Friday, May 20, 2011

SR FF continued from Part 70

I had given myself the deadline of 4 pm to finish this update Sorry I could not write faster and hence Juhi's realization will be in the next part

Veena Jas Tanni and everyone I am really really sorry I could not update last night I plonked off to sleep while typing on my laptop itself Ouch

Part 70

It was way past 6 and Riddhima wondered if Juhi had left for the play as she had not heard from her. She worried her that Juhi may be upset with her for declining her offer hence had not met her before leaving as they would do everyday. Riddhima walked towards Juhi office hoping to apologize to her and bid her goodbye. Throughout the day she hoped not running into Sid. Once again to lie to Sid would not be possible for her nor would be telling him the truth. She approached the Juhi's office and peaked in through the glass door only to notice Sid sitting there already reading some files. She did not want to run into him but that visual was so captivating that she stood rooted to the spot. It pulled her back into her past 10 years back. Days when Sid had just become the disciplinary, he used to bring files back home trying to make sense of how the job is done. Many of the times she had seen him talking to himself trying to decode the puzzle. The amusement she experienced then never failed to bring a smile on her face. As she saw him working through the files she noticed that this was not the same Sid whom she loved to watch work with those files at home. He was one of the most sort after neurosurgeon in the US, Dr Siddhant Modi. He worked swiftly yet meticulously through the files making notes where required.

Sid kept working through the files trying to ignore the feeling of being watched by someone. For a moment he turned around to check if anyone watching him but found no one there at the door. Not wanting to waste any more time on his weird feelings he promptly returned back to the files. He kept going through the file and the feeling of being watched returned. Frustrated he once again turned and to catch Riddhima staring at him.

Seeing him looking at her Riddhima flustered, a lump formed in her throat thinking what reason was she going to give him for sneaking up on him liking this.

It felt like the dust that lay thick on the memories of his past was being blown away slowly and steady. His defences had crashed long time back and as the days passed he found himself being slowly drawn into some of the fond memories of yesteryears.

Seeing Riddhima standing there he involuntarily walked towards her. Many times before also, he had caught her gazing at him while he worked at the hospital or at home. Every time she had an affectionate smile playing on her lips and when caught she flustered just the way she did now.

He opened the door not to usher her in or tell her off. It felt more like removing the barricades that separated them.

He kept looking at the shy lady standing at the door with a faint smile playing on his lips.

'I didn't mean to disturb you I just wanted to meet Juhi.'

Reality hit Sid. Those words rudely brought him back to the present. He felt completely unsettled with his actions. He wondered how he could let his feeling dominate his actions so much.

Sid: Nahi nahi main toh bas aise hi files dekh raha aur Juhi ke liye notes bana raha tha Maybe she can use them..... Please come in.

He walked up back and settled down in his chair and started shuffling the pages Riddhima walked in wondering what to say or do next.

Sid: By the way kuch kaam tha uske saath ''.

Riddhima: Nahi bas dekh ne ke liye aayi thi ki woh gayi ya nahi or else she will get tied down with something or the other

Sid: Main bhi ussi ka wait kar raha hoon

Riddhima: Woh chali toh nahi gayi na ''. actually who aaj play dekhne jaane wali thi '

Sid: nahi '' woh abhi bhi hospital mein hi hai '''

Sid's confident reply bothered her compelling her to probe to know the reason behind this confidence.

Riddhima: How do you know?

Sid: Woh mere saath hi jaane wali thi isliye ''.  par abhi tak emergency se wapis nahi aayi

It hurt her that Juhi did not try persuading her for the play that morning and to add to it, it was Sid who was going to accompany her. She felt as if she no longer mattered much in both their lives. 'Oh! Ok ! Usse der na ho jaye main dekh ke atti hoon' she offered plainly

Sid: Nahi theek hai work comes first

Riddhima: I know but she really wanted to go for the play ''.. aaj kal bahoot kaam rehta hai use ''. It was a welcome break for her '''. A good way to unwind from this busy routine '''.. and she was so happy this morning thinking of going for the play

Sid: phir mana kyu kar diya jaane ke liye uske saath

Riddhima: mujhe kuch kaam tha isliye

Sid: Well what you said applies to you also

Riddhima: As in

Sid: you seem to be overworking yourself I mean you could also use a break

Riddhima: tum bhi bahoot jyaada kaam karte ho

Sid: I enjoy my work so it does not stress me out

Riddhima: phir dono baar tum Itne tired kaise feel kar rahe the ....Itna ki tumhara sir dard karne lag gaya

Sid: actually it was just jet lag and you know how long neuro surgeries can go on for

Riddhima: Par phir sab kuch khud supervise karne ke liye kyu ruke''. Wrap ups can always be done by juniors ''''

Sid: That's not my style of working '''.  Kisiko bheech raste chod ke jaana meri aadat nahi hai ..

Things said unintentionally at times freshen old memories and wounds. armaan had abandoned Riddhima when she needed him the most. While Sid stuck to his resolve of marrying her and he did.  He always stood by her whenever she needed a friend and companion to walk the difficult path of life. He had indeed held her hand to walk her through the darkest phase of her life and brought her to life and light again. If not for him, she would have perished long back.

Sid: aur waise bhi both the cases were critical ones not something I could give in the hands of the juniors.

She brushed away the tears that formed in her eyes quickly fearing that Sid would notice them if he looked her way. 'Waise mujhe laga tha ki tum cardiology mein interested the '''. I mean kaafi baar assist kar chuke the heart surgeries ke liye then how come you suddenly shifted to neurology

Sid: main toh kissi ke dil ko samaj hi nahi paaya ...... He always regretted not being able to read the Riddhima's heart -  her love for armaan. There was a not a single day when he did not curse himself for having come inbetween the two. Had he not been there lives and relationships of many individuals would have been different

Her heart ached. Another would have considered it to be a taunt but not Riddhima. She knew Sid too well to even go that way. He was a pure soul who would blame himself for the miseries of the world when he was not responsible for it. She so wanted to earase those feelings of regret of not having understood her cause he was the only person who truly understood her.

Sid continued not realizing the effect of his words on Riddhima: I mean cardiology did not seem to be my piece of cake ..... Neurology just seemed a better option  '''' Forget it .............. I think I better finish this file so once Juhi comes we can leave asap

Her presence her questions had freshened the heartbreaking memories for Sid causing him more pain Riddhima. Not wanting to deepen it she decided to leave: I am sorry for disturbing you ''. Main chalti hoon

Sid: No No it is perfectly fine ..... waise kuch message dena hai Juhi ko

Riddhima: Nahi main toh sirf usse bye bolne aayi thi

Sid: So should I tell her you have left for the day?

Riddhima: Nahi I will here for some time kuch kaam hai

Sid: late shift?

Riddhima: Haan todha late ho jayega

Sid: You already sound very tired ''.. aapki tabyat toh theek hai na

Riddhima: haan I am fine '''. 

'But I am not fine' ''''. Whined Juhi as she entered her office.

The puppy face expression instantaneously brought a smile to Sid's face. 'Aree kya hua '''..?'

Juhi: All is a damn waste '''

Seeing Juhi still upset worried both Sid and Riddhima. 'Is the patient fine?' both questioned her together.

Juhi: Dono ko sirf patient ki padi hai '''the patient is fine '''
Juhi already seemed disappointed and Sid and Riddhima's reaction to the patient being fine irritated her even more.

Juhi: Mere bare mein koi sochega kya ''..

Sid: aree ''.. but Juhi we are doctors '''

Juhi: I know '''' we are doctors our patients are our first responsibility but I wanted to go for the play '''' It's been so many days since I wanted to go ''..

Sid: You can go some other day ''''

Juhi: But I wanted a break '''

Sid: aree yaar ''.. chalo let's do one work '''..lets go for a movie ''''

Juhi:Sad movies hai ''''

Riddhima was quite amused how Sid was trying to pacify Juhi.

Sid: Then what do you want to do '''

Juhi: I don't know '''''

Sid: See after the play we would have gone out for dinner ''.right ?

Juhi: Obviously '''.

Sid: So let's stick to that atleast ''..

Riddhima: That seems like a good idea

Juhi: Theek hai that seems like a decent idea ''.

Sid: Chalo toh settle ho gaya ''.. ab chalen ''.

Juhi: Kaha

Sid: Dinner ke liye ''..

Juhi: Itne jaldi '''.. dinner karna hai ''' restaurant mein jaake pakana nahi hai '''.

Sid: I know ''.

Juhi: aur yeh file kaun khatam karega ''' pointing at the file in front of Sid.

Sid: Yeh tumhari file hai '''.. I was just helping ''''

Juhi: Toh poori help karo na ''''..aise aadhi adhoori nahi '''..chalo finish this I also have to monitor the patient for some time '''

Riddhima and Sid were both amused at how Juhi was bossing Sid around with her work. It would have seemed like shirking of work but both knew Juhi well. She was just pulling a fast one on Sid. The minute he pulled up the file again to start work. She yanked the file out of his hand. 'You don't have to be working so hard in front of my boss to make me look like bad.'

Riddhima burst out laughing looking at Juhi's antics. Riddhima: Nahi main aise kuch nahi sochungi '' you continue ''.. main chalti hoon

This was the first time in years that Sid had heard Riddhima laugh. She seemed so relaxed and at ease. Sid turned to look at Riddhima but she was already walking out of the room. He so wanted to see that twinkle in her eyes which was always there when she was happy.

Dissapointed with himself he shifted his focus back to the file and started making his notes.

Juhi: So bakra '''.. how was that?

It irritated Sid to be called a bakra but it infuriated him that Juhi managed to make him one. 'So that was just to emotionally blackmail me into this '''''

Juhi proudly nodded 'Yes!!! ''' and I was successful '''.. and anyways agar main yeh nahi karti toh tum aate '''.. inn filo mein sar khapate ya phir ''.. apne ghar pe sad se songs sunte baite''..

Sid: I don't listen to sad songs''''.

Juhi: Oh please '''.. tum aur Riddhima dono ek jaise specimen ho '''agar aap ko emotionally blackmail na kare toh dono akele dukhele kahi baite rahenge ''''wait kahi nahi sirf office main ''.. comeon yaar get a life ''' tum yaha pe kaam karte ho '..nahi na '''..toh phir inn files pe kyu kaam kar rahe the ''

Sid: Main toh sirf tumhari madat ''..

Juhi: Hello '''. Tum apni madat kar rahe the ''. Kyu ki tumhe kaam ke alava kuch karna hi nahi aata ''. Aur woh madam bhi '''. Wapis aaj subah se hai ''.. lekin ghar nahi jayegi ''''.

Sid: Toh phir usse kyu nahi blackmail nahi kiya aane ko ''''  usse bhi bula leti ''..

Juhi: Phir dono uncomfortable ho jaate ''.. isiliye ''..

Sid: Main nahi hoonga ''''. I don't know about her ''''

Juhi: Sure '''' bulvu usse

Sid: Hmmm '''. I think that would be a good idea '''' waise you were telling na that she does not go out at all '''' She can also use a break '''.

Juhi: Cool ''''chalo main abhi usse pooch leti hoon '''.

She quickly walked out of her office and caught up with Riddhima.

Juhi: Riddhima ''..sunoh ''.

Riddhima: Kya hua ''..?

Juhi: Waise I should not be saying this but you are responsible for this fiasco

Riddhima shocked at Juhi's allegations questioned her 'what do you mean by that how can I be responsible?'

Juhi: Agar tumne haan ki hoti then we would have left earlier and I would not have gotten stuck here .. So now you need to make up for it ''

Riddhima: How is that possible ''' ? you would anyways would have gotten delayed ''' how can I be responsible for you missing the play?

Juhi: Woh main nahi jaanti '''' you have to do something to make up for it ''..

Riddhima understood there would be no point in arguing with Juhi and relented quickly 'Tell me'

Juhi: You come with me for dinner now

Riddhima: But Sid''.I mean Siddhant is going na ''''then why me?

Juhi: You have to ''..or else we both are also not going''..

Riddhima: yeh kya bachpana hai '''

Juhi: Tum aa rahi hoo bas''..

Riddhima: Woh wapis uncomfortable ho jayega ''

Juhi: Nahi hoga ''' ussi ne kaha ''.

Riddhima knew that even if Sid did say that he would not be uncomfortable he was doing so just to make her feel good. But ultimately the situation would again become such that both would land up messing it for Juhi So she promptly declined. 'Woh sirf tumhari khushi ke liye bol raha hoga ''' but its best that I do not go and waise bhi mujhe kaam hai ''.  Rehne do Juhi''''

Riddhima had made up her mind and all the arguments from Juhi were falling on deaf ears. Juhi finally gave up and was going to walk away when she saw Sid standing there listening to the conversation. Seeing Juhi disappointed Sid walked up to Juhi. 'It would be great if you could accompany us'

Riddhima immediately stopped in her track hearing that voice. She slowly turned back to meet Sid eyes. His innocent request was so difficult to decline. The thought of getting to spend some time with him was music to her ears. She slowly nodded.

