Saturday, June 18, 2011

SR FF continued from Part 90

Juhi returned next morning to check on Shashank. The report chart indicated that his condition to be improving which came as a big relief to both Juhi and Riddhima. After a brief chat with Riddhima; Juhi headed towards the cafeteria to order a coffee for Riddhima. Juhi was surprised to see Sid there. One look at him and she realized that he had not gone home.

Irritated; she approached his table with her coffee 'Lagta hain tumhare ghar ka address change hoke Sanjeevani ban gaya hai…. Hain na?'

Sid snapped out of his thoughts 'Huh....oh!!! Good morning Juhi!!!'

Juhi: Tumne jawab nahi diya ....

Sid: Kya?

Juhi: Tumhare ghar ka address change hoke Sanjeevani ban gaya hai kya?

Sid: What?

Juhi: Forget it .... why did you not go home?

Sid understood the reason for Juhi behind Juhi’s irritation. Not wanting to talk further on the matter he quickly deviated from the topic 'Aree I am trying to keep myself injury free I know I work for a hospital and I will get treated free but I do not want to become a laughing stock you see'

Juhi: What !!!

Sid: Ya you will keep smacking me if work is not done and done well that is why I was trying to get a hang of the stuff. I was just meeting up with the staff understanding the way around?

Juhi: All night?

Sid: Yes I need to prove that I am a very hard working doctor who would be reporting to none other than Dr Juhi 

Juhi: Oh shut up .... getting more irritated with Sid's stupid excuses

Sid could gauge it but decided to just continue his with his excuses not realizing how it would sound to someone who was standing close by listening to their conversation and the effect was having on that person.

Sid: Aree seriously .... see the reason I came back is I want to make sure that till I am here no one has a reason to complain especially you otherwise I know what consequences I would have to suffer …….. Ab chalo Dr Siddhant is at your service Completely I am all yours Dr Juhi

There was no point trying to make sense with Sid hence Juhi left it at that Acha chalo ab ..... Said Juhi as she pulled him up from the chair and started pushing him towards the exit ..... ‘first go home and at least shower……….dirty man’

‘What rot!!!’ Smelling his clothes ‘I am still fresh’

Juhi turned her face away whilst making a disgusted face: Oh shut up you dirty man ....

Sid: Acha Acha I will quickly freshen up here itself

‘Yaha!!!’ exasperated Juhi smacked Sid at his statement

‘Aree not here as in not the cafe of course’ amused at Juhi's expression ‘I will use the changing room of course................’ The banter continued as they walked out of the cafe

A lone teary eyed person almost collapsed witnessing what transpired between these two

Riddhima could not handle the pain that came with those words ‘I am all yours Dr Juhi' Her world had come crashing down in a fraction of a second 'Woh Juhi ke liye aaya wapis’

Fresh tears pricked her eyes. She cupped her mouth to stifle her sobs and rushed out of the cafe towards the terrace where no one would seek her

She wondered if anyone did seek her Indeed not Not her family Atul did not want her near his kids nor Sid he was here for Juhi and may be soon not even Juhi would

She settled in a corner crying like a baby hoping desperately that the pain would ease out. In a desperate attempt to find solace she thought back of the evening when she had felt Sid's presence

Those moments when she felt she had found hope and life back into her life replayed in front of her eyes. The feelings that came with them were most previous to her. She wanted to hold those close to her heart. But then............. Sid walked away with just a nod to acknowledge her presence. 'Par uski aankhen ...... Woh kuch aur hi keh rahi thi .....Ya maine unhe padne mein galati kar di ......Shayaad …………Nahi ……aisa nahi ho sakta……...... She thought back hard Juhi and Sid's confessions again started clouding her mind and it brought even more pain along with them. Her mind kept throwing up arguments. 'He just was indeed only acknowledging my presence. Probably it was just sympathy for what happened. He came back for Juhi not for me. No wonder he never came to meet me.’

She closed her eyes tight to block out everything and tried to recollect that moment once again. Her heart was debating with her mind

‘Did he really come here for Juhi only? Kya saach mein main uske zindagi ab koi mayane nahi rakti? Her heart so wanted to not believe that. Her heart was trying to deny every word that Juhi and Sid had confessed and kept answering back to her mind that what it was telling her was not the truth. But somewhere her mind was throwing up effective arguments. Her heart resounded the same arguments when she first saw Sid after 10 years. The pain was enormous. She clutched her heart as if it would prevent it from shattering in a millions more pieces while her mind finally seemed to be winning the debate.

She sat there exhausted when she realized her phone screen flashing 'Mumma!!!' She numbly picked up the phone and answered 'Mumma'

'Main do minute main atti hoon'

Padma had come to relieve Riddhima and had called her as she did not find her in the hospital premises

Sid had finished freshening up and headed towards Juhi's office when he saw Juhi outside another office

Juhi: Welcome to your office Dr Siddhant Modi

He saw the temporary name plate His office In Sanjeevani It displayed his name He just stood there taking in that moment which was his dream once upon a time How he had wished to see it come true He looked at the office next to his The name plate did not read the name he always wanted on the name plate Two adjoining offices with the names Dr Siddhant Modi and Dr (Mrs) Riddhima Modi. Alas this was a new day of his life and so it read Dr Juhi Kohli.

With a bruised smile he entered the office and settled in

The sadness did not go unnoticed but Juhi let it be She continued with what she had planned

Riddhima met came back to meet her mother who was outside the ICU. She knew Riddhima must have not rested well and wanted to send her home Looking at Riddhima's condition her worry increased but there was something else on Padma's mind also armaan Had he called to check on Shashank's health so after delivering a lecture on having to take care of one's health she probed about armaan

Riddhima understood that Padma had misunderstood Juhi just the way she had of having informed armaan about Shashank

Riddhima: 'Nahi Mumma armaan ko abhi humne nahi bataya hai’

Padma: Par kal Juhi ne toh kaha ki ....

Riddhima: Woh kisi aur ke baare mein baat kar rahi thi

Padma: Aur kaun? Supprised as to whom they had informed

Riddhima: Mumma .... Juhi ka ..... Jaane do Mumma

Padma: Aur armaan

Riddhima: Armaan ko batane ki koi zaroorat nahi hai .... Aur waise bhi uske hone sirf problems badti hain 

Padma: Par Riddhima

Riddhima: Mumma please maine bahoot soch samaj ke yeh faisla liya hai aur aap sab jaanti hai iss sab se kuch hasil nahi hoga

Padma: Theek hai par

Riddhima: Par var kuch nahi Mumma maine apna faisla le liya hai .....

Riddhima left Padma to wait on Shashank and went to pick up her belonging from her office. She wondered if she should meet Juhi before leaving as she walked out of her. As she walked out of her office a wardboy handed Riddhima an envelope ‘Dr Juhi ne yeh circular aap ko dene ke liye kaha tha’

‘Theek hai’ taking the circular from the wardboy and opened it

'This is to inform you that Dr Siddhant Modi would be rendering his services on honorary basis in the capacity of Consulting Surgeon and would be heading the Neurology department and he would be responsible for the day to day management of the hospital in absence of Dr Riddhima Gupta and Dr Juhi Kohli He would be reporting to Dr Juhi Kohli during his tenure in Sanjeevani'

Dr Siddhant Modi ..... her thoughts wandered as she read the circular again he would be responsible for the day to day management of the hospital in absence of Dr Riddhima Gupta  ........ Dr Riddhima Gupta ……….. She looked at her name plate next to her office Dr Riddhima Gupta and a bruised smile flashed on her face 'Ek waqt tha jab yaha kuch aur naam hua karta tha Dr Riddhima Modi reminiscing the days when her name plate read Dr Riddhima Modi …. ............ mere zindagi ka saach kuch aur hua karta tha ………… Mr and Mrs Siddhant Modi How could she forget the pride that she took while announcing their name to the hotel manager ……. But this was another day in her life where the truth was something totally different. Tears started pricking the corners of her eyes She never felt so dejected with life. She did not even realize when she started walking or more like it limping towards the exit.

