against anyone maybe not even him He continued to concentrate on the case

Patience was running out Riddhima always believed that God always had a good reason to do whatever happened in life Years back God himself created circumstances which brought them together and may be now also he wanted her to face the truth to assure her that he existed Existed and assisted through his Angels on earth But more importantly she needed to test herself confront her beliefs test her faith Bas aur wait nahi hota!!!

She closed her eyes took a deep breath She felt her soul soak up the feeling Yes she was going to test She opened her eyes and with baited breath she peeked out Her eyes lowered She wanted to feel that feeling one last time

He could feel that someone was in waiting But he did not dare to look around not knowing what he feared A dismissal look that he always saw in her eyes or her hopeful eyes for which he did not have anything much to assure except his support in her hour of need He returned himself to the reports yet again

Wording a small prayer she raised her eyes still holding her breath Her eyes spotted the doctor in charge whose back was towards her blocking her view She craned her neck to catch a glimpse of the person before her resolute have way Kya woh tum ho?

As the clouds give way to let the sunshine through the doctor moved a step aside and her eyes finally met the face she was dying to see  He was talking something to the doctor while glancing through the papers at hand

Her eyes focused intently on his face taking in his angelic features His hair just like he used to wear it His soft eyes in which she always saw hope his lips which took only her name and wished for only her happiness He was indeed here Once again to bail her out help her in her hour of need assuring her that she was never alone He was indeed here when no one else was there He was her light in this dark phase yet again when she seemed to have lost all hope Her lips curled into a smile though her eyes cried They were tears of joy He was here like he always was when all seemed lost giving her hope that all was not lost SID !!!

Her lips worded that name silently yet he seemed to have heard it His gaze was automatically pulled towards those eyes which cried of joy knowing he was there Towards those lips which had just taken his name silently. Were words really needed for them? NEVER!!! Cause their heart always spoke in their own language

The doctor in charge left as he was called by someone Destiny seemed to conspired yet again to give these soul the chance to soak in each others presence To assure each other that they were previous to each other

She stood there rooted to her spot gazing at him with hopeful eyes capturing his presence approving his presence That tearful smile spoke a million to him like his gesture did He was there like he had promised Standing at that point from where he could see her fine and happy

The tearful smile mirrored on his face Was it ever possible that they felt different than what the other felt After all at some point of time they did walk the path of life together They came together not to celebrate love but to share each others pain Maybe due to this the attachment was stronger That attachment still continued Maybe that is why they were pulled towards one another even today It not possible that they did not feel what the other felt Their thoughts their emotions hence did mirror in one and the other It was beautiful so poignant

He acknowledged her with a nod An assuring nod that her presence did not bother him and then made his way towards Juhi's office leaving Riddhima there assured that he would always be there for her that point of life when she needed him the most

He sat there on the bed beside Rohan He could feel restlessness growing in him He had to go and leave immediately He quickly got up and packed his bag He informed Maasi and explained Rohan the need of the hour

'Rohan Mumma ke rishteydaar ko meri bahoot zaroorat hai Sid ko unhe help karne jaana hoga'

Rohan was just like his mother Never a grudge held Though he did not like the thought of not being able to spend time with Sid he readily gave his consent without sulking for a moment

Within no time Sid was back on his way to Mumbai The first thing he had done on reaching Sanjeevani was call for the sender of the message

Part 89

For the next half an hour Sid and Juhi had discussed Shashank's case. What bothered Sid was that Shashank's condition was not as critical as he had anticipated but his not responding to the medication had become a worry. Juhi's assumptions seemed to the best fit

Juhi: Extreme stress ...Shayaad woh Riddhima aur armaan ke rishtey ke problems se thak chuke hai. Kabhi khatam hone ka naam hi nahi lete

Sid: hmmm

Juhi: Riddhima is mature enough but as a parent for him to be concerned is obvious

Sid: hmmm

Juhi: Uspe socha ne koi fayada bhi nahi

Sid: Haan waise dekha jaye toh woh yeh un dono ke beech ki baat hai

Juhi understanding the possible discomfort she would cause ended the the topic 'I will check on Dr Shashank once again and come in a while'

Sid: ok ...