Seeing her agree Juhi was thrilled 'Yay so see in at 8.30 my office we shall go for dinner together' 

Darn my luck I was writing the update where the black out happen and there was a power outage in our area I finally decided to go to college (anyways I had a lecture) early and write 1 hour drive and reached college to see my thoughts were not flowing as smoothly as they were earlier Ouch But here it is the super long update Bear with me for it

Part 71

Sid and Juhi were waiting in the parking lot for Riddhima wondering why Riddhima was taking so long to come. When Juhi checked on her if she was ready Riddhima bombarded her with a whole long list of excuses right from she did not want to pile on to she not appropriately dressed. Juhi was a champion in this arena earlier in the day Sid accepted defeat and now it was Riddhima's turn.  Juhi feared Riddhima would try yet another antic to skip the dinner. So the moment Riddhima arrived she promptly ushered her towards Sid's car.  

Riddhima: Aree kaha lekar jaa rahi hoon ''''

Juhi: Dinner ke liye

Riddhima: haan toh tell me the name of the place and I will be there'''

Juhi: No I don't trust you

Riddhima: What ''' let me just back out my car and I shall follow you

Juhi: Why ''.. three people going for dinner can easily travel together in one car'''

Riddhima: But what about after dinner we will have to come back to pick up our cars'''.

Juhi: Siddhant will drop you and I will take a cab anywhich ways plan to go to a place near my house''.

Sid looked a little taken aback by Juhi's demand. All to travel in the same car did not seem to be a bad idea but then his concern was Juhi's going home alone. But when Juhi announced the name of the restaurant he did not seem to have issues. It was quite close so he decided that he could drop her home. Riddhima so wanted to protest as this would leave both her and Sid alone to travel back together which would become another awkward situation but Juhi seal the case and settled into the passenger seat. Riddhima still a little nervous stood fidgeting with her bag. Sid promptly came round and held open the door like he used to do being the perfect gentleman that he was.

Sid was concentrating on the road while Riddhima gazed out of the window. Both were silent and this silence was bothering Juhi. She wondered what to say when she remembered the weekend was just a day away which would mean Sid either going to Panchgani or Rohan coming down to Mumbai. She longed to meet Rohan so best way to check was understand Sid's plans for the weekend.

Juhi: Is weekend kya kar rahe hoo

Sid: Kuch khaas nahi

Juhi was disappointed that this would mean that she would not get to meet Rohan even during this weekend. To add to this Sid had finished the handover which would mean they would not meet in from the next week onwards  'Oh ''.. so you will be going to Panchgani this weekend also'

Riddhima unaware of Sid's visits to Panchgani was curiously listening to the conversation trying to understand the reason for his repeated visits there.

Sid: Shayaad nahi '' todha kaam hai yaha pe  

Juhi: Toh Rohan yaha bula lo                                                                                                    

Sid: Pata nahi

Sid wanted to avoid the conversation on this topic in front of Riddhima while Riddhima who sat quietly wondered whom Sid and Juhi were talking

Juhi realised that Riddhima was quiet till then. Juhi reasoned that it would be quite natural for Riddhima feeling left out in the conversation as Riddhima did not know anything about Sid In an attempt to include in the conversation she turned around and started talking to Riddhima 'Aree Riddhima itni chup kyu ho                   

She candidly replied 'Nahi main aapki baate sunn rahi thi isliye'

Juhi: Sorry hum apne hi dhun main baate kar rahe the ....

Riddhima: Nahi its ok
Riddhima wanted to know more about Rohan. From the conversation she could make out that Rohan lived in Panchgani and Sid frequented Panchgani to visit him.  She wondered how come Sid had a friend who lived in India and was so close to Sid that Sid met him regularly Was he a friend back home now settled in India or Was he a relative for whose emergency Sid had come after 10 long years

Juhi completely unaware of the questions swimming in Riddhima mind continued 'actually hum Rohan ki baat kar rahe the He is Sid's.........

'Friend ......He is my friend' interrupted Sid

Sid calling Rohan just a friend surprised Juhi. Sid considered him to be his son then why did he say otherwise 'Rohan is your ....

Once again Sid cut her in and emphatically reconfirmed 'A friend'    

Juhi: 'He is a friend?'

Riddhima sat there listening quietly trying to understand the reason behind Sid's uneasiness and Juhi's irritation  
Sid could sense the question in Juhi's irritated tone 'Dost hi toh hai hum Best Friends Aaj usse sabse jyaada ek dost ki zaroorat hai isliye toh main yaha hoon
Knowing the truth of Rohan's she understood Sid's approach toward handling this new relationship Sid never perceived himself as a mere guardian but a friend even for Rohan. He had decided that he would continue to be Rohan's friend like he always was.

Juhi: actually sahi keh rahe ho usse sab se zyaada ek dost ki zaroorat hai

Riddhima had indeed found a good friend in him when she needed a friend the most. Today's conversation reinforced her beliefs further He had not changed a bit like he had promised her. He still was the man in shining armour that stood by a person in need. She smiled thinking of the days when he had been her lifeline

Her chain of thoughts broke when the car came to a sudden halt Juhi: Tada .....our venue
Riddhima looked out surprised that they had already reached the restaurant.

It seemed a quiet open air tucked in a dainty lane away from the noise of city life The attendant ushered them in to a table which Sid had reserved for them Memories were flooding her senses making her oblivious to her surroundings. Riddhima's state of mind seemed like an open book which Sid could read which intrigued him

'Dr Gupta' deliberated Sid to bring her to the chair he held out for her after having seated Juhi

Riddhima was amazed how the details of the event of her past life were rushing back to her. She remembered everything. It was her first date with Sid, they both had messed up so badly not Sid somuch as Sid had. Thinking of it a small laughed escaped her.

Which did go unnoticed What happened probed Juhi

Not understanding how to explain nervously looked at Sid who was engrossed in the menu the waiter had handed him

Waiter: Regular or Mineral?

Sid: Mineral

Riddhima got her reason She signalled to Juhi who smiled understanding Sid's choice of mineral water amused Riddhima

Sid preferred mineral just because he could not afford falling sick. He was doing this just as a precaution. He was never fussy about all such things.

Riddhima heaved a sign of relief having saved her skin

She wanted to keep the conversation to the minimum fearing that something may get revealed. She returned to the days of her life spent with Sid

Their first date where Sid had landed up spilling champagne on her head and also had ripped her duppata be stepping on it

She could recollect everything. She wondered how she still remembered so many details about those days, about Sid. Sid always landed up goofing up something or the other

She knew that so well that she always doubted him doing anything correctly 'Mujhe maloom tha kuch na kuch galat zaroor hoga' She recollected chiding Sid when the cake cutting in the cafeteria had ended in a cake throwing competition

'Yes I knew him so well' or did she really know him

'What do you want to order' questioned Juhi looking at Sid who was still looking lost in the menu card

'What about you ..... Riddhima?'

'Huh Juhi'

'What would like to have? Continental or Indian?'

'Let me check' said Riddhima and started browsing through the menu

'The food seems interesting......May be something both something Juhi and Sid would prefer .... Juhi ko Continental bahoot pasand hai aur Sid ko ..........'

That question drew her blank 'Sid ko kya pasand hai ......' that question kept coming back. Not finding the answer started agitating Riddhima

'Sid ko kya pasand hai ......hum kabhi bahar dinner ke liye gaye hi nahi aur ghar pe main jo banati thi woh sab Sid khata tha ....... koi farmaish nahi ki ....... san kuch bina shikayat kiye khata tha .....woh kabhi kuch nahi bola ..... kya usse mera khana pasand bhi aata tha? .... shayaad ...... Ya sirf  mujhe bura na lage isliye ...... Maine kabhi jaanane ki koshih ki thi? ....' stressing her memory to search the answers to her questions once again she drew blank

'I could not answer any of the questions about Sid back then also when Shilpa had questioned during Teej' remembering the Teej incident when Sid could answer everything about her but she could not answer a single question. This agitated her even more.

'Nahi main Sid ko achi tarah se jaanti hoon'.  She looked up to find Sid who was browsing through the menu looking all confused

'He always used to land up confusing himself and others as he spoke incessantly'. A warm smile again playing on her lips as she remembered the various instances

'Riddhima have you decided?' probed Juhi

'Nah ....what are you planning to have?' Riddhima questioned back

Juhi: Indian it is? Turning to Sid 'Siddhant, it;s not a case that you have to study Stop looking at it so much'

Sid was carefully checking the menu trying to guess what both the ladies would prefer 'Aree I was checking what you may like'

Juhi: I was asking about what you would like .....actually don't stress yourself

'Actually yes yeh tum hi dekh lo ....' Sid said finally giving up

Juhi: Indian it is? Looking at Riddhima

Riddhima coolly nodded

Sid put down the menu and got up 'Main abhi atta hoon aap dono order place kar do'

Waiter: Anything to drink, Sir?

Sid thought for a moment and questioned 'Fresh lime soda?

Juhi gleefully nodded while Riddhima also nodded wondering if Sid still enjoyed a drink once in a while remembering the small bar he had in their house

Sid: 3 fresh lime sodas  

Riddhima not wanting Sid to compromise knowing she did not appreciated alcohol immediately tried to put him at ease 'You can drink if you want to ......we are fine'

'I don't drink.............anymore Sid replied plainly and walked away to do what he had on his mind

Juhi: Ya he does not drink so it is 3 fresh lime sodas and rest of the order would be .... Looking at Riddhima questioningly

Riddhima: Tum order kar do what you think is best You seem to know what Siddhant likes

Juhi: aur tumhari pasand?

Not wanting to bother with it 'Tum jaanti toh ho mujhe so its ok'

Juhi: Ok!!!

Juhi turned towards the waiter and started placing the order while Riddhima returned back to her thoughts

'Nahi ......... main Sid ko kabhi jaan hi nahi paayi........... maine kabhi uske pasand na pasand ko importance diya hi nahi ........... Sid ko importance diya nahi ........... hamare rishtey ko importance nahi diya ...... kuch bhi nahi jaanti main Sid ke baare main ..........'

'Kyu soch rahi ho .......... don't worry if you relax a little will not lead to world crisis ..........' mocked Juhi.

Riddhima: Shut up Juhi main toh aise hi ........

Juhi: Aise hi kya ...............

Riddhima: Kuch nahi ....... tumne khaana order kar diya

Juhi: Haan ......... tumne bataya nahi tum kya soch rahi thi .......

Sid's returned saved Riddhima yet again.

Juhi: where had you been? Itni der laga di. Kar kya rahe the tum?

Sid: kuch nahi kuch kaam tha ............

Juhi: Yaha pe kya kaam ........ bartaan dhona ya saaf safai ............ khana yaha ka achaa hai isliye cooking rule out kar diya ............

A flabbergasted Riddhima scolded Juhi for her obnoxious comment but Juhi was not going to let go of a fantastic opportunity 'bolo na Siddhant ........... seriously kuch kaam tha ........ main baad main batata hoon tumhe'

Juhi: Ok ....... yaane tum mujhe wapis kaam pe se pakane wale ho ........ oh lord kaha phas gayi main ....... time pass karne aye hai aur aap dono hai ki ............ ek ko kaam se phursat nahi ..........

Sid: Don't worry jyada din nahi aur ........

Juhi realising what Sid meant stopped teasing. It took a while for it to sink into Riddhima what Sid was hinting at. 'Sid jaa raha hai itne jaldi kuch hi din huye hai' The news killed her inside. After a long time they were warming up to each other and she hoped that may be this time things would return to normalcy they could be friends again.

They sat quietly Riddhima hunger had died an instant dead and so just sat there once again pushing her food around in her plate while was lost in his own world planning for the weekend's work He did not want to think about the person who sat opposite him. They both hardly                                                      
It bothered Juhi to see both of them quiet It was not going to easy to get these two to be easy around each other She needed them to start talking and she had an idea ' Make them feel guilty It always worked.

'You both are such sweethearts ........... I really blessed with the two of you in my ........... Mujhe play dekhne ko nahi mila toh ab mujhe silent movie dikha rahe ho Wah Wah'

Embarrased with their behaviour both immediately started apologising but after some time it was back to square one both returned to staring at their plates. The news of Sid leaving  brought back the questions which were still unanswered Till date did not even know the reason why he was in India Who was that person for whom he had come back after 10 years. Riddhima mind was stuck on Sid leaving soon

Riddhima: toh kab jaa rahe ho? Riddhima's sudden question amazed both Sid and Juhi both. Considering the comfort levels they both shared it seemed to Juhi as if Riddhima wanted to know when she could breathe free.

The look on Juhi's face was enough to make Riddhima realised how her question may have sounded. 'I mean ........ I didn't mean ........ as in ........ you said you would be leaving soon ........... so was just asking?'

Sid understood Riddhima's nervousness She wanted to know yet at all points she was at risk of being misunderstood by him. 'It's ok's ok ...... It was big step for Sid. He felt as if he was lowering his defences which he had held onto strongly. Many were broken by the past fews events He was a little scared but he found himself ready to risk himself for the sake of making Juhi and Riddhima comfortable.

A wave of happiness surged through Riddhima. 'Dr Riddhima' After years he had taken a name though formally yet he did and that sounded like music to her ears. Her face beamed with happiness Juhi who watching them talk felt proud of Sid. This was another step taken by him for warding away the fear of letting people come close to him of hurting. He opening up, trying once again to welcome people into his life, to live life. As for Riddhima, Juhi had not seen Riddhima's eyes shine like this before. What was it that gave her so much pleasure she wondered?