Vaguely observing the surrounding, acknowledging the staff whoever greeted her whilst being lost in her own thoughts.

'Aap ke pair ko kya hua Dr Riddhima?' Riddhima pulled out of her daze to notice Dr Abhay concerned eyes watching her ……… aap aise kyu chal rahi hai …… ?

‘Kuch nahi todhi si chot lag gayi thi’

Abhay: Kya main pain killer bhijva du aap ke liye ……

Riddhima: nahi its ok waise aap ko kuch kaam tha mujhse

Abhay: Nahi ……… kuch nahi ………

As Riddhima turned to leave Abhay called out again ……. ‘Dawai le lijiye .... it seems to be quite a painful wound ……. Waise ……… zyada dard sehna bhi achi nahi hota………

She just nodded to acknowledge Abhay’s concern How could she explain that the pain she was experiencing was much greater than the physical pain. Pain had become an integral part of her life so much that at points she had felt numb But it was never seemed so intense as what she experienced today She was about to start walking towards the exit when she realized where she was standing

That point which separated Sid and her by 10 whole years. The relationship had changed they had changed She needed to recognize the facts of Sid's life may be different He was seeking another chance at life at love at togetherness and so was Juhi The two people who were closest to her heart. She could not let her feelings affect them. They were happy and wasn't that what she wanted most And if the tradeoff for seeking their happiness would entail the pain of seeing her love with someone else then so she would take it After all love was never selfish Sid was never selfish He always staked his happiness for her perceived happiness He had suffered greater pain Now it was her chance to seek his happiness 'aur shayaad yeh dard sehna zaroori hai’

Sid and Juhi were working in Sid’s new office. Sid diligently was taking down notes while Juhi explained him something.

She waved out to Juhi catching her attention and indicated that she was leaving. Juhi quickly got up to come towards her when Riddhima just indicated that she was fine they should continue with their work and walked off giving a glance back at the two.

Sid who was busy taking notes did not notice the silent conversation and he continued with his work

Juhi continued to explain Sid all the details he required to know Sid diligently took down notes where required and clarified any doubts which he had. The worked for few good hours intermittently taking breaks every hour to check on Shashank

An entire update of 6516 words typed on my mobile here for you ………..Sorry for the delay in posting it and thank you for bearing with me

I am not quite happy with the end part of this update Riddhima Juhi conversation ….. do let me know your thoughts ………..

Love and luck to all

Part 91

By evening Juhi and Sid had almost settled major work. Juhi suggested that they go home after informing Riddhima about the developments Seeing Sid hesitant Juhi went to meet Riddhima alone. As expected, Juhi found Riddhima seated outside the ICU. Riddhima had already received the circular hence she knew about Sid was joining Sanjeevani. Juhi informed Riddhima about her decision to attend the conference herself and Sid taking care of the other duties.

Riddhima coolly agreed to all the arrangements and gave her approval.

Juhi: Tumhari chutti application sign kar do main submit kar doongi

Riddhima: hmm

Seeing Riddhima plainly agreeing to all her arrangements disturbed Juhi. She wondered if her calling Sid had upset Riddhima She needed to know if that was upsetting Riddhima but did not want to probe directly

Juhi: Riddhima I hope you didn't mind me taking things into my hands

Not realizing that Juhi was referring to Sid being called Riddhima assured Juhi that she knew what Juhi was doing was for everyone's betterment and she was fine with everything.

Riddhima was trying hard to fight the demons inside her She had decided and under any cost she was not going to let any of her feelings affect others.

She expressed her gratitude for what Sid and Juhi were doing. Juhi found this weirder. Riddhima and her friendship or their professional relationship never had such formalities. That's when she realized the possible turmoil Riddhima might be going through. She lightly broached the topic 'Tum theek toh ho na Riddhima?'

Riddhima: Haan todhi tired feel kar rahi hoon bas aur kuch nahi ... rest kar loongi toh better feel karoongi

Riddhima did look much drained hence Riddhima's excuse did not seem weird to Juhi. When Juhi checked with Riddhima if she should wait back, Riddhima explained that Juhi would be on duty and had to prepare for the conference hence should go home and rest. Even after much debate Riddhima could not be convinced. Juhi left to collect her belongings only after getting Riddhima to promise that she would take care of herself.

Sid was not very keen on leaving to go home but seeing Juhi troubled he decided to accompany her home.

The evening went peacefully as they cooked and discussed work. Sid meticulously avoided talking about Riddhima but finally the topic came up as they discussed Shashank's health

Juhi: Riddhima kuch theek nahi lag rahi thi

One statement from Juhi and Sid's mind was flooded with anxiety.

Sid: kyu ... aisa kyu keh rahi hoo?

Juhi: Bahoot stressed out lag rahi thi ...very tired ...I just hope all this does not take a toll on her

Sid: Don't worry ... Now things are getting better with Dr Shashank's health and waise bhi you are there and I will also try my level best that all is fine in your absence that is she need not look into administrative work

Juhi did not seem convinced with Sid's disconnected approach. She knew how important Sid was to Riddhima His presence mattered a lot and if he was to meet her once may be Riddhima state of mind would have been better 'Kya tum usse milne nahi jaoge?'

Sid: Juhi ... Mere milne na milne se iss sab kya lena dena hai ...

Juhi: Nahi hai ...

Sid: Dekho Juhi ...pehle bhi aisi situation ayi hai ...hai na ...

Juhi nodded understanding that Sid was referring to Shashank's heart attack

Sid: Tab bhi Riddhima ne sab kuch handle kiya tha ...aaj bhi woh wohi kar rahi hai ...aur todha stress aur tension hona lazmi hai after Dr Shashank uske pitah hai... Don't worry she will be fine once Dr Shashank is all fine

Juhi: But ...

Sid: But kya ...

Juhi: Nahi kuch nahi ...

Sid: Trust me Juhi ...She will handle it

Though Sid was reassuring Juhi that Riddhima would everything but his mind was very disturbed at the thought that Riddhima was distressed. Hence the minute he left from Juhi's place he was on his way back towards his destination - Sanjeevani ICU.

Like the previous night he stood at a distance to check on Riddhima.

The look on Riddhima's face did not get him any relief. Tonight she was awake. She seemed lost in her thoughts. Shashank's health must be bothering her probably and hence Sid called for the doctor to give him an update. This time the consulting doctor Dr Parikh came up along with the on duty doctor Juhi had informed Dr Parikh that Sid was tracking the progress along with her hence when Sid called for the reports he was more than glad to discuss the case with Sid. To Sid's surprise all seemed to be well with him.

Dr Parikh: I think we can shift him out of the ICU now.

Sid: Hmmm……. But maybe we should check with Dr Riddhima once and decide tomorrow morning …… what do you think?

On Duty Doctor: Dr Riddhima ...she is right here ... would you like to have a word with her right now?

Dr Parikh: That's a good idea infact ...

Before Sid could object the doctor beckoned a nurse to call Riddhima.

Riddhima was surprised to see Sid there with Dr Parikh and On duty in charge of Shashank's case. She wondered if Sid was tracking Shashank's progress.

The uncanny awkwardness was about to seep in when the doctor broached the topic

On Duty Doctor: We were just discussing Dr Shashank's case here

Riddhima looked at Dr Parikh and then at Sid expectantly, trying to understand the reason for three of them meeting and calling for her. Her father seemed to be coming along fine or was there some development she was not aware off. Worry took over her. Scared, she looked at Sid as if trying to search the answer to her question while Sid seemed to be completely lost.  He was busy raking his brains for a reason to explain his presence. His lost look perturbed Riddhima even more.