She returned after a while to tell him about her leaving to go home

Sid finally got himself to ask 'can you do me a favor?'

Juhi: hmm

Sid: Can you get someone to give to give me a report every hour?

Juhi: are you not going to go to check on him?

Sid: Don't know whether I should...?

Juhi: I can understand ...actually can I say something ...its best you don't go at the moment ...

Juhi had already realized that Shashank was upset probably due to Riddhima shifting out and armaan and Riddhima's marriage having no hope remaining To top it if he was to know of Riddhima's ex husband's presence it may complicate matters further

Juhi: I know you will understand why I am saying so

Sid realized what Juhi was hinting towards and his doubts about not meeting Shashank were due to the same 'I can understand '

Juhi: Thanks

Sid: mujhe thanks bol ke shraminda mat karo please

Juhi just nodded and left for the day

Riddhima returned to her place outside the ICU when the nurse informed her that Shashank was awake if she wanted to meet him Since he was shifted to the hospital Padma was the only one to visit him First Riddhima was busy with the doctors to get his treatment decided and then when the time came Riddhima could not get herself to face him What would she answer to the questions that may be rising in his mind

Her assumptions were no different than Juhi The stress of the consequences of her decisions were the reason for Shashank's condition in the first place and it not improving despite medication. She had wronged and she had to set it right. She had to do it and so she walked into the ICU room. All the strenght mustered came crashing down when her eyes saw the weak drained figure lying on the bed with multiple wires attached to it. She walked up and stood timidly in front of Shashank.

Seeing her walk to his bedside Shashank immediately looked away

Riddhima's assumptions got confirmed Her father knew everything 'Papa' her voice heavy with guilt 'I am sorry'

Shashank turned his head towards her Her guilt ridden eyes tucked his heart but he needed to know 'Kyu Riddhima?'

He waited for his daughter to explain The only response he got was a fresh stream of tears

Shashank: Kyu nahi bataya?

Riddhima: Main aapko aur pareshan nahi karna chahati thi Papa... Aap sab ne bahoot dukh saha hai Main aap ko aur dukh nahi dena chahati thi

Riddhima's guilt seemed to pierce Shashank's soul. He always found himself responsible for the mess in Riddhima's life. Firstly, by getting her to marry Sid and then forcing her to continue in the marriage for 9 whole months. Finally when things fall out between them he asked armaan for his hand in marriage for Riddhima. He thought that he was the best match for her and he had ignored this fact for too long. But by then she had almost detached herself from life. She was breathing but not living. He had felt history to be repeating itself. Her behavior was similar to that when armaan has first left her after the terrorist attack. She had become like a machine which was programmed to do exactly those tasks which seemed to suit the people surrounding her. But unlike the previous time it did not affect her professional life. She always seemed a different person while at work. But things would go back to sqaure one when she was with family. He always felt that once she is married to armaan things would settle down. Riddhima would once again be able to seek happiness, start living life for the joy of it only and be content with her life. But unfortunately that day was yet to come and now after what had happened he knew that it would remain an unfulfilled dream which he may take along with him. He had tried to seek the answers from Riddhima about herself and her life many times and later just let them linger in his mind. But he needed answers now.