Sid: you just asked me a simple question you don't need to explain yourself. Well very honestly I myself don't know when I will be leaving but very soon. There are still some formalities to be completed once done I will off'

Responsibility of completing formalities after an eventuality meant that the person was a close relative. Fear gripped Riddhima when she remembered that Sid had also not eaten the prasad citing mourning as the reason. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to check who it was.
'Juhi told me that you lost someone close, kaun tha woh ...............?'

The question coming Riddhima stung Sid opening up all his wounds The defences that he had let down with great difficult went up again. He did not feel any emotion for this lady except anger. He wanted to scream out 'That was your own sister ........... Shilpa your own sister ........  who died a lonely death'

Rage was soaring in him. He tried hard to control it, not to let it show on his face in his behaviour but failed miserably. It was too evident on his face. Blood shot eyes and flaring nostrils.
He had to control it He took a deep breathe and replied. His voice was cold as ice, his emotions indifferent to the person posing the question. He could care less for this person who cared for none in this world.
He needn't explain the whos whys and whens to her. She had chosen not to have her 'She was one who was close to me.'

The person close to Sid being a girl for whom Sid mourned made Riddhima more inquisitive 'Kaun thi?' Kya............'

The person who had died was Riddhima's sister whom Riddhima knew but never recognised. Her concern seemed even more hollow at that moment. Sid swiftly cut Riddhima in. 'Aap usse nahi pehchanti' he firmly replied

Sid's changed stance alarmed Juhi who nudged Riddhima for stop further discussion on the topic. Riddhima's curiosity made her reluctant to let go. She opened her mouth to probe further when Juhi jumped in to change the topic completely. Riddhima's stubborn nature was known to Juhi which made her block any conversation or comments coming from Riddhima for the rest of the evening. Smartly Juhi turned the conversation towards work and Sid started easing out. Work his worship He enthusiastically discussed some of the interesting cases he had handled or read about. Seeing his knowledge and hold on the subject made Riddhima proud. Had they been together it would have been a task for her mother and her to pull the father in law and son in law apart to have a conversation other that neurosurgery. Her father always respected and admired Sid and if he would have seen Sid having achieved so much in life in the field of medicine he would have been over the moon. After all Sid was more of a son to him than a son in law. She had also felt jealous of Sid at one point of time as her father had sided him instead of her. But of course back then also he was indeed right

As they finished the main course, Juhi mischievously probed for the possibility of dessert. Sid's mood had come around to normal naughtily declined to tease Juhi. 'Jyaada khaogi toh moti hone wali ho'

Juhi: Well I am quite fit and a little extra flab does not harm .........waise bhi saara khaaya piya utar jaata hai ........ Sanjeevani ........ after all Hitler ko report jo karte hai .........'

Hearing this Sid burst out laughing. Seeing Sid relaxed Riddhima did not seem to take offense on the statement and played along. 'Haan haan ............. bol lo jitna bolna hai utna ........... kal main dekhti hoon .......'

Juhi: But seriously dessert ke bina khana adhura hai ........ Chalo na please  Pleaded Juhi.

Sid was not ready to relent but there was a reason to that. Soon the waiter placed a cake on their table. A delicious chocolate cake with wording 'Congratulations'

Both the ladies understood the reason behind Sid taking a break at the start of the evening. He had gone to order the cake and instruct the manager to get it at the end of the dinner.

Sid took the knife and placed it in front of Riddhima 'You also had deserved to be there Congratulations on the success'

The gesture brought tears to Juhi's eyes. Riddhima did not know how to react. Emmence joy yet so much guilt 'Tum itne ache kyu ho Sid?' The genuineness of this man always filled her up with so much affection yet she could never reciprocate it. She wanted to stay there to experience the moment yet run away to cry her heart out for the pain she had given him. Juhi could feel the emotions that Riddhima was experience She looked so vunerable Juhi slowly got up and moved towards Riddhima. Taking the knife she handed it to Riddhima and nudged her to cut the cake.
Riddhima still in a trance looked at Juhi and then back at the knife. She took the knife from Juhi's hand and once looked at Sid to find him nervously waiting for Riddhima's reaction. Fond smile spread over her lips Yes he was always apprehensive when he did something for her. Yes he was apprehensive what she might feel of this gesture of his. Yes she did know well. It never mattered whether they knew one and another's preferences or habits. What mattered was that despite all difference they still sought each other's happiness.

As she cut the cake she relived those magical moments of her life. He had baked a cake for her for the second dinner date. All the effort that he had taken was just for her. She had felt she was the most loved woman on earth that evening. Her feelings were no different now. He had done all this to make her feel appreciated. She was the happiest woman on earth this evening also.

She cut the cake while Sid and Juhi applauded their success Juhi took a peice and fed Riddhima. As Riddhima took a bite her eyes welled up of joy. When Juhi turned around to give Sid, he promptly took it from her and gave Juhi a bite from it. It pained Riddhima to see Sid not eating it and also worried her. He had eaten the celebration cake in Sanjeevani then why not now. Had something else happened or was he still upset. 'Tum nahi kaoge?'

Sid: yes of course .......  He cut him a peice and settled down to relish it.
Juhi cut another few peices and served Riddhima and herself and settled down to eat.
Sid and Riddhima were getting completely oblivious of their present. With every bite they took they relived some of the beautiful moments of their lives
 Riddhima: 'Yeh cake ulta kyu hai'
Sid: 'Jab tum mere life mein nahi thi na toh meri life bilkul iss cake ki tarah bilkul ulti thi par ab jab tum wapis aa gayi hoo toh .............'
'Namak wala cake kaise banaya tha .......... par uss waqt woh meri zindagi ka sab se achaa cake tha.......... aur aaj ..............' the warm smile refused to leave her face
Both gauged what was going on in each other's minds when they stole a look at the other.
Sid: Kitna battar cake banaya tha maine uss din ........aur bichari Riddhima chup chap woh cake kha bhi liya tha......... a small laugh escaped

Juhi was pleased to see both of them at peace.

The evening was drawing to an end and soon it was time to leave. As Juhi suggested earlier, Juhi took a cab and was on her way. Sid kept insisting that he would drop her home first and then could drop Riddhima but Juhi wanted these two to spend some more time together May be they could start being more comfortable with each other. There was nothing that would be achieved by this yet she felt a lot would. She felt they just needed some space for themselves away from everything. They needed to talk. She could not place a finger on why she felt so but it was her intuition that forced her to do so.

Soon Sid and Riddhima were on their way. There was thick silence in the car except when Riddhima spoke to give directions. Sid quietly drove pretending to concentrate on the road which was almost empty while Riddhima gazed out of the car looking at empty streets and closed shops as if there was something really interesting outside. Though, once in a while both stole a glance at the other. It was like history repeating itself.
Sid could not understand why he did what he did today. He could never understand why did what all he for Riddhima They were married not once but twice but did not have a relationship, they worked together but weren't even friends. Yet, the slightest hint of problem propelled him into action to safe guard Riddhima. Her smile and happiness was his only reward for which he could even stake his life.

Riddhima felt blessed like a parched land feels when it received the first shower of monsoons.  Sid always gave her life meaning taught her how to live to smile. He had always been there for her. His thought itself had helped her through some of the most difficult phases in life yet she did not felt as alive as she felt today. He still managed to evoke such feelings in her.

They both wondered what kind of relationship they shared that the other still mattered to them. Their relationship was always strange and stranger today. It pained them yet gave much happiness. Whatever they felt was adequate for them.

Sid parked the car in front of Riddhima building. The journey ended quickly. The thought saddened Riddhima. Both got out of the car. Uncertain of what to say they waited for the other to break the silence.

Sid kept looking away when he realised that everything was different. There was pitch darkness in the building

Sid: Yaha itna andhera kyu hai ...........

Riddhima who was oblivious of her surrounding had not realised till that moment that there were no light in the area.

Darkeness petrified her. 'Haan yaha itna andhera kyu hai'

Sid: Shayaad poori area ki light chali gayi hai ..........waise aap andhar kaise jaoge ............aap ko toh ..........

Riddhima: haan ........ looking nervously around

The thought of armaan not liking it Sid decided not to offer his help though he wanted to

To get a indication as to what Riddhima wanted he posed the question again ' aap ko toh andhere se darr lagta hai toh aap andhar kaise jaoge.'

Riddhima misunderstood Sid's discomfort thinking that Sid was apprehensive of offering help as she may request prolonging his stay for her convenience.

Fear had gripped her mind. Seeing her nervous and not getting any indication from her Sid thought that she must have been waiting for him to leave so she could call armaan down. 'armaan yaha hai kya'

In her incoherent state she blurted out 'Haan ........  main usse niche bula loongi'

Relieved that she would not be alone he quietly bid her goodbye and drove off. Riddhima could not stand there nor could she move to her apartment. She wanted to call for help but it was very late Probably the neighbours were already asleep. She stood there thinking what to do should she go to the hospital but she could not see any cab in sight while her car was parked in Sanjeevani. There seemed only one option. She had to go home. She took a deep breath, started to move towards her home. She prayed incessantly as she took each step.

Sid's mind could not rest at peace. Riddhima had assured him that armaan would pick her up but then why was out with Juhi and him so late. All the confusion was returning He was not liking the feeling he was getting Something was wrong Riddhima ........... was she safe? The question bothered him He slowed driving carefully as it was very dark.

He was driving for sometime now when his phone rang. He parked his car onn the side of the road to answer the call. It was Juhi.

He had asked her to buzz him when she reached home. Releaved he answered the call. 'Tum ghar pahooch gayi'

Juhi: Haan aur tum dono?

Sid: Maine abhi Dr Riddhima ko ghar ke neeche drop karke nikhala hoon. I will reach home soon.

Juhi was home well in time before the power outage happened in her area. She was worried for Riddhima knowing she was scared of dark. She had tried calling Riddhima but when she could not get through to her she called Sid.

Juhi: Waha pe lights hai kya?

Sid: Nahi aur tumhare yaha pe?

Juhi: Nahi ........lagta hai kuch major problem hua hai ......

Sid: Tumne hospital mein check kiya if all is fine?

Juhi: Nahi but don't worry generators will go up immediately so no stress .............waise bhi kuch hota toh call zaroor aata ........

Sid: Hmmm theek hai tum rest karo I will meet you tomorrow before leaving for Panchgani .........

Juhi: Siddhant ........ tumne Riddhima ko jab ghar choda toh waha lights the .........?

Sid: nahi par don't worry she said her husband will pick her up so no stress .........waise bhi maine usse uske building ke gate tak drop kiya tha........

Juhi was shocked to hear about armaan. When did armaan return? Where did Sid drop Riddhima? Was Riddhima back with armaan again? That was not possible Riddhima had not told her anything. Worried for Riddhima she probed 'Tum kya kahe rahe hoo .......... where did you drop her?

Sid: Uske ghar pe ....Andheri mein... tum itna stress kyu le rahi hoo aise beech raste pe nahi chodonga .................. I have dropped her at the gate of her building she said armaan will pick her up Don't worry ...........

Juhi: Siddhant !!! armaan kaise pick up kar sakta hai ............ woh toh Riddhima ka yeh naya ghar jaanta bhi nahi ...........

Sid: What do  you mean by that? They live together na ............

Juhi: No Siddhant !!! They have not lived together for the last 6-7 odd years......

WHAT!!! Sid screamed. He felt as if someone had boxed him in his guts. His head was reeling. He could not think straight. Riddhima had lied to him about armaan. They had separately 6-7 years back. He felt angry He was just plain angry why he did not know. Maybe angry cause Riddhima had lied or armaan was no more with her or he was he just plain angry at the cruel fate they all had to suffer always.
'Why did you not tell me this Juhi?' Damn Hell!!!

Sid was still coming to terms with the news when it hit him that he had left Riddhima alone and there were no lights. Fear gripped him. He quickly started the car and turned the car around in a frenzy

Juhi: Kya kar rahe hoo? Questioned a pertrified Juhi hearing the screeching noise of Sid's car

Juhi: Siddhant!!!

Sid: Juhi ........... Riddhima ko andhere se darr lagta hai .......... need to get back to her asap ......pata nahi uska kya haal hai .............I will talk to you later ........... Sid disconnected the call and stepped on the accelerator. 

Juhi put away her phone and heaved a sign of relief that Riddhima would not be alone. She was touched with Sid's concern for Riddhima. She was thinking about the conversation with Sid when she remembered '

'she said armaan will pick her up Don't worry ...........'
'Riddhima ko andhere se darr lagta hai'

'How does Siddhant know that Riddhima is scared of dark and her husband's name is armaan' Her eyes widened in shock 'Sid!!!'

Riddhima had denied it but now everything was falling into place He was none other. Siddhant was Riddhima's Sid her ex-husband Sid.

Riddhima: is everything fine...........where is Sid? Siddhant ............quickly correcting herself Siddhant ........that's his name .........

Uska naam muh pe aate aate rok leti thi lekin aa hi jaata tha

Riddhima: By the way Sh......Sadoo kaisa hai .........

Kehti rahi ki woh usse nahi milegi par kismat ne Sid ko uske samne khada kar diya ...... Par samne ho kar bhi khud ko Sid saamne jaane se kaise roka woh sirf ussi ke dil ko maloom hai  ....... par shaayad kahi na kahi jaanti thi ki Sid khud ko sab se door rakna chahata hai

Riddhima: 'tum hi manage karlo ........ mujhe bahoot kaam hai aur waise usse mujhe milne mein koi interest nahi hoga.............'