Dr Parikh gauged Riddhima mindset 'Dr Riddhima ...actually there is nothing to worry Dr Shashank is doing well now'

Riddhima: But then ... looking towards Sid questioningly

Dr Parikh: We were just discussing the case and taking his opinion. Actually I feel that Dr Shashank's health has stabilized enough for him to be shifted out of the ICU. We were just wondering if this would be fine with you and we wanted to know your decision hence we called for you

Riddhima: Oh okk  ...She looked at Sid for a moment trying to read him to understand his opinion who once again was looking down wondering what Riddhima might be thinking. He was worried that Riddhima should not feel he was interfering with her father's treatment.

Seeing Riddhima looking at Sid a top notch Neurosurgeon with expectant eyes Dr Parikh realised that Riddhima was not completely convinced that his presence was sort without reason. To get Sid affirm their earlier discussion Dr Parikh deliberated 'Dr. Modi is also of the same opinion  ... Isn't it Dr Modi?

Hearing his name Sid snapped out of his thoughts ...'huh ...yes I think it should be fine ...'

Riddhima was relieved hearing Sid's affirmation But his lost look was still troubling her She gave her approval 'If all feel so then I am fine with it'

Dr Parikh: Ok then that's great ...

Sid was pleased to see Riddhima slightly relaxed and excused himself and left from there immediately before waiting for anyone react

Dr Parikh: Dr Virat before leaving for the day tomorrow just check with Dr Riddhima and me once more and then shift Dr Shashank out

Riddhima: Actually just check with Sid ...correcting herself ...I mean Dr Siddhant instead of me...

Dr Virat: But ...Dr Riddhima we would need your ...

Before he could finish Riddhima cut in 'Just follow his advice ….. that should be enough ……. You don't need an additional permission for me then ……… '

Dr Parikh was surprised by Riddhima's stance and could not refrain from commenting 'Looks like you trust his opinion a lot indeed ...'

How could she not trust Sid? He was the only one whom she always trusted more than herself. Infact she maintained that if after God if ever anyone could never go wrong then it was him. She just nodded and excused herself. There was this sudden urge to meet Sid. She wanted to meet him once. She did not know why but she wanted to... Sid's lost look was still disturbing her. Also the fact that he was being consulted and somewhere she just wanted to know that he was indeed tracking the case. She quickened her pace to catch up with him

At the end of the corridor she managed to catch up with him 'Sid!!!' she called out trying to catch her breath 'Hi'

Surprised to see her there Sid just nervously greeted her 'Hi'

Unsure as to what she even wanted to know from him Riddhima nervously started put forth the question not wanted to prompt a specific response but to know his instinctive answer 'Tum yaha ...?

Sid's fear caught up. His presence was being questioned by the person for whom his presence never seemed to have mattered.

He had rehearsed the answer while they stood discussing Shashank's case and he felt he had to just blurt out that to make the lady comfortable.  'Main actually apna saman lene aaya tha'

Riddhima: Saman?

Sid: Haan ...woh Juhi todhi upset thi toh usse ghar chodne gaya tha ... oh maine apna saman aur car lene wapis aa gaya ...

The answer pinched Riddhima but like she had made up her mind she put up a brave front 'oh...ok ...kya woh theek hai ab'

Sid: Haan Haan She is fine ... Just kaam ka todha pressure ...

Riddhima: anything important ...I mean can I be of any help?

Sid: Nahi ...nothing really ... They were just some minor details which we sorted out while having dinner at her place seriously it is nothing so pressing nothing so relax ... Tum uspe dhyaan mat do

Riddhima was anyways not paying much attention. Her mind hovered over the fact that Sid had come back to only take his stuff after a peaceful evening with Juhi ...Juhi!!!

Seeing Riddhima lost in her thoughts and battling with them worried Sid.

Little did he know Riddhima's thoughts were nowhere near what he was assuming it to be. But human actions are guided by their assumptions and so he went on to assure Riddhima 'Main jaanta hoon tum Dr Shashank ko leke bahoot pareshan ho ...don't worry he is in good hands Aur maine unke aaj ke reports deke hai ...he will be fine in no time ... In fact in the first place his case was not serious ...I mean ...not so serious that he needed to be put under intensive care ... But they did it to be extra cautious Nothing else and now he responding very well also don't worry ...

Riddhima who was reeling under the pain of Sid and Juhi's evening's details was further fuelled by Sid's words ' aur waise bhi everyone is here to make sure all is fine ... You are not alone in all this ... You have the whole staff, the doctors, Juhi aur ... For a moment hope surged through her. She so wanted to hear those words. She was so tempted to ask him just to compel him to say those words... Aur tum?

Sid: tumhara parivar ... sabhi toh hai ...

Riddhima knew she had lost this battle long back. She just nodded to Sid's reassuring words. 'Main chalti hoon ... Papa waha akele honge ... '

Sid nodded and waited there to see Riddhima walk away from him. After years seeing the defeated look on Riddhima's face he had felt urge to do something that he which came instinctively to him years back. 'Take her in his arms and assure her that he was there for her ... regardless anything' But that was years back. Defeated by fate he resigned to his office.

That night both these individuals were forced to wonder what life expected of them. Both yearned to console the other but both wondered if they were wanted by the other. Somehow the pain from the sense of bring unwanted was far lesser the pain which they experienced seeing pain in the other's eyes yet could not gather the courage to walk up to the other.

That night Sid came back to check on Shashank again every hour but he made sure that his presence was not known to the person for whom his presence did not seem to be required.

Like on the previous days Juhi found Sid already there in the hospital. To avoid any complications and confrontations, Sid had made an early start. He finished checking on Shashank and made sure he was shifted out of the ICU and properly settled. After which he had made a quick trip back home to shave shower and change into formal attire all complete with a tie. He wondered if that was required but then thought it may be good to be a little prim and proper on the first day of his consulting services.

As Juhi set her stuff down in her office, Sid fidgeted with his tie. He was nowhere comfortable with it. Juhu found it very amusing but put up a straight face. After all Sid had been teasing her a lot about being a strict reporting doctor. She was planning to take her revenge today. Soon they were on their way. Sid informed Juhi about Shashank's progress and about his being shifted out of the ICU.

They both went about with the day's work. First Juhi introduced Sid to the staff and doctors and informed the reason for the sudden changes that were going to be in place for few days due to Shashank's medical emergency and Juhi having to attend the conference instead of Riddhima.

The staff and doctors seemed to accept Sid quite well though his image of angry brooding doctor had not left them. He was seemed to be at ease except for intermittently fidgeting with the tie. Things were going smoothly. After introducing Sid and allotting duties Juhi and he went through the various departments checking if all was proper and then finally settled in their respective offices to finish work on the various tasks and cases at hand.

Riddhima on the other hand had left to go home. But came back early in the afternoon to check on Sid and Juhi. Seeing Sid peaceful she felt at peace for a moment but then Sid's confession came rushing back to her. She hated the fact that he was so close to her yet so far now. The sight of even seeing Sid and Juhi's offices next to each other was killing her. But then her resolve to not her feelings affect these two stopped her. Since Shashank was coming along well yet Riddhima insisted of waiting back in the hospital and packed Padma back home. She did not want her mother to stress herself out further. Already she was dealing with quite a lot. However, there was another reason to do so.  Sid!!! Since Sid had started active duty in Sanjeevani there was an increased chance of him bumping into Padma which she did not want happening. Sid presence had raised a doubt in Shashank's mind and she did not want the same to happen with her mother. Also she did not know how both would react and what could the further consequences. To keep Shashank away from the hustle bustle he was shifted to the executive suites on the top most floors.
She sat in Shashank's room as he slept due to his medication when the sound of Juhi and Sid's blabber caught Riddhima's attention.

It was almost nearing 4 in the afternoon and Sid was thoroughly regretting wearing the tie.

Sid: I am removing this now

Juhi: Why?

Sid: It's irritating me

'Who asked you to wear one in the first place?' said Juhi laughing at Sid agony

Sid: I just thought it would be good idea to wear one. It was the first day that is why otherwise who would want to wear this ghastly thing.