'Jab maine armaan se tumhare rishtey ki baat ki thi tab mujhe laga tha ki woh tumhare liye sahi tha Shayaad main hi pehle samaj nahi paya tum dono ke pyaar ko Par shaadi ke baad sirf aur sirf problems face kiye iss rishtey ne kabhi kabhi lagta tha ki sab ke rishto mein problems aati hai Tumhare bhi ayenge par armaan aur tumhara beech ke problems khatam hone ka naam hi nahi le rahe the……. Kahi na kahi accept kar liya tha ki ye sab kabhi kahatam hoga bhi nahi…... Par yeh rishta phir bhi rahega kayam ……….. par woh bhi nahi hua …..aur tumne itna bada faisla le liya woh bhi hume bina bataye'

Riddhima: 'Papa …. Main sirf aapko tension nahi dena chahati thi …… Sab kuch itna achanak ho gaya …….'

Shashank swiftly cut her in: 'aisa kya ho gaya?'

Riddhima was tongue tied How would she ever explain what really got her to take the decision after 10 long years. If she did not know of armaan's disgraceful deed it was quite possible that she would have carried this dead relationship's weight all her life just to avoid any further controversy and humiliation for her family. But what armaan had done not only hurt Riddhima's respect but had soured some of the most important relationships in her life. But how was she to explain her father what exactly happened. Explaining the reason for her decision would also need her to tell him about her disgraceful act of infidelity. After Sid left Shashank did harbor some grudges for Sid for not standing by Riddhima. He obviously would as he did not know the whole story. But overall he still did consider him to a nice person and hence at points the guilt of ruining Sid's life in the process of securing his daughter's future and happiness also pricked Shashank's heart.

Helpless Riddhima could do nothing but stand there with her head bowed down. Shashank had suspected something fishy when he had seen Sid in Sanjeevani. There was something that was going on in Riddhim's mind which he had to figure out. Riddhima's non responsiveness confirmed his doubts further. Shashank's patience ran out and angrily questioned her again. He wanted to hear it from Riddhima 'Aisa kya ho gaya Riddhima?'

The stern loud voice shook Riddhima completely. Quickly gaining composure she rushed to hold her father's hand 'Papa aap please gussa mat kijiye ……… it's not good for you …….. please I beg of you ……….'

Shashank: Phir batau kya hua?

Riddhima was in tears. She had to tell him but she knew he would not be able to handle the whole truth. Considering his condition, state of mind and moreover not deserving the embarrassment she decided to tell him the partial truth.

Riddhima: Papa ………. Main thak chuki hoon ………. Main aur barsdaast nahi sakti armaan ki zyatiyaan …….aur pichale dino jab mujhe kuch cheesey pata chali mere sabar ka bandh poori tarah se toot gaya ……….. main iss rishtey ka bhooj aur nahi handle kar sakti ya main nahi karna chahati …………'

Shashank: Kya pata chal Riddhima …….. aur kisne bataya ……?

Riddhima: Papa please aap yeh sab mat sochte baitiyen……… Things are fine now ……… armaan ko bhi sab maloom hai ……. Maine use baat ki hai iss baare mein ……..jab woh Mumbai aya tha ek din ke liye ……..

His doubt finally confirmed and he angrily spat out 'Yeh sab tum Siddhant ke wajay se kar rahi hoo na ………….…… ?'

Natural instinct never fails a person. Defending Sid was one. Riddhima was quick to lash back. 'Papa…….. Siddhant ko bheech mein mat layiye'

Shashank: Kyu na lau ……… uska yaha hona aur tumhara yeh faisla lena itne saalo baad it's not a coincidence………

Riddhima: Sid ka mere faisle se kuch lena dena nahi hai …….. jab maine armaan ka ghar choda mujhe maloom bhi nahi tha woh India main hai………. aur hota toh bhi usse mere faisle pe koi farak nahi padta

Seeing Shashank's confused face Riddhima pleaded 'Trust me Papa Sid ka iss sab se koi lena dena nahi hai'

Before Shashank could ask anything further the doctor walked in to warn them to avoid talking too much. Both just nodded and Riddhima started to move out but not before assuring Shashank of Sid's innocence 'Papa jo kuch bhi hua aaj tak uss mein Sid ki kabhi koi galati nahi thi agar koi zimedaar hai toh woh sirf aur sirf main hoon ...meri Sid se nakamiyaab shaadi se lekar mere armaan ka ghar ghar chodne tak sab kuch ...aur aap please apne aap ko bhi doshi mat maniye ……. Aap sirf ab rest kijiye …….. all is going to be fine ………trust me ……… Once ……… please…… Papa'

Riddhima moved out leaving Shashank to ponder on things. Hearing her talk about Sid solved his doubts which had been looming large on his mind since the evening he spotted Sid in Sanjeevani.