Woh sab jo woh kar rahi thi woh Sid ke liye tha ...... woh prasad lana .......
Riddhima: Woh socha Dr. Siddhant hai na .......usko bhi de dena .........

Uske baare mein fikar karne se khud ko rok nahi saki .......
Riddhima: Woh theek toh hai na?
Riddhima: uske liye juice aur sandwich order kar diya .......  have you fixed a cabin for him

Dono baar raat bhar hospital main ruki rahi ....... sirf yeh dekhne ke liye ki Sid koi takleef na ho
Woh khana khaye isliye khud mujhe uske saath bhej deti thi ........ maloom tha ki usse akele khana pasand nahi hai

Riddhima: Ek baat kaho tum please uske saath jao ............. nahi toh woh khana nahi khayega aur wapis.............

Aur na khaye toh uska sar dard karta hai ........woh pain killer aur dudh Riddhima ne hi bhijwaya tha uss raat

Kya ajeeb rishta hai un dono ka .......... kuch hi mahino ka saath phir bhi aaj tak ek doosre ko kitni achi tarah jaante hai ....
Riddhima: Kissi ki baat nahi sunega .........

Riddhima jaanti thi gusse mein Sid kisiki baat nahi sunega par woh aise kuch nahi karega jisse doosro ko takleef ho especially his patients.

Riddhima: 'Woh aise kuch nahi karega........ woh bahoot achaa insaan hai ... aur woh kabhi kuch galat nahi kar sakta hai ..........'

Riddhima: I know Juhi but you only said the other day na .......that one can trust one's life in Siddhant's hands and he carry him safely through. "Trust me I know he will"

Riddhima itni hyper hai lekin uss din there was a certain calmness and sureness in Riddhima's tone and face. I did not understand it then but now I know why she said that.

Jab se Sid aaya hai Riddhima badli badli si hai ....... aur jab se Riddhima ke baare mein Sid ko pata chalna chalo hua uska ki bartav Riddhima ki taraf bahoot badal ne laga ......

Aaj bhi ek doosre acha sochte hai dono ek doosre ke baare kuch bura nahi sunn sakte

Riddhima: Enough Juhi!!! ............... bahot ho gaya ......... you don't have to worry as to how he was talking or behaving with me ............ yeh hum dono ke beech ki baat hai ............ tumhe beech mein padne ke koi zaroorat nahi hai ............

Riddhima: Juhi !!!................baar baar kyu uske baar mein aisa keh rahi hoo .......... uski koyi galati nahi hai..............
Juhi: I can understand your concern for the patient but why are you so bothered with Siddhant Hell with him.............
Riddhima: 'Juhi!!!! ............ how dare you say anything to Sid.......dhant.'

Riddhima ne itne bura kiya uske saath par ek baar bhi Sid ne Riddhima ke baare mein kuch nahi bola 
The marriage was forced on my wife and though she wanted to work it out I could not come to terms with her past

Kudh ko blame karta raha hai aaj tak ....... Itna saaf dil ka insaan hai Sid............ Riddhima ke khushi ke liye usse choda aur aaj woh usse guilty na feel ho, uski present life affect na ho isliye milna bhi nahi chahata tha ....

Kudko ek doosre se door rakte rahe par ek doosre ke zindagi ke baare mein jaanane ki koshish nahi chodi .....sirf yeh jaanane ke liye ki kya woh khush hai apni zindagi mein ............

Riddhima: 'I mean he must be married? 'Kaisi hai woh?'

Sid: Woh abhi bhi ........ yaane ......... is she not married? ...... Nahi aise hi ......... woh toh hamare age ki hai .......... and still carrying her maiden name so was just wondering.

Sid: Well I am sure she will be as good as she is now with her own kids.
Juhi: 'Oh Riddhima ....... yes she would have been great if she had her own'
Sid: She has kids of her own ..........right?
Kitna dard aur gussa tha Sid ke chehre pe jab usse pata chala ki Riddhima ke baache nahi hai.
Kya hai yeh do insaan ........ Itna anokho rishta hai inn dono ke beech ....... Aaj bhi ek doosre ke liye itni kashish hai phir bhi ......... May God bless them!!!

That evening Juhi truly understood why both Sid and Riddhima were the way they were

Was bored of studying so wrote this thakela update... try to enjoy

The walk from the gate to the lobby of the building seemed to take ages. At every step she debated her decision of going to her apartment.

It was pitch dark inside the lobby She stood there thinking how she was going to make it to her apartment The thought of her apartment being doused in darkness scared her even more. She even contemplated spending the night in the lobby for a moment but dismissed the idea considering that it was not the safest option. She hardly knew the area and its people She had to go home the closest place which would be safe. All that she needed was just a little light and she would quickly rush up the stairs to reach her apartment. She searched her hand bag for her phone thinking of using the back light. That could be her saving gracing.

Much to her disappointment the battery was dead She cursed herself for procrastinating charging her phone Putting the phone back into her bag, she took a deep breath, reassured herself 'That all was going to be fine' and started ascending the steps. She had to get back to the safety of her apartment. 

Sid stepped on the accelerator and raced on the dark empty roads. It seemed it was a race against time. What if he did not reach on time, the thought tormented his mind. Riddhima's fear stricken face kept flashing before his eyes. He cursed himself for leaving her alone. He accelerated the speed each time the thought of Riddhima being alone in the dark crossed his mind. 

She shuddered with fear of the unknown that lay in the darkness of the staircase.
She wondered if she should make a dash and get home but ruled out the thought Slow and steady was a better idea

Holding firmly to the railing she started threading forward Each step was a great effort for her Before each step she reiterated 'I can do it I have to It was just a matter of six flight of steps and I will be home'
There was pin drop silence except for some sounds that came from the ruffling of leaves outside and the nocturnal animals that had ventured out Each sound making her jump crushing her resolve to a thousand pieces
She collected herself made a fresh resolve and restarted her ascend towards safety of her house.

She was had almost completed the third flight when she heard a screeching sound. The sound made her jump almost throwing her off balance She quickly gripped the railing tighter managing not to fall

It seemed to have come from immediately neighbourhood or was had someone entered her building compound. She listened intently for a while but soon dismissed the sound being of some reckless young kid passing by trying to show off his driving skills

The man scanned the area. It was completely deserted. Riddhima was no where to be seen.
 'Where is Riddhima? Darkness scared her? Is she safe? His mind worked overtime thinking of all the possibilities. Had she gone back to the hospital or was she at her house or ... ?
He looked towards the lobby. It felt as if darkness would engulf his entire being. He shuddered at the thought that Riddhima would need to get through that darkness to reach her apartment.

He needed to rule out the possibility of her being here before searching other places. He rushed into the lobby. Not even a ray of light. The darkness hurt his eyes. He needed some light to see where he was heading. He pulled out his phone and clicked it on. He flashed the light down to see the steps and started ascending the stairs; careful not to make any noise. He did not want to startle the neighbourhood and especially Riddhima knowing her possible vulnerable state

Riddhima heard some noises downstairs. 'Footsteps'  She stood there frozen. Was she imagining them or was someone really present in the staircase? The sound of the footsteps seemed to be coming closer and closer every passing moment. Momentarily it used to stop and restart again. She turned around to check if there was anyone but could not see anyone. She could not hear the sound anymore. Assuring herself that there was nobody there she decided to continue. She took her first step when she once again heard footsteps. It started unnerving her Was there someone really there? Who was it? Was that person there to help her or was it some unscrupulous people who typically lurk in the dead of the night. Juhi and Sid would already be home resting while no other knew about her new house. It had to be someone else. She shuddered at the thought. She had to get home at any cost. She could not let her fears put herself into danger. She said a silent prayer took a deep breath and started climbing the stairs this time more rapidly.
He clicked on his mobile again to turn on the backlight and started ascending the second flight of steps. He could hear someone breathing deeply followed by quick footsteps. Yes, she was here. It could be none other. He wanted to call out to her announcing his presence telling her that she was not alone, there was no reason to be scared anymore but dismissed the thought. He did not want to alarm the neighbours. He started ascending the stairs briskly.

Hearing the footsteps quickened, fear gripping Riddhima She quickly turned around to check when she saw a small light 'Who was it? Kaun hai?' Her mouth had gone dry that those words hardly came out 'Riddhima' a voice called out She shut her eyes tight Chiding herself Woh nahi ho sakta Nahi koi nahi hai Its your imaginations Nothing else

She held on the railing tighter as if she was it was her life she was holding on to

She could still hear those footsteps Her heart was beating quicker and louder Was she going mad? The thought of constantly hearing those footsteps psyched her Yes she was going mad She had to get out of there She did not want to go home She turned around and once again heard that voice 'Riddhima' Her eyes still shut tight she screamed Kaun hai? She thought she screamed but she had only gathered enough strength for a whisper She stood there frozen mind and body

Man thought she recognized him so kept closing in on her
She waited with baited breath when the voice again whispered 'Riddhima' It was too close She jumped letting a scream this time She let go off the railing losing her balance for a moment almost bumping into the man
Main hoon...Riddhima!!! Shhh!!!

He lost his balance almost dropping the phone He quickly gripped the phone tightly while balancing himself That phone was the only hope of some light He tried to see if the person who had almost bumped into him was alright or not

The suddenness of the events had unsettled Riddhima She gripped the railing once again trying hard to make sense of what had just happened Was it her imagination was he actually there she questioned herself doubting her luck to shine in these dark hours.

She strained her eyes to see the person but only could make out his outline. He shifted the light from the phone towards his face for a moment and then to hers to find peaceful face staring in his direction.

Hello everyone My exams are over and Thank you for all your wishes ... my exams were great except one which was quite miserable for many and till now I was working on my assignments. To add to it I have a severe writer's block Infact even when I read anything all i relate it to is Management or Accounting etc. The other day I read somewhere 'something something ... in the heartland of India' and the first thing that came to my mind was the Parenting Fit concept of Management. Ouch. And then my pc problems. Somehow I got my pc to start and me typing out an update. But noticed that the update I had planned for is gonna be super long so broke it into parts.

So here is a complete filler update. Kind of a pacifier or sweetner for holding on till the actual update comes along. See yaha pe bhi management words use kar raha hoon ... God I think I am wasted LOL padhai ne bigad diya mujhe LOL Anyways try to enjoy.

Part 73

She seemed lost as if she was in a trance.  The man waited for Riddhima to come to terms with her surrounding.

 'Why did she even think that it could not have been him? It was always he who had come to her rescue in the dark alleys of her life. He was the one who always guided her Then why was it when she first heard those footsteps she dismissed them to be Sid's. Did she not trust him or was it her luck?  It was definitely her luck cause whenever ever she needed him he was right there by her side guiding her or protecting her from the ravages of life and time. But then why did she even doubt that he would not be there when she needed him? '

She kept reasoning for her doubts but one look at him and she felt her heart mind and soul at peace suddenly. She kept looking at the dark outline of the man who stood there quietly.  She could stand there all her life looking at him even though she could hardly see anything except the dark outline of his face. The thought of him being there was enough. His very thought had helped her fight it out giving her strength at every step in life. His presence was there even when he was not there. But today he was actually there. She knew that he was waiting for her to acknowledge his presence but she was even scared to blink fearing that her saviour would disappear as soon as he appeared in front of her. She did not want this moment to pass.

Time is an ever flowing river, never static. The moment had to pass. Before she could revel in that moment longer which could have lasted her a lifetime, she was rudely jolted out to return to her present where she stood in a dark staircase. 

'Kaun hai waha pe?' questioned a voice who tried to sound brave to scare any unscrupulous person entering the building to find their luck on anyone's property.

Startled by the voice she started scanning the surrounding to understand from where the voice had come. She was too shocked to comprehend how to react.

Her attention was drawn back in the direction where she had seen her savior as she felt the ray of hope dim out of her life. She strained her eyes and senses to feel his presence once again. Only this time it felt like there never was anybody there. Her heart flinched at the thought that her destiny played another cruel joke on her making her believe that he had indeed come for her. If not for that voice she could have at least reveled in the feeling of his presence for some time longer. Feeling safe, secure and cared for. He was always there for her; she knew it but not today maybe. The thought killed her. She did not know him anymore. Time had seemed to have changed him or else he would have never left in the first place. But he did leave today. She felt herself being foolish to believe that she mattered to him. She chided herself as she felt she never mattered to him hence he always left her taking away the ray of hope, the spark of life away from her life or did he? '.. she debated '... Every time she had debated on this, only one answer her heart returned '.. 'NO!!!' and that moment also her heart returned the same answer firmly back with her faith in him enveloping her protectively and helping her fight all odds. After all he was always there standing in the dark alleys illuminating her life and leading her through it. Like always, the faded light seem to make it's way back into her life this time slightly closer warding away the darkness from her life. 'Riddhima '... darr ne ki koi baat nahi hai'

Her heart leapt in joy. The moment had passed yet he was still there. He was not a dream yet was her dream. After all, he was the one and only who could have this effect on her. One who could bring back the peaceful smile back on her face. He was the one who knew her like no other and whom she knew despite not knowing anything about him he was indeed her Sid!!!

Part 74

The voice queried again about their presence but Riddhima continued to remain oblivious of her surrounding till Sid sought her attention to the man questioning their presence.