Juhi: You ... no one else ... cracking up all the more ... aur waise tumhe hi fukat ka impression jamana tha

Sid: Why and on Whom? Now completely irritated with the tie he started loosening it

Juhi surprised at his action decided to pull his leg 'Nahi Siddhant not here ...don't strip here please

Sid flabbergasted with Juhi's allegations 'Oh crap I am not doing anything of the kind please

Juhi amused with Sid's exasperated expressions immediately stopped him and started tightening his tie 'Rehne do ...'

Suspicious of Juhi's intentions Sid asked 'kyu?'

Juhi: Use ayegi aur kuch nahi ... trying hard to keep a straight face.

'Aur kiss liye?' Sid suspiciously questioned knowing well Juhi had some mischievous thought in her mind

'Mere so very hard working aur obedient junior ko tag along karne ke liye' Replied Juhi with a mischievous smirk ' dekho ... aise!!!' tucking at Sid's tie

Riddhima watched both of the through the small opening of the door It once again pinched her but she felt happy and somewhere right also seeing Sid at ease 'Kitne khush hai dono kitne comfortable... Sid aur Juhi ... Shayaad yahi theek hai ...'

She continued to watch them as a smile played on her lips seeing the Sid's harassed being under attack of Juhi's pranks and jokes.

Sid: Chodo mujhe ... kaha le jaa rahi hoo

Juhi: Main ... Dr Shashank aur Riddhima ko milne jaa rahi hoon ... aane wale ho ...

Sid immediately stiffened 'Nahi ... tum jao main doosre patients ko dekhta hoon ...'

Juhi: Yeh executive suite area hai ... aur yaha bahoot jyada patients nahi hote ...

Sid: Ek aur hai... main usse dekhta hoon tum Dr Shashank ke dekh lo ... aur phir hume kal ke conference ke liye aur todhi tayari karni hai ...

Juhi knowing there was no point ... just agreed ... 'Theek hai ... ab chod rahi hoon ... todhi der main aa jaana ... Mere juniors time ke paband hone chahiye ... nahi toh maloom hai na ...'

Sid: Maloom hai ... yeh tie ke bajay ... chaar paanch sweaters pehen ke aana chahiye tha ... phir ... todhi padding mil jaati tumhari maar ke kilaaf ...

Juhi: Tum na ... itna bhi nahi marti tumhe ...

Sid: Woh maar khane wale se poocho kitna usse lagta hai ... Ouch!!! ... see that hurts still ...

Juhi: Jao ab ...

Seeing Juhi come in her direction Riddhima quickly went back and settled on the couch in the room and started pretending to read a magazine that lay there on the side table

Hi whispered Juhi ... How is Sir?

Riddhima: He is fine ...Sleeping now ... How are you?

Juhi: Mujhe kya hona hai ... main theek hoon ... actually nahi ... bahoot tired feel kar rahi hoon ...

Riddhima: Kyu?

Juhi: Woh hai na ... Siddhant ...irritating kitne sawal poochta hai ... ?

Riddhima was amused at Juhi's state. 'He is just trying to understand everything'

Juhi: Phir bhi itne ... budbud  chappar chappar ... kyu kiss liye kaha ...oh my god thak gayi main

'I know bahoot baate karta hai na woh ...' Remembering the times when Sid used to talk incessantly

Juhi failed to realize what Riddhima had said as she was busy going some reports: Haan seriously ... aur aaj toh haad kar di ... tie pehen ke aaya tha ... kitna funny lag raha tha ...

Riddhima: Tum uski kuch jyada hi kichai kar rahi hoo ...

Juhi: Maaza atta hai ... nahi toh woh teri tarah silent movie ban ke bait jayega ... kaam kaam aur kaam ... I wonder how he is going to manage everything ...

Riddhima: Don't worry he will manage everything ...

Juhi: Tum itne confidently kaise keh rahi hoo ...

Riddhima immediately got alert ... 'Tum ab Siddhant ki tarah sawal pe sawal mat chalo karo ... Anyways how come you are here?'

Juhi: Just to check on you and Sir ... I have prepared for the conference do you want to take a look at it ... I just built up on your notes...

Riddhima thought for a moment and sat wondering if she should do what she was thinking of.

Juhi: Riddhima ... aap dono ki problem kya hai ... hamesha itne jaldi apna khayalo ki duniya mein kaise kho jaate ho ... 

Riddhima: Shut up Juhi ... kuch bhi bolti rehti hoo ... main sirf soch rahi thi ... Papa ki tabiyat bahoot hadd tak theek hai aur conference waise bhi Mumbai mein hi hai ... so do you want me to go ... You both don't need to stress yourself out then ...

Juhi: Mother Teresa ... bahoot ho gaya ... hum manage karlenge ... aur tum sirf yaha shanti se baito ... you don't need to do extra work ... you are on leave to take care of Sir ... and you just do that ...

Riddhima: Nahi seriously ... I feel ...

Juhi: We don't want to hear what you feel ... just shut up and let us do what we have to ... aur no further arguments ... main jaa rahi hoon ... I still have to prepare for tomorrow ... aur Siddhant ki todhi aur kichai karni hai ...  kal ka kota aaj hi khatam karti hoon ...

Riddhima wanted to some time for these two together. Hence, she offered to go to the conference. Somewhere it was an attempt to make herself to accept the possibility of this relationship and try to nurture it if possible. It seemed more like a penance for casting the dark shadow of sorrow and loneliness on Sid's life.

Both these individuals Sid and Riddhima were continuing to fall prey to their own assumptions and destiny was playing it game well on them.

Shashank's health had stabilised almost completely. Dr Parikh and Sid both felt that in a couple of days Shashank could be sent home. It seemed to be a good option as the home environment would do a lot more good. All was fine yet Sid did not have a heart to go home. Somehow the thought of leaving Riddhima alone to deal with all this was bothering him. Like the previous nights, Sid stayed over at the hospital. He managed to catch some sleep as constant monitoring was not warranted. But the doctors had strict instruction from Sid to contact him immediately if there was any urgent requirement. The night went uneventful and again Sid make a quick visit home and was back in the hospital within no time.

First day of being in-charge once again in Sanjeevani made Sid a little nervous. The day when he first took over the responsibility of DO from Riddhima after the security camera issue flashed in front of his eyes. How armaan, JP and Jiggy had pulled off nasty pranks on him. Riddhima's anxiety about his administrative abilities and later her efforts to reconcile her rudeness and also her revenge techniques by making him follow her rules at home all were vividly flashing in front of his eyes. It was a bitter sweet experience which he would cherish all his life. He took the notes which he had prepared and walked out of his office towards the nurse station for the first briefing hoping that maybe that person who became his support during his first DO stint would make an appearance today also. Though he had come a long way it mattered to him to have her wish him once before he started. He waited for moment expectantly and then made way to nurse station to complete the briefing session. As usual he was a few mins early and he waited for patiently for all to join in when his mobile rang. It was Juhi at her chirpy best. 'Wish you all the best Siddhant... or can I call you Sid?'

Sid was a little surprised yet he preferred to be called Sid 'Anything you please?'

In that case 'Sid!!! Wish you all the very best...'

'Thank you Juhi …… by the way ……. Achanak mujhe …….. yaane …. '

'Sid …… kyu bulaya ….. '


'Aise hi ……mann kiya isliye .…….. chalo main rakhti hoon ... i have to go and I don't like my juniors starting the briefing late in my absence'

'Ya ... sure ... chalo bye ... take care and best of luck to you too'

The day went smoothly for Sid everything seemed to be a piece of cake. Sid went through the days appointments and had finished the scheduling for the next day. His shift had come to an end even before he realize. He was planning to get himself a cup of coffee before he could dig up some up to keep him busy when he realized that Juhi had mentioned about some presentation which she required to make a day later. He had gotten a rough idea but did not know the data for preparing the presentation. He had one option which probably even Juhi would resort to but he did not want her to be disturbed. So he sat down racking his brains when he remembered Juhi's friend Rahul from the management team. He quickly called him and set himself to work on the presentation.