After going home that evening he had tried to find out more about Sid's presence in Sanjeevani. But the answer he got baffled him further. 'Dr. Modi sirf do operations ke liye aaye the……. woh bhi by chance woh India mein the aur Purva Shah unki family friend ki beti hai isliye unhone woh operation kiya ………. Aur doosra operation unhone sirf isliye kiya kyuki patient ki family ke pass operation ka kharcha uthane ke paise nahi the……Woh aaj hi uss doosre case ka poora handover karke chale gaye ………….aur shayaad kuch dino mein US wapis chale jayeenge.' Was Sid's presence a mere coincidence and if not then what did Riddhima take this decision due to Sid. Did she see Sid as an escape for her problems like I had seen him years back?

Shashank: Siddhant ka yaha hona sirf ek itefaaq hai aur shayaad main iss baat ko kuch jyaada hi ehmiyat de raha hoon ……..Siddhant ek bahoot hi sujha hua insaan hai …….. Mujhe yeh maloom nahi ki kya hua tha Siddhant aur Riddhima ke beech jisske wajah se unki shaadi nakamayab hui par aaj maine Riddhima ki aankhon mein aaj maine ek chamak thi - saachai ki. Mera dil keh raha hai ki aaj Riddhima ne jo kaha woh hi saach tha…….Sid zimedaar nahi hai unki nakamayab shaadi ke liye aur naa hi uske faisla ke liya ………….

Riddhima became a problem child for him only after armaan entered her life and continued to remain one when armaan was there in her life. Her anxiety and indecisiveness always peaked with it was anything related to armaan. But it was strangely absent today when she announced the reasoning for splitting ways with armaan. He somewhere felt happy to see this change in Riddhima. He wanted to believe in her decision in her beliefs. Maybe it was time to let the bird fly free leaving the nest to test herself and her belief.

Sid went and settled in Juhi's office to wait. The look in Riddhima's face kept tucking at his heart. She so needed support and the person who could provide it best was not there. What frustrated him the most was he could not help the situation at all. He spent the remaining afternoon taking hourly reports from the doctor and trying to think of alternatives available for Shashank's treatment.

In the evening when Juhi returned she looked even more stressed All of Riddhima and her attempts to fix a person for the conference were going in vain She worked her way through the files trying to arrive at the best fit for the conference once again. Sid watched her and after a while finally asked her 'Kya hua nothing much just the same the pile of work and this can I help?'

Juhi: No its ok its just admin work which I am trying to finish so that on monday Riddhima will not be bothered with it

Sid: What is it?

Juhi: Nothing just that ...seriously its nothing ... By the way are you not going home

Sid: Don't worry I am fine ...Tumne kuch khaya?

Juhi: Tumne khaya?

Sid: Todha light kuch khaya tha aur tum?

Juhi: Main ghar jaa ke kuch kha loongi

Sid: Do you want me to drop you home?

Juhi: Nahi meri car hai aur waise bhi tum bahoot thak gaye ho I would suggest go home and rest

Sid: Tumhare saath hi nikhal jaonga ……….shayaad …………

He waited for some time watching Juhi trying to make adjustments in schedules which did not seem to work. Sid once again probed 'Kya hai Juhi?'