She quickly replied looking in the direction of the voice 'Main hoon ... Dr Riddhima third floor ki nayi tenant'

'Aap theek toh hai?' man asked

She turned and looked at Sid for a moment and then in the direction of the voice 'Haan sab theek hai'

Sid and Riddhima waited there as they heard door bolts clicking and the man seemed to be retiring for the night assured that there was no threat lurking around anymore.

Riddhima once again turned to look at Sid as her heart resounded her thoughts 'Ab sab theek hi hoga'

Sid who was watching intently in the direction of the man's voice felt as he heard Riddhima say something  ... or was it his imagination. He turned to face Riddhima flashing the mobile backlight on her face 'Tumne kuch kaha?'

Sid waited for her to answer as the mobile backlight dimmed to finally go out. Riddhima could still feel Sid's eyes on her trying to read her mind. A warm smile spread over Riddhima's face. She kept looking in Sid's direction feeling immense joy. Sid clicked the mobile and flashed it on Riddhima 'Tumne kuch kaha?'
Riddhima: 'Nahi ... kuch nahi'
Sid: Chale
Riddhima turned and started ascending the stairs with Sid flashing the light on the steps for Riddhima to see them.


Riddhima looked on as Sid fidgeted with the lock with one hand while holding his mobile in the other refusing to take her help. She could not help herself, her thoughts automatically drifted towards the beautiful moments they had once shared.

How stubborn he was, she wondered remembering the innumerable times when he tried to free himself away from her bangle or her duppata. But he never could manage. He was always remained tied to her from the very day they got married and even today they were somewhere tied to each other. How much ever they denied there was something that pulled them towards each other.   

Sid: Finally... Heaved a sign of relief throwing open the door to Riddhima's house

Riddhima snapped out of her thoughts and entered the living room of her apartment

It was her house yet she did not feel it more than it felt today. Was it because Sid had come home for the first time? Maybe? She looked around as the mobile backlight seemed to scan its surrounding. What she should do now? 'Think Riddhima ... think!!!' she urged herself

Sid on the hand stood nervously in her apartment wondering what to do next. One look at his direction and she gauged his nervousness. She immediately offered him to take a seat

Sid: Nahi its ok you sit ...flashing the light towards a sofa nearby... I will go find candles. Are any at home?

Riddhima: Nahi tum baito ...main dekhti hoon ...

Sid: Nahi tum baito main dekhta hoon ... bahoot andhera hai ... waise bhi tumhe andhere se darr lagta hai ... main hi dekhta hoon ...

Riddhima's protests drowned in Sid's insistence soon and she settled on the sofa while Sid went off to search for candles.

It was not his house yet he found himself moving around freely as he would have in their penthouse. The thought alarmed Sid. This was not their penthouse. He was referring to Riddhima just by her name. How could he behave so casually? Such behaviour was completely inappropriate. He needed to get hold of himself. He should be making her comfortable in her house and moving out asap. Yes that is what was needed of him. That was the only thing that was needed off him. Determined he set himself to task of finding candles. He searched his way to the kitchen knowing that Riddhima used to stock such things in the kitchen cabinets normally.

Riddhima could hear Sid opening and shutting drawers and cabinets as she nervously waited in the pitch dark living room. Like always Sid had taken upon himself to make her comfortable, that too in her home. Her home, she was supposed to play the host. But this unusual circumstance brought him to her home. But that's what they were all about two people brought together by destiny under unusual circumstances and also separated by. Why did all those things have to happen? Every time they wanted to settle down something used to happen that pulled them apart from each other only to be brought back by another act of destiny. This evening it was nothing but an act of destiny that they were together after 10 long years. She almost found herself thanking the fateful moment when the black out happened. If not for that Sid would not be here with her.

Sid could not find the candles anywhere in the kitchen. As he opened the last drawer he called out to Riddhima 'Yaha nahi hai ... last drawer check kar raha hoon ... bedroom mein rakha hai kya?'

Riddhima racked her brains trying to remember where she had kept the candles 'Bedroom' ... maybe ...shayaad'

'Main dekhta hoon' Sid replied

Something triggered an alarm in Riddhima 'Bedroom ... Nahi ...Photoframe Oh Lord agar Sid ne dekh li toh ... Nahi mujhe usse rokna hoga'

She instinctively screamed 'Nahi waha mat jaana'. She had to stop Sid before he noticed anything there.  She got and started moving towards the bedroom but landed up almost walking into the side table and letting out a scream

Hearing her scream Sid rushed back to the living room leaving the last drawer he was checking open
'Kya hua tum theek toh ho'

Riddhima had grazed her knee against a sharp corner. Seeing her in pain alarmed Sid He could never handle any harm coming to her and his temper flew immediately 'Tum ek minute shanti se bait nahi sakti ... lag gayi na ... how can you be so careless... ek toh light nahi hai aur tum ...chalo ab waha chalo ... ...'

Riddhima listened to Sid scold her for her carelessness. Her eyes welled up. They were tears of joy. She found immense pleasure listening to Sid shout at her authoritatively for the first time. He never did that ever. Somehow it really did not matter how much her knee hurt. She was so lost in his words that she did not even realise when Sid guided her back to the sofa and seated her there.
'Tum baito yaha pe main candles doondh ke aata hoon...I think I saw some in the last drawer I opened'

He quickly went back to the kitchen to check the last drawer. Fortunately or unfortunately he found a box of 6 candles. He lit one and carried the remaining pack back to the living room.
'Mil gaye kitchen main hi ...' placing the candle on a makeshift stand he had made out of a half broken saucer he found in the kitchen.
'Thank you ...'

Sid: Iss main thank you ki kya baat hai ... no issues...

The awkward silence had started to spread in the air again. The knee seemed to hurt a lot Sid did not know what to do should he offer help After all he was a doctor, he would be just doing his job nothing else. Maybe he should. 'Bahoot pain ho raha hai...?'

Riddhima could not miss the concern in his voice. He was always like She just nodded her head not knowing herself whether it was a yes or a no. Sid confused looked on not understanding what she meant. He might as well try again to make sure that injury was not too bad.

Sid: Main dekhu kya...? he asked hesitantly wondering how it might sound to her.  He had helped previously also as a doctor and he had also seen her in the state of total undress. It was of Riddhima's free will. But those days were different. Today she was someone else's ... He did not could complete that statement.

Here it was just a matter of examining the wound on the knee. But still it felt weird. Even checking her in the capacity of a doctor it felt weird. Though he asked her if she wanted help he stood rooted to his spot nervously looking around.

The thought Sid possible touch and proximity steered something in her heart after ages. Those feelings which she thought had died in her That evening when she had seen Sid and Juhi together she refused to believe them and this evening she did not want to accept. It was not right Sid would not like it One look at him confirmed her belief. His discomfort was clearly visible. She plainly refused killing the urge to take his help even if it was in the capacity of a doctor. It was not that she did not trust him. She just did not trust herself. She had more reason to not to there was too much proof history could possibly provide that she should not trust herself.

'Nahi it's ok ... I will manage ... I will just come ...' She quickly got up and made way to her bedroom.

Sid waited in living room for Riddhima to finish dressing her wound and changing Time was passing very slowly Sid could not understand that his anxiety was triggered by being in Riddhima's house or not knowing how bad was Riddhima's injury Having seen her limp towards her bedroom had urged him to help her but something inside in stopped him Maybe the fact that she might misunderstand his help as a ploy to get close or more so trespass on her bedroom

Whatever it was now Riddhima was in the safety of her home which was what he wanted He decided to leave as soon as she came out deliberately waiting back seemed completely unwarranted to him

Here Riddhima wondered what Sid would be thinking; wait or leave? Somewhere deep down in her heart she wanted him to stay Maybe because this was the last time they would met they would get to speak To know about him He was due to leave India soon But she should not hope for it. It would be best if he left Staying back would only add his discomfort which bothered her What was the point of subjecting him to more pain than what she had already done Making up her mind she quickly got ready

When she limped back into the living room she found Sid was browsing through a medical journal

Medical journals were the last thing she ever saw in his hands when they lived together But that was so long ago This was no more the Sid she had known lively smiling full of life One who had taught her to smile again It pained her to see the damage she had done

'Tumhare liye kuch lao' Riddhima asked to seek his attention

Sid: Nahi I am ok

Silence once again enveloped the room

They both waited for the other to say something Sid saw Riddhima nervously standing there playing with her duppata

Sid: Baito na

Riddhima: Huh!!! Haan

'How stupid of me asking her to sit in her own house I guess I am making her uncomfortable maybe I should leave' Sid chided himself.

As Riddhima limped towards the sofa Sid suddenly announced much to Riddhima's disappointment 'Main chalta hoon'

Riddhima felt like something die in her. She could only get herself to nod to accept Sid's decision.  

Part 75
Riddhima limped up to the door to put on the security latch much on Sid's insistence She waited for Sid to disappear around the first flight of steps With evey step he took her heart wanted to call out 'Mat Jao Sid Please Mat Jao'
Sid felt as if he heard Riddhima say something He turned back and looked at her intently 'Did she say that ...' Tumhe kuch kaha
Riddhima: Nahi
She herself did not know how she managed to gather the strength to answer that question and hold her composure till Sid's footsteps faded out. The moment she could hear them no more she closed the door and collapsed sobbing.
She felt so helpless that she could not even stop him. All due to one moment of weakness that had given both an unhealing wound which they were to carry with them like the cursed Ashwathama was doomed to carry his for eternity. She often wondered if their fate wold be any different than his. She sat there sobbing uncontrollably
Sid settled in his car and was about to start the car when he remembered he should have called Juhi to inform her about Riddhima. He quickly searched his pockets for his cell phone but could not find it. Had he dropped it while getting into the car or on the way But he found it wierd that he used it when going up the stairs then why could he not recollect using it while descending the stairs. He swiftely got out the car and tried to search for the cell phone around the car. After a short search he gave up. That left him with only place to search for cell phone ... 'Yes ... while lighting the candle i had placed it on the kitchen platform absolutely and after bringing the candle back to the living room I did not go back there ... darn ...'
Irritated with himself he stood there in the compound contemplating whether to pick up the cell phone now or later next morning
He found himself wanting to go back but there was something more than just his cell phone that he felt pulled him back. For the first time in years he was scared to accept his turn of feelings.
She sat there at the entrance of her house feeling emotionally and physically drained not wanting to do anything. Suddenly she heard a knock on her door
It felt as if life was once again knocking her door. 'Sid!!!'
After a while which seemed like a lifetime a worried sick Sid softly called out 'Riddhima'
Without a second thought she threw open the door to see none other than her savior standing at her doorstep.
She could not believe her luck shone for the second time that evening. 'Sid!!!' Her face lit up. She just wanted to rush into his arms and feel secured.
'Riddhima '''''. Kya main andhar aa sakta hoon'
Hearing him broke her trance. She immediately stopped the step she was going to take towards him and nodded gently.
Sid: Tum theek toh ho na '''
Riddhima: Hmmm
Riddhima's eyes were telling a different story the story of the agony she must have experienced after he left. It pained Sid see Riddhima such. He hated himself for being completely inconsiderate. He so wanted to stay back but was worried that Riddhima might misunderstand him. It was best to take it as it comes. If she asked him to wait then he would gladly wait back. But as of now he needed to retrieve the cell phone
Sid: Shayaad main apna cell phone yaha bhool gaya ''''.
Sid's return was only in search for his cell phone upset Riddhima She promptly stepped aside to let Sid come in to search his phone.
As he had thought he found the cell phone on the kitchen platform He picked it up and dialed Juhi
Juhi was still awake waiting for Sid's call
Juhi: Itni der kyu laga di
Sid: I was settling Riddhima down. Yaha abhi bhi lights nahi hai aur Riddhima hurt her knee so I was waiting for her to finish dressing her wound
Juhi: Is it too bad?
Sid: Doesn't seem too bad but she is limping
Juhi: Ek min usko phone do
Sid who had just walked back into the living room handed the phone to Riddhima
Sid: Juhi tumse baat karna chahati hai
Riddhima felt her hatred for Juhi once again on the increase She reluctantly answered 'Bolo Juhi'
Juhi: How did you get hurt? Hope it is not too bad
Riddhima; Nahi theek hoon
If it's hurting too much then don't come in tomorrow I will manage Tumhare na aane se kaam ruk nahi jayega ''' itni importance mat do khud ko
'itni importance mat do khud ko' that seemed to hit Riddhima in her guts''.. and she blurted out carelessly shayaad ab mein kisi ke liye importance nahi rakti ''''.
Juhi: What! What did you say?
Riddhima: Nothing '''.. kuch nahi ''
Juhi: Ok '''. Phone ek min Siddhant ko dena '''
Riddhima passed the phone to Sid. Sid moved away while talking to Juhi which aroused Riddhima's curiosity. Riddhima tried hard to make sense of what was being spoken but could not make out much from Sid's mostly monosyllabic answers. Juhi and Sid had a quick conversation and Sid passed the phone back to Riddhima. 'Tumse baat karna chahati hai Juhi'
Riddhima was in no mood to talk to Juhi's. For her, Juhi was the vamp in her life at the moment whom Sid gave more importance than her. But she had to talk to her as Sid was asking her to 'Yes Juhi'
Juhi: sunn I have asked him to stay over at your place today
Riddhima: Nahi ''. Uski koi zaroorat nahi hai ''''..
Juhi: Shut up '''.. ek toh you have hurt yourself and we both know how paranoid you are of the dark ''.. pagalagayi toh ultimately mujhe zhelna padega ''' and I can't handle a more crazier boss than what you are already samjhi '''.
Riddhima hated anyone pity her and at that moment that was the exact feeling Sid and Juhi were giving her. 'I don't need '''. '
But before she could complete Juhi 'I am not asking you Riddhima I am telling you and honestly Sid''' I mean Siddhant was worried sick when he heard that you will be alone in the dark So please don't stress yourself staying there alone cause along with yourself you will land up stress both of us.
'I mean Siddhant was worried sick when he heard that you will be alone in the dark'
He had come there just for her Just so that she would not be alone in the dark. Why do I always misunderstand him?
She looked at Sid who was standing nervously waiting for her conversation to finish Wanting to know if his help was not being misunderstood? Her heart filled with admiration for this man Why are you so nice?
Theek hai '''
Juhi: Cool now be peaceful and haan if your knee is hurting too much don't come to work tomorrow. Chalo main rakti hoon ''.. bye
Riddhima looked at Sid who was still nervously waiting 'Saari raat khede rahoge kya''.. baitoge nahi?