Juhi needed to work on the presentation so headed immediately to meet Riddhima.

Juhi: I needed to work on a presentation for day after re ...fukat ka phasa diya ...

Riddhima: Don't worry ho jayega tum tension mat le ... Chal aa bait ...jaldi se discuss kar lete hai phir saath mein uspe kaam karlenge

Juhi: nahi nahi main kar loongi tum sirf mujhe pata de yeh sab data kaha milege '' and please iss pe tum ab argue karne mat baitna '..please mere paas tumhe samjhane ka time nahi hai

Before leaving Juhi suddenly turned back and questioned 'Tum ab theek toh ho Riddhima or do you want me to arrange for a jumper /shawl for you'

Riddhima 'Nahi nahi '' I am fine ' itni bhi thandi nahi hai ''. '

Juhi: 'Nahi '' subah AC ka kuch zyaada hi asar ho gaya tha na isliye poocha '''

Riddhima: I just thought of wishing you all the best for the conference ''.

Juhi: It's just a conference I am not going on the war front '..

Riddhima: Shut up Juhi ''. Tum seriously kuch bhi bolti rehti hoo ''' acha woh chodo '. Sab kuch prepare kar liya na '..

Juhi: Yeh sawal tum mujhe teesri baar poonch rahi ho '' What is it Riddhima? This is not the first time I am attending the conference

Riddhima: Huh yaa '.. nahi aise hi .. achaa ''.. all the best ''.

Juhi: Thank you once again '' ab main phone rakhu ''.

Riddhima: Juhi '''' Do you want me to do anything here

Juhi: Nahi ''. Siddhant sambhal lega ''.

Riddhima: Waise ''. Aaj uska pehla din hai ''.. as in ''.

Juhi: Whatever '.toh ..'''.

Riddhima: usse wish karna chahiye '''

Juhi: Haan toh karo '..

Riddhima: I mean tumhe ''. I mean he must be expecting you to '.

Juhi: kyu tumhe kuch message dena tha usse

Riddhima: Huh '.. nahi '. Nahi kuch nahi '. Theek hai '' I mean main phone rakhti hoon 

Juhi: Riddhima ''. Are you alright '?

Riddhima: Nahi '..Kuch nahi ''. Todha sukam ho gaya hai aur kuch nahi '.. yeh AC bahoot strong tha aur woh bhi poori raat '.. I will be fine ...don't worry ''.. bye take care ''

Riddhima: Kuch bhi '.. nahi actually haan todha nose twitch kar raha tha nothing else '..

Juhi: Yaa sure '.. chalo main chalti hoon '''. Waise Siddhant ko mili tum '''

Riddhima: Nahi ''kyu ''..

Juhi: Oh '.. ok ''' nahi aise hi poocha '.. waise haan ' Siddhant ko aaj subah maine wish kar diya maine''

Riddhima: Haan '' ok '..

Juhi: No thought of letting you know ''..

As Juhi started to leave Riddhima once again called out to her ... 'Juhi'

Juhi was not surprised. Riddhima was behaving weird since morning. There was something playing on her mind and that was connected to Sid but she was definitely going to surprised at what was going to come her way.

Juhi: kya hua Riddhima?

Riddhima got up and walked towards the door where Juhi.

Riddhima: Chal I will walk you up to the lift

They started walking towards the lift quietly.

Riddhima fidgeted nervously with her duppata trying to find the right words.

Noticing this Juhi asked her again 'kya hua Riddhima kuch baat karni hai ...?

Riddhima: Nahi ...actually Haan !!! Taking a deep breath to strengthen her resolve ...'Tumne uss din mujhe kuch poocha tha kuch ...main uss hi cheese ke baare mein sooch rahi thi ...

Before Juhi could speak ...Riddhima stopped her ... 'Jitna main Sid...dhant ko jaanti hoon as in jaan saki hoon ...mujhe lagta hai ki woh bahoot hi acha aur saacha insaan hai aur ...'taking a deep breath trying to keep her emotions in control ... 'woh bahoot hi sahi insaan hoga apni ...i mean tumhari zindagi aage badhane ke liye ...aur tumhe uss baare mein soochna chahiye ...tum ...

Juhi by now was flabbergasted by Riddhima's thoughts ... Riddhima !!!

Riddhima: I mean woh aisa insaan hai jo kisi ko dukh nahi pahoocha sakta aur tumhe bhi woh bahoot kush rakega iska mujhe yakeen hai ...

Juhi: Riddhima !!! Tum yeh '..

Riddhima: Juhi main yeh bahoot sooch samaj kar keh rahi hoon ''.. please ''. Soochna iss par ' please ''''

Juhi: Par Riddhima ..

Riddhima:  Main chalti hoon ...mujhe Papa ko dawai deni hai bye ...before Juhi could react Riddhima left from there

Riddhima's reaction thoroughly irritated Juhi She now could understand why Riddhima had asked her to wish Sid She was trying to push her towards Sid Frustrated with everyone she left without meeting anyone or working on the presentation Anyways she was so unnerved that she would not be to concentrate on anything By next morning her mind was again working out something To avoid a conversation she just dropped a message to Sid asking his help on the presentation and told him to take Riddhima's help  Little did she know that to avoid trouble to Riddhima Sid had already started work and had finished the presentation greater part of it

Wednesday evening Juhi returned to Sanjeevani after the conference to find the presentation ready Sid was feeling very tired so had decided to go home for a little while

Sid: Juhi presentation banaya hai tum check kar lo agar kuch changes hai toh main kar deta hoon 

Juhi: Nahi Siddhant seems very fine ... aur agar kuch hai toh main kar loongi tum ghar jao aur rest karo Bahoot tired lag rahe hoo

Sid: Nahi main rukta hoon tum check toh karo

Juhi: Tum jao na please

Sid: Nahi ...tum pehle check kar lo

Juhi: Tum apne senior ka order nahi maan rahe ho

Sid: Please Juhi ... Ab please ..

Juhi: Acha acha ...wait let me check it Juhi just to let Sid off she pretended to check and gave a sign off.

Juhi worked on the presentation for another hour as there some slides needed to be revamped keeping the latest developments at the conference in mind. Juhi had almost finished when Rahul dropped in to meet Sid

Rahul: Hey Juhi '. How are you?

Juhi: Main theek hoon '.. tum kaise ho '''.?

Rahul: Fit and fine'.. How come you are here ''.? Don't tell me you are still working on this presentation?

Juhi: Haan Haan mujhe yeh presentation pe kaam karna tha isliye mein hospital ayi thi '''. Par tumne kaise pata iss presentation ke baare mein

Rahul: Aree Siddhant ne mujhe se iss ke liye data mangwaya tha ''..

Juhi: Par maine toh usse Riddhima ki help lene ke liye kaha tha ''

Rahul: aree tumhari problem kya hai '. Tumhe tumhara presentation mil gaya na '' phir Siddhant ne Dr Riddhima ki help lo ya meri ''.

Juhi: Tum nahi samjhoge '' jaane do '.. par tum yaha kaise '..

Rahul: Nikhal ne pehle aise hi check karne aya tha ki Siddhant ko aur kuch chahiye kya '' but looks like he has left '.

Juhi: Haan but good he went home '' he was looking very tired '..

Rahul: You are also looking very tired ''. Fatafat khatam karo aur ghar jao '''. Main bhi chalta hoon ''. Aaj phukat ki der ho gayi mujhe bhi ''..

Juhi: Hmmm chal bye ..

Knowing her plan flopping irritated her further. She quickly finished the remaining presentation and was going to move towards executive suites section to meet Riddhima and get her opinion on the presentation. She so did not want to meet Riddhima cause she feared all her frustration may just come out on her. But she really needed to get Riddhima to see the presentation and get her feedback on it.