Exasperated by Sid's questioning she answered 'kuch nahi hai Siddhant we can't figure out a person for the conference Riddhima was supposed to go and if not her then it should be me'

Sid: Then you go

Juhi: But if I go there is no one to look after my department because my second in line is on leave

Sid thought for a moment 'You had once suggested consulting here will my chipping in help?'

Juhi's face immediately brightened up Yes if you do that then I can get the management to give you charge of my department for three days

Sid: Then that's solved

Juhi: But then what about the other work

Sid: I can take care of that also if that's ok……..

Juhi: No the DO stuff

Sid: Juhi ……how many days you would be away?

Juhi: Three days Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Sid: Cool ……… Tuesday ka kaam hum Monday ko schedule kar denge …….. if anything is required I can tweek the schedules and if sanctions are required Riddhima will be there in the hospital we can manage something ………. As for Wednesday and Thursday I can prepare and mail you once you approve we can have do the same …….. as done for Tuesday wherever tweaking required I will manage

Juhi looked a little skeptical about the whole idea but later on when she spoke to the person in the management team He too seemed to agree with the plans Everything seemed to be falling in place. Sid's presence was indeed being a boon for both Riddhima and Juhi. Juhi noticed the visible change in Riddhima and she knew the reason. Though she did not go further and probe about it.

Once all settled Juhi gathered her stuff and started to move out of her office Seeing Sid sit quietly she asked Sid to leave with her to come back next morning. Sid needed to rest She was not going to let him stress himself out like this She did not budge till he left with her They quietly walked down the corridor when they met the doctor who was in charge of Shashank He had some good news for them Shashank was showing some improvements Both their joy knew no bounds After a brief chat walked towards the lift when they were spotted by Riddhima The glee on their faces brought a strange satisfaction to Riddhima She always noticed how comfortable Sid was with Juhi

Juhi: I am so glad things are fallen place and now I don't have to worry I haveyou to help out

Sid: I think you are getting excited too soon I think you should think again about me taking up this consultancy here

Juhi was baffled by Sid's rather serious tone Why?

Sid: Shooch lo mere jaise kya tha woh ...Haan!!! Khadoos ko jhelna padega

Juhi: oh shut up will you ...smacking Sid on his arm

Ouch that hurts ...Sid exclaimed laughing and rubbing his arm What was that?

Juhi: complimentary gift for your honory services said Juhi jokingly

Sid: I am scared now

Juhi: What?

Sid: Yes ...for the people who work here fact I should warn them ki kitni berahem unki boss hai ...

Juhi: oh please ...said Juhi smacking him again Don't you dare spread rumors about me ...

She wanted to meet Juhi but retrieved She could not understand why? She returned to her place outside the ICU.

The pangs of jealousy were again hitting her hard though she felt happy seeing Sid relaxed and happy Was their happy banter their comfort level? The more she thought of it more strongly Juhi's previous night's conversation started ringing in her ears

She hated the thoughts and emotions all that came with it

Restlessness took over and she started pacing the corridor As she passed Shashank's room she peeked in and her mind drifted away from those thoughts

She stood there for a moment to collect herself As she felt sober she settled down in her chair trying to focus on the priorities in her life And she drifted off to sleep.

Sid escorted Juhi to her car and settled in his He did not feel like going home Seeing Sid not starting his car She called him on his cell phone and urged him to leave Sid started his car and both drove out

Though all was beginning to settle down his heart did not find rest Riddhima teary eyes kept bidding his presence He finally turned his car and headed back. On reaching Sanjeevani he headed towards the ICU to find Riddhima sleeping out in a chair. Her worn out look answered why his heart could not find peace. He waited there looking at her from a distance.

The crowd had completely receded The effect of air conditioning was being felt more strongly Riddhima seemed to shiver from the cold He beckoned a nurse requesting her to cover Riddhima with a shawl Riddhima snuggled pulling the blankets closer as her mind sub consciously took in the warm gesture from the person who always made her feel secured Seeing her at peace Sid walked away to settle into the alley adjoining ICU