Part 76
The same silence had enveloped the room once again. Both sat there nervously wondering what the other was thinking. The light from the candle was the only light that was illuminating the room. Every now and then each stole a glance at the other.
There was a time when he could keep looking at her the whole day long yet never felt his heart contented
'She was the most beautiful girl in my life. Her beautiful hair whose locks I could never resist tucking away just to see her blushing, that soft, radiant complexion, those mesmerizing eyes which bewichted my dreams. Her lips which would curl up in a sweetest smile ever seen on earth.
It seemed as if he had captured every detail and had engraved it on his heart, engrained into his soul.
Now also he found himself gazing at her. She seemed so different. It surprised him how he missed all this. Maybe he never gave her a second look or did he even look at her. 
'Yes ofcourse that because every thing has changed. I have changed ... and so has she ... but so much ???'
He was taking in every detail of her face.
Time had weathered her ever so soft creamy complexion It now seemed a little rough and translucent covered with fine lines. Her eyes which were captivating and attractive which once spoke volumes were now filled with despair and sorrow and a sense of guilt. Sid was amazed with himself as to how he is still able to read her eyes.
Riddhima's eyes were prancing all over the room nervously studiously trying to avoid meeting Sid gaze but the moment she used to catch him looking away lost in his thoughts she would steal a glance at him. That pain in his eyes seemed to have momentary given way today to the soft look which adorned his eyes in their happier days
She had waited for so long to see that in him. It somehow gave her courage to attempt talking to him, to know more of him. Today was her only chance.
Determined she started racking her brains on how to get him talking about himself.
It amazed him how he still rememberd every detail about her still. She loved bright colors ...her favorite color ...yes...Red !!!...' He searched him memory but could not recollect.
'Itne dino mein ek baar bhi nahi dekha'' ajeeb hai '' pehle kitne bright colors pehenti thi '' aur ab sirf yeh boring se pastel colors pehenti hai He looked up to find her wearing a cream colored salwar kameez'
'Always so traditional she was his eyes travelled to her forehead only to not find the hint of sindoor which she always want to adorn in her husband's name... armaan !!!'
Riddhima finally broke the silence 'Are you comfortable?' A deliberate question for steering the conversation towards what she wanted to know.
The question caught Sid unaware.
'Hmmm' affirmed Sid looking completely the opposite
Hassled by his false answer Riddhima quickly lashed out 'Kyu jhoot bol rahe ho jab?... Tumhe theek se jhoot bolna bhi nahi atta aaj bhi toh kyu?'
That taunt stung him ... 'Right!!!  Jhoot bolna tumhari specificalty hai'
Riddhima: Siddhant!!!
Sid: Hamesha jhoot hi toh bolti ayi ho mujhe
Riddhima: Kaun sa jhoot bola hai maine?
Sid: armaan
Riddhima was scared what Sid was referring to 'Kya bola maine?
'Woh tumhe lene aane wala tha na?' Probed Sid. He did not want to disclose the fact that he knew the truth or moreso wanted to see her capacity to lie.
Not realising what Sid was trying to do she retorted 'He is not back home he called to say he is going to come in the morning. He is stuck in some emergency'
Sid: Kab tak Jhoot bolti rahogi. Tumhe to jhoot se nafrat thi na, toh ab kya hua...
She felt a lump form in throat as fear built up in her. 'What did Sid know' She could run away now she had to know 'Kiski baath kar rahe ho?
'Sab kuch jo tumhe aaj tak kaha ... armaan
Riddhima face flushed with embarrassment. She could not hold up the facade any longer which she had built in front of Sid. It was time to come clear. She recounted the truth behind every lie she had said to Sid about armaan.
Tum khud bhi jaante the armaan kaisa tha '''.. uspe depend karna yaane '''. He never seemed serious enough towards work ...ek theek thak doctor tha ... but constantly preoccupied with something or the other... Delhi se aane ke baad Dr Kirti ne bhi usse warning di thi but no use uske bachkane harkate chalti rahi ''' aur phir jab ''' Dr. Kirti ke jaane ke baad saara kaam mujhe pe aa gaya ''.. wapis wohi responsibilities was never my problem par armaan
Riddhima: Tension kaise na lu... armaan tumhe tumhare kaam mein dhyaan dena padega ... Jab Dr Kirti thi toh sab kuch different tha... but now that I am the disciplariain the management will monitor both of us closely ...
'Sab theek hai armaan theek hai who hota hai toh sab kuch kitne aasani se handle kar leta hai ki mujhe tension lene ki zaroorat nahi hoti hai '
'uske demands ko handle karna bahoot muskhil hota jaa raha tha''.. how much ever attention i gave him it was always less... '
armaan: Kaam karo kaam pe dyaan do kaam kaam kaam ... uske alava kuch bhi nahi sochti tum ... mere liye toh bilkul waqt nahi hai ... you just don't care
Riddhima: karti hoon armaan ... i do care ... isiliye main keh rahi hoon dhyaan do kaam pe ... armaan we are doctors
armaan: i know I know we are doctors hamara pehli responsibility unke taraf banti hai ...aur phir tumhare liye tumhare career tumhare padhayi ... Harvard right ... phir tumhare family aur main toh hoon hi yaha pe ... jab bhi maan kiya toh aa jaoigi ...I seriously feel you don't love me anymore ... I was just an option for you ...
'woh hamesha kuch na kuch karta mera attention seek karne ke liye ...uska charming attitude ya phir kuch shararat ya phir kuch aur ...aur agar usse roko toh ''''
armaan: Mere saare plan pe paani pher diya tumne bahoot khush ho na ''..
Riddhima: armaan!!! kuch bhi bole jaa rahe ho ... tumhe kya lagta hai ...
armaan: mujhe kya lagta hai ... uski fikar nahi hai ... kal maine itne pyaar se kitni mehenat se tumhare liye party arrange ki thi ...
Riddhima: armaan you were doing that during your duty hours...
armaan: woh toh main pehle bhi karta tha ...
Riddhima: Tab tum sirf ek intern the ...aaj tum senior doctor ho ...  interns tumhe dekhe ke hi sikhenge ...
armaan: Now all the problems are because of me ... uss din jab woh banda basket ball court pe duty hours mein khel raha tha woh bhi meri galati hai ...
Riddhima: Mere kehne ka yeh matlab nahi tha ... you need to set a good example...
armaan: Indirectly you are saying that I am setting a bad example ...thank you Dr Riddhima Gupta ... for showing me my place...
'Usse lagta tha ki I always wanted to prove to him that he was not good enough Due to his amnesia kafi miss out kiya tha career wise...and now even more due to his attitude ''' par usse hamesha laga ki hum sab usse nicha dekhana chahate the''' jhagde badte gaye ''' ghar hospital sab kuch complicate hota gaya '''. Har jhagde ke baad''' either usse manana padta ya phir '' woh manvane pe majboor kar deta ''.. usse maloom tha ki main uski poorani aadato se darti thi...
Riddhima: Anji di aapne armaan ko kahi dekha
Anjali: Haan woh ''' abhi abhi apna helmet leke yaha se gaya '''.
Riddhima: Ohhh no!!!
Anjali: Ab kya hua ''' wapis tumne usse kuch keh diya hoga '''. Doopair ko toh usne khana khaya ya nahi is pe chinta kar rahi thi aur ab wapis jhagda '''. God you are the pits ''.. you can really never keep anyone happy ''''.Pehle ''..
Riddhima: Di '''. Enough ''.. mujhe iss baat pe baat nahi karni ''.. sirf itna baata dijiye kya woh keh ke gaya hai ''..
armaan: Tumhe kya karna hai ''. Tumhe toh bahoot kaam hoga na '''' waise main sirf apni chabiyaan lene aaya tha'''
Riddhima: armaan kaha jaa rahe hoo ...ruko armaan ... please ...
Hamesh apne wild adventures ke silsile main bahar raha hai armaan ... uske in harkato ke saath sab kuch handle karna kitna muskhil hota jaa raha tha yeh mujhe hi maloom tha...  ek ke baad yeh cheez haath se chuth thi gayi ... pehle mera Harvard jaane ka sapna ... aur phir meri disciplarianship ... aur uske baad mere career ne aise ghanda mod liya ki sab kuch khatam sa ho gaya tha... 
armaan: Why are you making such a big deal out of it? Waise bhi ultimately we have to take care of Sanjeevani that is enough work anyways?
Riddhima: Do you realise that I am barred from doing surgery. That means before resuming I will have be certified all over again by the panel. And do you realise how shameful it is to be barred?
armaan: Its no big deal ''' galtiyaan hoti hai '''
Riddhima: Haan galtiyaan hoti hai but aisi galti maafi ke layaak nahi hoti '''. I am not upset for being barred as much I am for the reason ''''
armaan: Oh yes !!! and the reason is me ''' I must be stressing you out etc etc etc'''.
aur phir ... papa ki bimari ...aur uske bheech armaan ... galati pe galati karta gaya ... aur har galati ko ek naye idea se chupane ki koshish karta raha ... after all he was the charming armaan ...
Uska mann kaam mein nahi tha and ultimately he decided he wanted to do something in the creative field and I also just let go ...i knew it was no point...
'ab woh nahi hai toh pura kaam ka bhoj mujhe pe aa gaya hai ''. uper papa ki health '''. Sab kuch toh wahi dekhta tha '
Sid: Aur phir uss time se tum alag reh rahe hoo '''
Riddhima: Papa ke bimaari ke time aur baad bhi main Papa aur armaan ke ghar ke bheech shuffle karti rahi ''.. armaan ko achaa offer mila aur woh London shift ho gaya ''. who chahata ki main bhi wahi jaa ke rahoo par Mumma Papa ko meri zaroorat thi '''' 
Sid: aur phir uske ghar ko chod ke yaha '''..
Riddhima: 7 saalo se Papa aur armaan ke ghar ke bheech shuffle karti rahi hoon aur shayaad aise hi karti rehti '''''
Sid: Phir kyu ??? heavily suspicious about the reasoning Riddhima was going to put forth '''..
Riddhima: meri izzat ya mere rishtoh ke saath kya hoga uski usse kabhi parvah nahi ki ''' Kuch saach aise hote hai jo hum khud se bhi chupana chahate hai ''' par jab wohi saach ko koyi apne jeet ka medal bana ke numayish kaare toh '''''..
Sid read Riddhima's silence He could understand what must have transpired due to which Riddhima took such an extreme step after years of separation.
Sid could not understand whether to offer her his sympathies or to reprimand her Somewhere he knew she had not acknowledged that armaan was different and hence had unknowingly wronged him But again Riddhima's expectations from her life partner were not entirely wrong Maybe they should have spent more time together Over the nine months away from armaan Riddhima had indeed changed and so had armaan To adapt to each other and let the new relationship evolve maybe they should have given more time to each other
Sid: Shayaad tumhe usse aur waqt dena chahiye tha
Riddhima: Waqt Sid Waqt dena chahiye tha ...maine usse mera poora waqt diya ... Jo galtiyaan maine tumhara saath ki woh main ...
A dark look immediately crept on Sid's face which made Riddhima conscious of what she was going to say
Riddhima bit back her words while Sid hurried got up He just wanted to get out of there 'paani ...bahoot pyaas lagi hai ...'
Riddhima quickly got up to get Sid some water 'Kitchen mein hai'.. main latti hoon'
Sid: Nahi main leta hoon Tumhe chahiye ... paani, coffee? He wondered what he meant by that? He just blurted out anything that came to his mind
Coffee? Wondered why Sid asked her for coffee
'Cool main banata' completely misunderstanding Riddhima's response
'Nahi tum Baito main banati hoon'
Nahi ''. Tumhare knee abhi bhi hurt kar raha hoga ''. Nahi main banata hoon' without waiting for Riddhima's response he headed towards the kitchen to make some coffee
Riddhima slumped back into the sofa. Sid's sudden change in behavior was natural reaction of a person who did not want to think of his dark past. She had ignored him; his expectations, crushed all his efforts to make the relationship work. She felt disgusted with herself for having tried to compare how she did make an effort in her relationship with armaan which she had not done with Sid's.
'Par maine seriously sab kuch sahi karne ki koshish ki ''.. armaan kitna bhi jhutlaye par maine woh sab kiya jo ek insaan karega apne rishtey ko kamyaab banana ke liye'
armaan: Riddhima tumhari problem kya hai ... ? I know you love me to death tumhare dilo dimaag mein sirf main hoon isliye toh uss raat bhi tumne mujhe pass aane se roka nahi ... aur ab ... seriously problem kya hai ...
Riddhima: main tumhe pehle bhi keh chuki hoon please uss raat ka zikar hum kabhi nahi karenge ... please ... i just want to forget everything that happened...
armaan: Theek hai lekin nahi karoonga ...promise!!!... but seriously what are you so hesitant so nervous when we are together or when I come close to you Ab sab theek hai ... I am here basket and I will never go away. We are meant to be. Hum ek doosre ko paane ke liye bane hai toh kyu yeh duriyaan bana rakhi hain?
'See I will never force you to do anything but you are forcing yourself to stay away from celebrating from enjoying the glory of our love our reunion. Why are you doing this? See if you want we can go and see a counsellor ... Anji suggested we should meet one? Your issues which we are seeing for a long time now
Riddhima: Long time... we have been married for like 2 weeks now only ...
armaan: We have been in love for more than 3 years now...
Riddhima: 3???
armaan: We courted for 2 years and even when you were ... i mean married to Sid you were still only in love with me ... and we have been intimate before.
Riddhima: armaan !!! ... you are doing it again ...
armaan: I am not ... we were quite intimate before also ... that is why Anji and I were thinking that maybe your ... with ...
Riddhima: Sid ko beech mein laane ki koi zaroorat nahi hai ...
armaan: Sid ko bheech mein mat lao ... you don't have to feel guilty for him ... he was living in a fool's paradise and so you did not betray him ...  cause he should have known there is nothing that can come inbetween our love.
Riddhima: armaan enough ... seriously enough ...
armaan: seriously Riddhima main tumhara pyaar mehsoos hi nahi kar paa raha hoon in dino ...
Riddhima: actually armaan ... you know what I really don't know ... things have changed I have changed ... and our love ...
armaan: that will never change ... we will always be the same ... armaan aur Riddhima ka naam hamesha ek saath liya jayega...
Riddhima: armaan actually ... I really don't think I love you just like I used to ...
armaan: I know Riddhima ... today it's ten million zillion times more ... and that is why I feel you are restraining yourself ... So its decided we will meet a counsellor soon ... and if you don't want to then ... I can counsel you myself also methods will be more practical than just talking ... .. waise I will be a very good and charming counsellor ... Should we start our first session right now? I think we should ...
'armaan ke har khwaish puri ki uss raat maine ... aur ...'