As she walked out of Sid's room she bumped into Dr Virat who had come there searching for Sid.

Virat: Hello Dr Juhi ''

Juhi: Hi '' aap yaha ''kuch kaam tha mujhese '..

Virat: Nahi ''.. actually Dr Siddhant se milna tha''..

Juhi: Dr Virat ''. Dr Siddhant general shift main kaam karte hai '' most consulting doctors ''. But in case if there is something pressing you can either call him or I am here right now you would like to discuss the case''''

Virat: Nahi mujhe maloom hai ki woh general shift mein kaam karte hai par '' mujhe laga ki har raat ki tarah woh aaj bhi hospital mein hi honge isliye milne chala aya ''. Nothing else''.sorry '..main chalta hoon ''..

Juhi: Wait a minute '' what do you mean by 'Har raat ki tarah' ''..

Virat: Jabse Dr Shashank admit huye hai aur woh Panchgani se wapis aaye hai '.. har raat woh hospital mein rahe hai '''.. Pehle toh hume laga tha ki woh sirf Dr Shashank ko monitor karne rehte hai '' but he helps out otherwise also ''. I thought of just ''''..

'Oh My God !!!' ''' Hearing this Juhi was hopping mad. Juhi's look could have scared the day lights out of anyone and Virat was no exception. To save himself he excused himself immediately.

Juhi wanted to call Sid and fire the hell out of him but decided to get done with the presentation and then meet Sid if possible

She marched towards the Shashank's room. Riddhima was strolling outside in the corridor when she saw Juhi walking up. The minute Riddhima saw her she knew this was one of those rare day's when Juhi was angry. She knew that it was best to leave Juhi to herself instead of making her go over the whole incident which had angered her. Juhi also preferred to stay silent when she was angry. When she would cool down Riddhima knew that Juhi would tell the incident herself making a huge joke out of it. But today was different story. Juhi looked too grim and quiet. Riddhima went through the presentation and was surprised at the detail and quality of work. She sat there admiring the work and almost trying Juhi's patience unknowingly. Juhi was getting more and more irritated. 'Is it fine or not?' She almost spat out that question wanting to make a quick exit from there.

Riddhima felt that maybe the pressure of having to present at the last moment with hardly any time to prepare must have angered Juhi. Thinking that praising Juhi's work and dedication would make her feel better: This is more than fine ''. In fact it is an amazing presentation ''.. Well done Juhi ''' Cong'...

Before Riddhima could continue Juhi replied dryly 'I have not made this presentation ''. So don't bother ''.. Chalo Goodnight mein chalti hoon Bye'

Riddhima was completely taken aback by Juhi's behavior. Riddhima felt like she had never known Juhi ever in her life. It had now started bothering Riddhima.

Riddhima: What has happened Juhi? And if you have not made this then who has?

Juhi: Siddhant ...

Riddhima: He must have really worked for this ...without knowing the current working of Sanjeevani he has whipped up an excellent presentation

Juhi: and that is what I am irritated about ...who asked him to do all this ...

Riddhima: See Juhi '' he is just trying to help '.. make life a little easy

Juhi: If he was really trying to help then he should have done what I asked him to do ''..

Riddhima: See Juhi he is not the type to ignore work I am sure he must be having a good reason for it ...I have seen him working during the day ...He is really doing a fabulous job ...he really works very hard

Juhi: Have you been supervising him?

Riddhima: No no I just happen to see him working Nothing else

Juhi: Oh yes ... And you did not see the need to object ...

Riddhima: Juhi don't you think you are over reacting  ''. woh bichara tumhari madat kar raha hai aur tum uspe hi gussa ho rahi ho ''.

Juhi: No ''' I don't think so ''' I don't think I am over reacting while as for whom he is helping '

Riddhima now irritated with Juhi's allegations retorted back: Dekh Juhi ''.woh jo bhi kar raha hai woh tumhare liye kar raha hai ... aur tum uspe hi gussa ho rahi ho ...yeh theek baat nahi hai Juhi ...

Juhi: Tumhe sach mein lagta hai ki woh sab mere liye kar raha hai

Riddhima: Haan Juhi !!!

Juhi: But I seriously don't think so ''.. and I don't know what illusions you are living under to think so ''.. woh jo bhi kar raha hai woh either kudh ke liye kar raha hai ya kissi aur ke liye '.. lekin woh definitely mere like kuch nahi kar raha hai

Riddhima was hated Juhi make such allegations 'Toh kiss liye kar raha hai?'

Juhi completely lost her cool at Riddhima's ignorance. She could not understand whether Riddhima was faking it or she genuinely did not know either ways she felt Riddhima was at fault: Woh Siddhant jaane aur woh insaan jaane ''.ki woh kiss ke liye yeh sab kar raha hai ''. Yeh extra kaam karna ''' and what not '''.. Damn it ''' can't you guys ''. You know what forget it ''' it's no point talking ''''.

Riddhima: Juhi ''.. please '''. First cool down ''

Juhi: Main seriously chalti hoon ''. Agar Siddhant dikhe toh usse '' no I can do my own work ''. I will thank him myself for this presentation''' Chalo bye''..

A special thank you to Farrahdi for proof reading this part and taking care of all the punctuations which I so conveniently forget to put while trying to write an update on the phone

Thank you so much Farrahdi Not only for this but for bearing my dead talks which I do due to my stuck up mind Thank you for motivating me Farrahdi and all of you Neet Alisha Nami (you toh started writing an FF also for it Hug)
Also I wanna thank Farrahdi for taking upon herself to translate the upcoming part (only upcoming of now Wink) into English. Hug
Di waise I was thinking of Juhi just the way you asked me to and you know what it helps actually LOL

All in all Thank you so much all of you and yes I am very sorry for the delayed update. After scrapping the update (part of it) for the sixth time I said to myself lets just post atleast a part of it and end the dry spell and so here it is But I really don't know when the next one will be but at the moment here is 1 update for you all

Part 92

Just as Riddhima was managing to get herself to accept Sid and Juhi's budding relationship a new piece of information was thrown in her face by Juhi.
'Woh mera dost hai '

 Her mind was working overtime to understand the meaning of Juhi's statement.
She could not see reason behind Juhi's allegations on Sid .Sid's concern seemed right in it's place. Juhi was indeed very upset and that seemed to bother her more than the reason itself.

'Woh bahoot upset thi ...check kar leti hoon ki woh ghar theek tarah se pahooch gayi hai.'  She picked up the phone and dialed Juhi's number. After many attempts Juhi answered the call,
 'Kya hua?

Riddhima: 'Tum ghar pahooch gayi?'

Juhi: 'Haan abhi pahoochi. Kyu kya hua?'

Riddhima: 'Kuch nahi ...Yahi janane ke liye phone kiya tha. Nothing else ...'

Before Riddhima could continue, Juhi pounced on her 'Kyu?'