Author's Note

Firstly a million thanks to Nami for helping me edit the most important dialogues in the previous update.
Time had weathered her ever so soft creamy complexion It now seemed a little rough and translucent covered with fine lines. Her eyes which were captivating and attractive which once spoke volumes were now filled with despair and sorrow and a sense of guilt. Sid was amazed with himself as to how he is still able to read her eyes.

Without her they would not be the same. You are indeed an awesome writer yourself. Thank you once again.

As for this update I would like to thank all those who had to go through the torture of reading and re-reading the edits. Thank you Miss Cullens and Pragzie

This part might be quite disturbing for many. I apologise for it. If any of you feel that Riddhima's feelings as a character and more importantly as a woman are inappropriate I am sorry for that. This is just my view of how the character would have reacted. Under no circumstance I am not hinting this behaviour is dominant in women any generalisation. I hold them in high regard and would not think so.

I am going to post the upcoming update  ... I know many are young but you do read and mine is not at all explicit but disturbing yes... nonetheless I will post it because I cannot monitor all Hence, I will request reader's discretion.

As this part is quite disturbing I would request all to stop reading if you think its going out of hand.

Please read the author's note above before reading this part
As this part is quite disturbing I would request reader's discretion and all to stop reading if you think its going out of hand.
Please note - These are purely Riddhima's thoughts and memories.

Part 77

She had been sitting there crouched up in the shower for a long time now. Mostly composed, at times agitated. The water ran over her body freely as she had allowed his hands that night. Her reaction today was no different than what she had felt the morning after that fateful night. The images of the night spent with him had come rushing back to her. She wanted to wipe out those moments and instinctively her had hands moved to erase them from the mirror in front of her forever.
Now also the images of the previous night were tormenting her. She shuddered as they flashed through her mind. She wanted to get rid of them erase them; destroy them and her hands yet again moved to try wiping out their existence from her life. She scrubbed her body hard till it felt sore. That pain was much better than the pain her heart went through when those memories were being created. That night was evoking many emotions in her. What did she feel ...?
'I feel so drained!!! But it's normal to feel so but lifeless. That is not an emotion associated with the act. In fact it leads to creating a life. I was supposed to have been celebrating love last night.'
The person whom she had once loved more than her own life had claimed her the previous night.
'It should have been the most exhilarating moment of my life evoking the most pure emotion - love Yet then why do I feel so ...'.
She had been sitting like this for a couple of hours. The cold water from the shower still ran freely. Yet she did not get enough of it. She hoped the water would wash away all that she felt that night on her body, in her heart and more on her soul ...
'His every touch was making an everlasting wound. That was definitely not love for me. When he was claiming me I felt as if I was corrupting myself. Even though I had given my consent yet I was feeling being violated. My heart being ripped apart my soul being tainted!!!'
She continued to sit there letting the water run over her body till she could not feel herself no more.
That was their first night together She knew there were many more to come.
'I could not have behaved like that always I needed to come to terms with the realities of my life I had to make the effort I would have made that effort I did make that effort'
She would do the small talk at the dinner table or at times in his arms when actually all that she wanted to do was run to a dark corner of the house and cry her heart out.
armaan: 'I am sure tum aaj ki shyam tum kabhi nahi bhul sakti '''..'
Riddhima: 'hmmm that was a lovely dinner date You really took so much trouble'
armaan: 'You know why I did all this ''' cause I love you Basket '''.'
Riddhima: 'hmmm '''
armaan: 'But somehow I don't feel you love me'
Riddhima: 'hmmm huhhh ''. Nahi armaan I do ''.. I do love you'
armaan: 'I know you love me but I was just teasing you'
Riddhima: 'Shut up armaan ''' kuch bhi bholte rehte ho ''.of course '' I ''love '.. you'
'I was getting tired of reaffirming that love to him Ek waqt tha jab maine armaan ko jee jaan se pyaar kiya tha Pyaar mein insaan khud ko kho ke apne aap ko pehechanta hai lekin main uss guzare hua pyaar ko saabit kartey kartey khud ki pehechan bhulti jaa rahi thi '.. apni duniya sabhalte sabhalte sab se kat si jaa rahi thi'
Riddhima stood in front of the mirror in the changing room looking at her reflection. Her stare; long and hard. She often did that standing in front of the mirror. She would attempt to introspect and to understand herself. If possible to find the Riddhima Gupta in her.
She had slowly and steadily hardened over time that now even she could not break in to understand the person she saw in the mirror ahead.
All that she found was a woman staring back at her whom she could not recognize.
These changes were not going unnoticed.
Anjali: Main tumhe poore hospital mein dhoondh rahi thi aur tum yaha ho '''..
Riddhima: Sorry Di ''.. main kuch ''..
Anjali: woh chodo ... armaan tumhe dhoondh raha tha ''. Kuch gift dena ya lene ki baat kar raha tha''.. God he is so upset that he will be away uper se tum bhi gayab thi ''' ohhh
Riddhima: Main ek meeting main busy thi uss waqt '''' later I met him ''' and he has gotten his gift.
Anjali: Riddhima ''are you alright? Is everything fine?
Riddhima: hmmm
Anjali: I know all is fine between the two of you From the looks of it all ' but then why I feel something somewhere is totally amiss I feel somewhere I have lost my Ridzy over these years'. Kya baat hai ...? Would you like to talk?
Riddhima: Kuch nahi hai Di Everything is fine
Anjali: See even armaan said you seem fine there is nothing to worry but I feel tum ek dum katti katti rehne lagi ho It is because of the work pressure increasing or is there something else''?
Riddhima: Kuch nahi hai Di Everything is fine You don't have to worry ''. Main chalti hoon ...todha kaam hai?
Anjali: Riddhima!!!   sunn. ''.. just use a little foundation on that '''.. nip on your neck '''.. I mean it looks ''' Do you want me to help?
Riddhima: Main kar loongi
Logo ko sirf sharir pe lagi zakhm dektie hai '''' dil pe jo kha rahi thi woh kisi ko nahi dehka sakti thi ''' Zakhm chupana sheekh gayi thi '' Pehle roke apne mann halka kar leti thi ''' par phir kuch mehsoos hi nahi hota tha '''' na dard, na takleef na gussa, na khushi na gham''''
Lekin akir kar har ek cheez ki had hoti hai ''. Meri zindagi mein mere rishtey aur mera kaam sabse jyada ahemiyat rakte hai ''.. lekin iss ek rishtey ko sambhalte sambhalte baki sabi rishtey aur mera kaam choot te ja rahe the ''.' aur phir mere sabar ka baandh bhi tootta jaa raha tha'' Aur phir armaan ko kya lagega iska kaise react karega uska bhi darr mitt gaya
Riddhima: armaan please ...mein bahoot tak gayi hoon aur kal bhi jaldi jaana hoga bhi hai aur most important kal papa ke bhi tests hai I need to be there...regular duty bhi hai ...
armaan: kyu karti ho tum itna kaam delegate karo na...ya phir hire someone else...Dr. Kirti Dr. Shubankar ...good idea you could ask them to join back will be good fun like old times... aur phir sirf tum and main ...
Riddhima: Nahi armaan '.. main yeh nahi kar sakti ''. aur iss topic pe main aur discuss nahi karna chahati ''. main soone jaa rahi hoon '' tum khana kha ke soo javo''
Riddhima: armaan uss ladki ke saath kya kar rahe the...
armaan: Jalan ho rahi thi na...mujhe maloom tha...
Riddhima: aisa kuch nahi hai armaan
armaan: aisa nahi hai toh kaisa hai ...nahin dekh sakti na tum mujhe kisi aur ke saath ...hai na ...say it ... I like it when you are possessive about me Say it ...
Riddhima: what armaan ???
armaan: Say you love me basket
Riddhima: armaan that's not the point ...woh ek intern hai aur tum ek senior doctor professional dayare mein rehna seekho does not portray a good image
armaan: What good image mein toh sirf ek prank khel raha tha ...tumhe jalane ke liye ...Mein tumhe bahoot achi tarah janta hoon...
Riddhima: Tumse baat karne ka koi fayada nahi hai ...
Poora waqt diya maine usse. Poora waqt!!!

Part 78

What had gotten into him that he asked her for coffee? But now that she wanted he would make it for her. Coffee ..... coffee ........ he kept mumbling as he searched the coffee powder in the kitchen. Ultimately when he found it he wondered how come there were no cappuccino sachets like the ones she stocked in their house. He had started drinking cappuccino only for Riddhima He hated the bitter taste but when she made it for him it somehow never registered. ‘I love cappuccino!!!’ ............. Sid get hold of yourself ........ ok the next thing ....... milk .........’ He opened the refrigerator to search for some milk and found only an unopened pack of milk. ‘Boy this needs to be heated before use ....... Chalo Sid kaam pe lag javo’

He had invited this work his way just to keep away from where the conversation was heading to but somehow he seemed to like doing what he was now – making coffee.

He quietly cut open the pack of milk to put it for heating and settled down to brew the coffee. Unknowingly he started humming a tune which he had heard that morning on the radio.

Riddhima trail of thoughts was broken on hearing the humming. Surges of joy spread through her hearing Sid hum a tune. She tiptoed towards and kitchen and stood at the entrance watching him

‘Done!!!’ exclaimed Sid shutting off the gas heating the milk.

Riddhima: yeh kya kar rahe the tum......?.

Sid: Coffee bana raha hoon? Surprised at silly question...........

Riddhima pointed towards the pot of milk sitting on the gas stove.

Sid: Dudh khatam ho gaya tha ....... aur fridge mein yeh tehli wala dudh tha ........ holding up the milk bag which the milkman must have delivered that morning........... ‘isliye garam kar diya’

Riddhima: Itna sab karna tha toh mujhe bol diya hota ......... tum kyu itna sab karte baite.......

 ‘No its ok ........ no big deal ......... apne ghar pe toh sab kar leta hoon ....... except heating the milk ........... we only get cartons of milks there .......... open and use ......... so it’s really no big deal’ Sid chatted as he set himself to make the coffee. 

Riddhima by then was oblivious of Sid’s talks kept watching him fondly make coffee. Trying to make sure that it turned out perfect.

‘par tum kyu uth ke aa gayi ........ Your knee must be still hurting...... chalo ja ke bait jao ......... mein coffee le ke aata hoon it’s done........ Riddhima ......... Riddhima!!! ‘ Called out waiving his hand in front of her face

Huhh!!! ...... Riddhima came out the daze ........

Sid: Kya hua?

Riddhima smiling away just nodded her head to indicate nothing.

Sid: Chalein!!!

Sid followed Riddhima into the living room to find that the candle was going to burn out very soon. ‘Bahar chalen ........balcony mein baithate hain’

Riddhima: ‘Channd ki roshni mein?’

Sid: Hmmmm waise bhi candles kum hain aur poori raat katni hai

Riddhima's apartment had a small balcony Sid shifted two chairs and they soon settled down sipping their coffee.

It was just matter of few moments and Riddhima was again lost reminiscing the good old days.

Those were magical days of her life. Sid had come home to check JP who was faking an illness and the lights had been turned off It was a new moon night 'Amavasya ki chand ki roshni mein baite hai'

A small laugh escaped

Sid: Kya hua?

Riddhima: Yaad hai ek baar tum JP ko check karne aye the tab tumhe kaha tha Amavasya ki chand ki roshni mein baite hai?

Sid thoroughly amused at his stupidity. Those were indeed the golden days of his life  Life was different then for him There was hope. ‘Haan aur kaise armaan ne jhooti baarish create ki thi’

Riddhima: ‘Uska bachpana kabhi nahi kum hua’

‘Hmm usme bachpana bahoot tha He would have been a fun father’ He naively commented going with the flow of the conversation.

Riddhima: Hmmm

Suddenly realising what he had said he quickly started making amends. ‘I am sorry....... mujhe...........

Riddhima: Sorry?

Sid: woh ............. tumhare baache nahi ...........

Padma: Shayaad ek baar baache ki zimedari aaye toh woh kudh bhi zimedaar ban jayega Riddhima
Riddhima: Nahi mumma ....abhi main uske baare mein sochna bhi nahi chahati
armaan: Baache ke baare mein kaise soch sakte hain ......Right Riddhima !!!
Padma: armaan tum kab aye tum baito mein tumhare liye chai laati hoon
armaan: So Riddhima baache!!! ...... Bache hone ke liye husband wife ko ek saath reh padega aur .....
Riddhima: armaan!!!!
armaan: Oh yes!!! we are not prepared for parenthood.......... Itne saare problems ko hai .... Main career change kiya hai ......... financial support hona chahiya ........ tumhara career etc etc etc sab bahane hai .....tum toh kabhi hamare relationship mein initiative bhi nahi leti toh baache kaise honge???

Riddhima: armaan !!!

Riddhima: Bahoot muskhilo ke baad jo hum saath aaye the ...... woh nahi chahata tha ki koi hamare beech aaye ...... he wanted to enjoy his married life........ woh toh kissi problem ko toh kabhi seriously nahi liya .......... aur phir jab usse ....jaane do ........

Sid could see a flash of disgust on Riddhima’s face as she spoke about armaan and his attitude. But then that was true there had been close to losing each other Maybe he just wanted to bask and rejoice their reunion. But maybe for Riddhima the agenda was different.

Riddhima: Tumhe bhi toh baache pasand the then why did you not

Sid: Aaj bhi shayaad amavasya raat hai?

Riddhima understood that Sid did not want to talk about his life with her. After her betrayal he possibly could not trust anyone I think he is scared to let anyone close to him’

Riddhima: Nahi it’s just the fourth day from new moon

Sid: Coffee theek hai?

Riddhima: Hmm bahoot achi bana lete ho

Sid: Khana bhi acha bana leta hoon ab........... namak ke bajay cheeni nahi dalta ......... laughed remembering the time when he messed up food

Riddhima: Sirf pre-made food khate ho toh galti kar bhi kaise sakte ho

Sid: Aisa kuch nahi ............... but par tumhe kaise bata chala main premade khana khata hoon?

Riddhima: Juhi ne bataya

Sid: Juhi bhi na ............ ek baar usse khana banake khilana padega ........ toh hi woh meri badnami karna bandh karegi

Juhi’s mention seemed to sting Riddhima. ‘Juhi right !!!’ How much she hated her since she had seen Sid and Juhi together.  Now also he was more bothered about what Juhi’s opinion about him

Sid: Actually I am mostly out to get work done so don't want to hassle myself with cooking and cleaning

Riddhima: Kaam? Tumhare dost ke liye ......

Sid: Hmmm

Once again her chance to find out and she was not going to let it go this time round. Who was so important that Sid came down after 10 years Riddhima: Tumne bataya nahi Kaun thi woh

Sid nonchalantly replied ‘Tum usse penchanti nahi’ not wanting to take the conversation towards Shilpa Riddhima had wronged her and now she did not have reason to know anything about Shilpa or Rohan.

Riddhima: aur woh dost tumhari ........ kya woh ussi ka risthedaar hai ......... ?

Riddhima had set her mind on it. He knew once she set her mind on something she would not defer from her resolve. Sid closed eyes took in a deep breath and yet again dispassionately answered ‘Yes!!!’

Riddhima: Kaun hai?

Sid: Woh dono mere dost hai .......... sabse kareebi dost.........

Riddhima: India mein kaise?

Sid: Woh kuch saal pehle India aye settle hone ke liye........ Haal hi mein meri dost guzar gayi .......

Riddhima: Was she ill?

Sid: She was suffering from cancer. After a long battle we lost her.

Riddhima: What kind of cancer was she suffering from? Par ab bahoot improvements ho gayi hai ......... Sanjeevani itself has a specialised cell for cancer treatment plus Tata Memorial hai ........ it’s the best !!! Why ...........

Sid lost his cool which he was holding on for so long and lashed out. ‘Damn it agar maloom hota toh yeh kabhi hone hi nahi deta ........... tumhe kya lagta hai main usse chod deta uske kismet ke sahare to fight it out alone .......... to die a lonely death ........... Shit man why did this have to happen to her? I so hate myself ............ I feel disgusted ......... how could I let this happen to her?

Riddhima was quickly by his side. She so wanted to hold him and soothe his pain. She slowly extended her hand towards Sid who was sitting with his eyes closed as if reliving those moments of pain.

‘I just don’t want to talk about this Please ......... anyways kiski ko iss sab se kabhi farak nahi pada toh ab kya fayada unn sab logo ke baare mein jaanke............’

Those embittered words hit Riddhima. Sid's anger was directed towards her. It was because she had wronged him but had she wronged the person who had passed away. Did she really not know her? Whatever was the case her words of compassion were not welcomed. She quickly withdrew her hand and returned to her seat waiting for Sid to cool down.

Riddhima watched him as he just sat there quietly looking at the night sky. He always sort the others happiness over his. Other’s pain pained him more than his own. His friends were always special for him, for whom he could move mountains. Somewhere, she felt happy that her betrayal had not killed those innocent emotions in him. His soul was so pure!!!

Selfish motives never touched him and she had exploited those to the fullest but not anymore. He did not want to talk about his life then she would not probe about the same. For the time he was there, she would try to make it less painful.

For her the time she was spending with him was adequate. Adequate for her lifetime

Though time never runs in the reverse but they both seemed to only go back in time. Remembering the days gone by. For Riddhima it was her days with Sid. For Sid it was his time spent with Vishal, Rohan and Shilpa.

He turned to look at Riddhima and found her lost in her thoughts. That faraway look told the story of the loneliness she had suffered over the years. His heart went out for her.

There sat there quietly for a long time when Riddhima realized that Sid was not going to be visiting Sanjeevani any longer. What did he plan to do? Did he intend to leave Mumbai as he had mentioned to Juhi?

Riddhima: Tum kal Mumbai se bahar jaane wale ho?

‘hmmm ….. Panchgani’ Sid replied plainly. He wanted to meet Rohan and be with him for some time. Since he had come weekends was the only time he could meet him. He did not want to let go of this opportunity.

Riddhima: Tumhe Shilpa yaad hai woh ab wahi rehti hai Panchgani mein.

She remembered Shilpa out of the blue as the topic of Panchgani came up. Unknowingly Riddhima was taking the conversation where Sid did not want to go. His temper started flaring. He did not bother responding.

Riddhima: Zindagi mein mujhe hamesha gyairo se apnapan mila hai jo mere apne mere sagho ne nahi diya. Papa jo mere pita na hote hua bhi unhone mujhe pala posa mujhe ek ghar diya apna naam diya aur Shilpa ……… main kabhi usse saath theek tarah se pesh bhi nahi aayi lekin phir bhi usne mera uss waqt saath diya mere khayaal rakha jab mujhe sahare ki sab se jyaada zaroorat thi

Sid: Gyair !!!

Riddhima: Apne na ho kar bhi hamesha mera liye bina kuch kahe bahoot kuch woh kar gaye ….. Papa ne ek pita ki aur Shilpa ne ek behen ki kami mehsoos hi hone nahi di …….

Sid: Behen !!! He was trying hard to hide the disgust he felt for Riddhima at that moment. He wanted to know the reason behind Riddhima’s sudden compassion for Shilpa. What did she plan to achieve with this new drama of hers? Why was she referring to her as her sister when she never accepted her as one? And so he probed ‘Behen !!!’

Riddhima: hmmm..... Shilpa ne hamesha mujhe respect di mera khayaal rakha…… bilkil ek choti behen ki tarah …… woh ek bahoot hi special ladki thi …….. bahoot bura laga tha uske jaane ke samay ……. Uske liye bhi kuch nahi kar paayi main …….. lekin jaate jaate usne ek baar phir mere bina kuch kahe mere liye bahoot kuch kar gayi ……… jab gayi toh laga ki mere zindagi ka ek ahem hissa mujhse choot raha hai ………… Laga tha ki ab kabhi nahi miloongi usse…..

Sid: ‘Toh milna kaise hua phir ….?’

Riddhima: Sahi kaha tha Shilpa ne ……. ‘Kabhi nahi’ nahi kehna chahiye ………..  aur shayaad isliye ek baar hum phir mile ………… panchgani orphanage mein kuch emergency ayi thi Kaafi dino ke liye panchgani mein hi thi ……. Tab ek din market mein usse mulakat ho gayi ………. Bahoot khushi hui usse milke ……. Sab kuch badal gaya tha tab tak par woh bilkul nahi badli thi ………… woh ek bahoot special ladki hai ……..

‘usse bhi nahi maloom tha aise hame laga tha jab hum usse mile’

kya usse saach mein maloom nahi? Kya armaan ne nahi bataya .... Sid thought out loud …………

Riddhima: Kya?

Agar usse maloom nahi tha aur ab usse pata diya toh woh seh nahi payegi Yeh baat ..... Nahi kuch nahi .....

Riddhima: Kya nahi bataya ………..Sid tum mujhse kuch chupa rahe ho

Sid: Nahi kuch nahi ……..aise hi ……..

Riddhima: Sid !!!

Sid: Nahi aise hi kuch khayaal aaya……….. ki armaan ………..

Riddhima: Kya .... Ki woh armaan se pyaar karti thi

‘Hmmm’ Sid just decided to agree with that It was the only option available to divert the topic away from the truth.

Riddhima: armaan ke liye uske aankhon mein maine pyaar dekha tha …….. lekin uss waqt darti thi ki woh armaan ko apne purani adato ki taraf le jayegi ……….uske zindagi tehrav jo hona chahiye tha woh nahi laa pati …….lekin armaan woh tehrav chahata hi nahi tha …….  Jo hota hai woh ache ke liye hota hai ……..... woh khush lag rahi thi apni zindagi mein ……….. Tumhe Pata hai uska ek beta bhi hai……… Tum uske ache dost ban gaye the Kya tum usse bhi milne ki koshish nahi ki

Sid: Nahi ..... Nahi mil paya usse akhir mein …………. He was still trying to absorb the facts that were revealed right now.

Riddhima: Huhh ……… Sid answer disturbed Riddhima a little. It somehow seemed to pain her but why she could not understand. ‘kyu ……..???’

Sid: Yaha se jaane ke baad mein pehle internship phir specialization khatam ki Phir ek baad ek opportunity milti gayi aur main masroof hota gaya

Riddhima: Bahoot ache doctor ban gaye ho Your parents will be proud of you We all are proud of you

Sid: Aur koi khushi de nahi paya toh yeh hi sahi. And actually bas try karta to do my best for the patients

Riddhima: Itne saalo ....

Sid: Jaane do beete bate pe dhyaan dene se koi fayada nahi

Hmmm ....’ Riddhima wanted to know more but restrained. She knew her selfish intention were getting better of her but not at the cost of his pain. What she did with him was wrong but why did cut himself off from his friends She had never heard of him being in touch with JP and Jiggy as well. Maybe he wanted to cut himself away from all memories

The silence descended as they pondered on the facts that were being disclosed.

Yeh kya kar diya maine. Aise kaise main usse galat samajta raha ……… Maine bahoot galat kiya ……. Maine usse call karna chahiye tha ………… agar aaj usse pata chala toh koh khud ko kabhi maaf nahi kar payegi…………. Damn it !!!

Riddhima: Kya hua

Sid: Machaar ……… just to avoid further conversation on the issue he was pondering on

Riddhima: Andar Chale

Sid: Hmmm

They shifted inside and settled down. The tension slowly was easing out. Work had been their saviors. They spoke passionately about their work Sanjeevani its progress Each sharing their views. Though Riddhima had lost out on many opportunities she still was a good doctor a good administrator who could give any top notch doctor a run for their money Sid was happy to see that all was still not lost for her.

Those uneasy glances were replaced by admiration, warmth and compassion. They talked into the night till sleep overcame Riddhima Soon Riddhima dozed off in her seat peacefully while absorbing the angelic features of the man who was always her savior

Sid kept gazing at her as she slept and a faint smiled crept up on his face. It was none other than Riddhima’s beauty which was illuminating the room. She still looked as beautiful as ever. If someone asked him she was an ageless beauty for him then and now.

He kept gazing at her and soon he too feel prey to his tired body's demand and dozed off in his place.

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