Riddhima: 'Tum itne gusse mein hospital se nikhali thi isliye tension ho rahi thi .'
Juhi:' Ek toh duniya bhar ki tension apne sir pe leke ghomna band karo ... aur agar itni hi fikar hai toh aap log woh fikar jatane se itna darte kyu hai ?'
Riddhima: 'Juhi !!! Yeh tum kya keh rahi ho? Mujhe tumhari fikar thi isiliye phone kiya na.'
Juhi: 'Aur Siddhant ... Usne khana khaya ya nahi ... usse wish kiya ya nahi ... Kya hai yeh Riddhima?'
Riddhima started getting scared. She had to be very careful with her words. At no cost she could afford any more damage than what she had already done 'Woh ... Woh .. actually Siddhant naya hai isiliye ...aur woh itna sab kar raha hai '
 Juhi: 'Kyu jhoot bol rahi ho ? Hamare yaha bahoot naye doctor aaye hai pehle.. unki itni fikar nahi ki kabhi ?'
Riddhima's fears were affirmed by Juhi's allegation on her.
'Dekh Juhi. Siddhant aur doosre doctors main farak hai .'  Riddhima in her fit of anger had almost  given away the truth behind her concern but managed to check herself.
 But now there was no escape from Juhi. This was the moment which Juhi had waited for. For which she had whipped up a bunch of lies to Riddhima. She now only needed to push Riddhima to confess what she felt and.
'Kaise Riddhima? Aisi kya hai ?
Riddhima: 'See... Juhi ... woh .. khaas hai .. khaas hai isliye kyu ki ...'
Juhi: 'Haan bolo .. Kyu khaas hai?'
Riddhima knew Juhi well. It was next to impossible to fabricate anything in front of her. It would only make her more suspicious and at no cost Riddhima could afford telling Juhi the truth. The best option was to assure Juhi about her best intentions for them.
'Woh ...woh ...tumhe ...tumhe ...pasand karta hai ...isliye woh khaas hai.'
Infuriated by Riddhima's answer Juhi lashed back 'Woh Mera dost hai ...Riddhima ...damn it ...Riddhima ...please for heaven's sake ...dosti aur pyaar mein farak karna seekho'
Riddhima: 'Main bhi toh wohi keh rahi hoon. Woh itna sab kuch tumhare liye  hai, isiliye toh kar raha hai.  Aur tum ho ki itna gussa kiye jaa rahi ho uss pe. '
Juhi: 'Seriously tum dono se baat karne ka koi fayada ... it's pointless. Bye!'
Riddhima: 'Sunn .. '
'Kya hai?' Once again Juhi barked at her.
'Kuch nahi. Tum please shaant ho javo. I can't handle seeing you like this .. please don't take stress please .. mere liye please .. please!'
 Before Riddhima could say anything further Juhi disconnected the call.
Though she was regretting blasting Riddhima, Juhi had an urge to still further blast her for her concern for everyone, while not acknowledging the obvious concern in front of her.
'Sid ke liye itni fikar hai par jatane mein kya jaata hai... aur kya tumhe dikta nahi ki jo kuch Sid kar raha hai woh kyu kar raha hai ? Kiske liye kar raha hai'? Par ab mera kuch karna halat ko aur bigad sakta hai ……… behtar yahi hoga ki woh dono apne feelings ko accept kare'

 It would do a lot more good to both their lives and future if these two individual would recognize and more so accept their feelings. But she had done her bit which seemed to have back fired and she did not want to push these two individuals against their wish or spoil matters further by creating further misunderstandings than what already had been created. Her reason was that she always believed it is best if people sort things out themselves.

Riddhima sat dwelling on the turn of events. It pained her that this relationship hitting the rocky path so soon. Unable to catch sleep she decided to take a stroll in the hospital to divert her mind. As she neared the ICU she heard Dr Virat talking to another doctor.
'Dr Siddhant hote toh unse opinion le leta so we could know the further course of action.'
 Doctor 2: 'Dr Siddhant toh yahi hone chahiye ...'  
Dr Virat: 'Nahi ...shayaad woh ghar se wapis chale gaye aaj.' 
He called the nurse to give her some case papers.
Doctor 2: 'Dr Shashank jab ICU mein the toh woh ek minute ke liye bhi ghar nahi gaye honge.'
Doctor Virat: Haan re. Kitne dino baad aaj woh ghar gaye hai. Unhe rest ki zaroorat thi. Char dino se yaha hai.'
Hearing the two doctors talk about Sid, the nurse could not resist adding her two cents.
'Pata nahi kaise insaan hai ? Bahoot kate kate se behave karte hai par utni hi fikar karte hai Dr Shashank aur Dr Riddhima ki ...uss raat jab Dr Riddhima ICU ke bahaar soyi thi tab mujhe unhe shawl odhane ko bola aur ruke rahe wahi par jaise tasalli karna chahate the ki woh theek hai .'
Doctor 2: 'Shayaad unke koi rishtdaar honge.'
Dr Virat: 'Par ek baar bhi Dr Shashank ko dekhne nahi aaye.'
Doctor 2: 'Strange man ... Pata nahi kya hai ...Par ek baat hai banda bahoot sahi hai.'
Dr Virat: 'No wonder Dr Riddhima ne unki opinion ke bina kuch bhi karne mana kiya hai.'
 The words were hitting Riddhima.
She stood there stupefied taking in the information and trying to make sense. She could not understand why Sid was doing all this. Was it what she felt was indeed true when she first saw him on Saturday?
Juhi's irritation perturbed her even further.
'Woh jo kuch bhi kar raha hai woh khud ke liye ya kisi aur ke liye kar raha hai ...  itni hi fikar hai toh aap log woh fikar jatane se itna darte kyu hai ?'
Kya Sid yeh sab kuch ...nahi ...Woh Juhi ka kitna khayal rakh raha hai ... Kitni parwa karta hai ... Usse takleef na ho isliye itna kuch kar raha hai ...But the conversations she had overheard made her doubt all her assumptions ... Kya Juhi kehna chahati thi ki ...nahi. Usse toh maloom bhi nahi ...She kept analysing the whole turn of events ...yeh kaise ho sakta hai woh ... Sid toh mere naam bhi nahi lena chahata ...toh yeh sab woh mere liye ...Nahi yeh ho hi nahi sakta ...
Reassuring herself Riddhima moved up towards her father room. She was constantly pondering on the whole thing. She had resolved to talk to Juhi about this.
The sight that caught her attention as she reached seventh floor where the executive suites were house shook all her beliefs and resolves.
The man in question was standing near her father's room with a file in his hand talking to the head nurse in charge of the nurse station.
Anger surged through Riddhima. How did she make this mistake of believing that she had read this person incorrectly?  She looked at the two people and immediately took cover behind the door till the nurse moved back to the nurse station leaving Sid standing there pondering on something. As she stood there her life with this man was flashed in front of her eyes and Juhi's words were ringing in her ears.
'For once be true to your feelings.'

She was forced to confront herself and now it was his turn. Desperation was taking over. She knew the truth but she wanted hear it from him. She would do anything to hear it from him. She had made enough mistakes but she was not going to make a single mistake today. Taking brisk steps she walked up to Sid standing right behind him.,
Sid felt his breath caught in his throat. A person whom he had so meticulously avoided since Saturday was there. Her presence was not a coincidence. She was there to meet him. Her presence especially at this hour perturbed him. Deep down he had sensed that she was there to seek some answers. Those answers which he did not want to admit to himself even. He would try to  avoid those questions He could not afford to let out the truth not because he wanted to run away, but because he needed to. This truth which never held any relevance in anybody's life except his would not benefit anyone if it was to be known after all these years. 
But he had to face this lady and her questioning eyes. He slowly turned around to face her.  
His eyes had a myriad of questions while hers sought only one answer. Yet she wanted to hear it from him without any prompts Hence she asked plainly,
'Tum yaha iss waqt?'

He could feel her gaze intensify as she narrowed her eyes as if she was baring his soul.
He turned his thoughts back to her question.
What sort of a question was it or was it one? Yes it was ...a leading one. But leading to what? Sid was failing miserably trying to assess why she was asking this. It unnerved him that she playing this game which he did want to be a part of ... He had to dissuade her,
'Tum iss waqt ...soyi nahi'
But Riddhima was not going to let it go so easily.  'Tumne mere sawal ka jawab nahi diya.'
Why did he even try? He should have known. But if she could be stubborn so could he.
'Tumhe itni raat tak jagna nahi chahiye ...Tum jaa ke sau javo ...'
But Riddhima was not going to bow out today. As anger raged in her she reiterated the question this time more strongly,  'Tumhe abhi bhi mere sawal ka jawab nahi diya'
Concern had not triggered this. He knew well what he needed to do.
'Main chalta hoon' 
That did it for Riddhima.  'Mujhe tumse baat kar rahi hoon Siddhant.'  
'Mujhe seriously chalna chahiye .. bye,' said Sid. Fearing she may corner him completely he side stepped Riddhima and started walking towards the elevator. 
Riddhima was quick to block Sid.
'Tum kahi nahi jaa rahe.' She pronounced the judgment.
Irritated with Riddhima's insistence Sid's anger started to flare but somehow he managed to calmly decline her.
'Riddhima bahoot raat ho gayi ...Iss waqt baat karna zaroori nahi hai.'
'Par mujhe karni hai,' persisted Riddhima, her voice seemed to echo in the quiet corridors of the desolated seventh floor.
'Shhh!!!!... Staff Sunn lege.. Please Riddhima'
'Theek hai .'
She walked up to an empty room held the door open and beckoned Sid.
Defeated he walked in and settled himself near a window at the far end of the room. He turned as he heard the door lock behind him. What met his eyes freshened his memory It felt as if he travelled 10 years back in time in a jiffy and there she was standing in front of him 'Tum kahi nahi jaa rahe ho'  He again could see the flash of that Riddhima which he had seen after he was injured with a ligament tear in his right ankle. But this was today and today the questions and determination in her eyes were too evident which scared him.
He could not meet her eyes. He turned away to look out of the window in a desperate attempt to try avoiding her, blocking her out as if he wanted to send out a message to her 'You do not matter'
He always did this and Riddhima hated this trait of his the most. But tonight she was not going to  let that unnerve her. Direct attack ...that always worked with him.
'Kyu kar rahe ho yeh sab?'

Part 93

Riddhima could sense the tension that was building up in Sid's body. She needed to push him. It always worked. She closed her eyes for a moment recollecting all the times Sid had broken down and confessed his heart to her. She took a deep breath strengthening her resolve.

'Kya main nahi jaanti Sid ...' Riddhima wanted to keep her hold on herself. She had been running high on emotions for too long now to control them and her voice had started betraying her. 'Kya kar rahe ho itni raat ko yaha pe. Kyu kar rahe ho yeh sab'

Sid: 'Toh kyu pooch rahi ho.'

Riddhima: 'Main tumse se sunna chahati hoon.'

Sid: 'Tum jaisa sooch rahi ho waise kuch nahi hai.'

'Aisa nahi hai …………... Kya yeh saach nahi ki tum aaj bhi ...'  She just could not understand why she could not complete those statements. One reason was that she always wanted Sid to complete it for her. 'Kya yeh saach nahi ki tum yeh sab sirf ...'

She felt like holding Sid and shaking him up. She just wanted to hear him say it to her once. But an unknown force kept her rooted to her spot. Seeing no reaction from Sid agitated her. So agitated that her body seemed to tremble like a leaf.

Sid noticed the change of emotions on her face He could not define but instantively he uttered her name. It was not harsh yet not soothing also


His tone struck her hard and as she felt herself mellow down a little.

'Keh do ...Sid ... ek baar sirf ek aur baar keh do ... ke tumne yeh sab kyu kiya.'  Almost begging him to give in and confess.

Riddhima's sudden change in emotions was unsettling Sid greatly. Somewhere he was finding it difficult to accept that Riddhima still affected him after so many years. He had conditioned himself; his anger towards her but this soft side was not something he dared to have. Even if he did, he could not show that he still had a soft corner.

'Nahi Riddhima, aisa kuch nahi hai .. Main .. Main toh sirf ...'

He fumbled as he worked hard to find a suitable reason. The look in his eyes hardened as the days gone by flashed through his mind. He had walked the difficult path of life alone only due to one reason and somehow maybe that was the reason he also felt the urge ...Maybe yes ...

'Sirf apna farz nibha raha hoon?'

Every ounce in her body retaliated as those words hit Riddhima. She lashed out 'FARZ!!! Kaun sa farz Sid? Kaunsa farz?'

'Ek doctor hone ka farz. Dr Shashank ...' much to his surprise he managed to reply coolly even as Riddhima charged towards him covering the distance between them.

Despite knowing Sid's regard for her father the mention of him today infuriated her

'Papa tumhare patient nahi hai!!!'

'Dr Shashank mere mentor hai, aur unke taraf bhi mera kuch farz banta hai.'

Sid's continued excuses angered her yet strengthened her resolve further. She would now do whatever it would take to make he accept it now.

Sid could sense the ever so stubborn arrogant Riddhima making her return once again. He was not going to give in so easily.

The war was declared and what remained to be seen was what lengths these two would go to. What was would transpire between them and what would happen Both were  indifferent at that moment of how all this might affect them; their relationship. They both just went with the flow lashing out defending provoking each other

'Phir uss raat tum kyun wapis aaye mujhe dhoondte huye …. rehne diya hota waha andhere mein akele.' Riddhima reasoned.

'I ...I ...was just...'

'Kyu tumne nurse ko kaha mujhe shawl odhane ke liye . Batao Sid ...kyu Sid ... KYU???'

'Main bol raha hoon na ...'.

'Sab kaam chod ke Panchgani se wapis aaye .. char raato se ghar nahi gaye ho .. aaj raat bhi tum yaha ho ... Yeh sab bhi sirf apne farz ke liye kiya? Jo maine uss din feel kiya, kya woh hamare beech ki saachai nahi hai. Ya sirf ek mrigtrishna ...'

'Maine kaha na ...'

'JHOOT!!! Jhoot bol rahe ho ..'

So she thought he was lying then what did she do all the time. That one allegation how much ever it was true broke all the boundaries of his endurance.

'Jhoot??? .. Jhoot toh tum hamesha bolti aayi ho sab kuch jhoot tha .. '

'Mere liye tumhari fikar ..woh saare ehsaas .. woh sab baate.. woh sab wade.. sab kuch jhoot .. dhokha .. ek natak. Agar main uss din tumhari baate nahi sunn leta toh mujhe kabhi pata bhi nahi chalta ki kitna pagal tha main. Kyu Riddhima ... Kyu kiya woh sab .. ? Uss din bhi tumne mujhe ICU mein jaane se isliye nahi roka kyuki main tumhari zindagi mein mayane rakhta tha, par isliye kyu ki main tumhari responsibility tha .. tum sirf apna farz nibha rahi thi .. Par Dr. Shashank mere mentor hai . Aur unse jude saare logo ke taraf bhi mere kuch farz banta hai. Aur main bhi sirf apna farz nibha raha hoon; Jaise tum nibha rahi thi... Tumne kabhi mujhse apnaya nahi ...Riddhima ... Kabhi nahi !!!  tumne hamesha mujhe chuna sirf apne farz le liye ...Agar ek pal ke liye bhi tumne mere liye feel kiya hota toh tum mujhe woh sab batati, par tumne toh kabhi mujhe apna maana hi nahi. Kyu nahi mujhe bataya ki tum tab bhi armaan se pyaar karti thi ...Maine kabhi tumhe force nahi kiya toh phir kyu nahi bataya ki tum armaan ka saath chahati thi ... Hamesha mujhse jhoot bolti rahi kabhi bhi. Ek pal ke liye bhi mujh par barosa hi nahi kiya. Na hamari shaadi ke waqt nahi hi uss din.'

'Aaj hamare shaadi ka din hai aur hamare shaadi ke din tumne aisa kaam karke tumne prove kar diya ki tum mujhe par barosa nahi karti ..'

'Maine tumse shaadi ka faisla kiya hai toh main tumse shaadi karoongi'

'Maine Sid chuna uski jaan bachane ke liye'

'Kyu Riddhima? Kya main itna bura tha? Bolo Riddhima... itna bura tha main? Kyu nahi bataya saach? ...hamesha kyu tum mujhe jhooti umeed deti rahi ki main tumhare zindagi mein mayane rakhta tha... Ki hamare beech sab kuch theek ho sakta tha ...Ki tum mujhse pyaar karti thi ...Kyu Riddhima ...Hamara beech sirf saachai chahati thi na toh phir jhoot kyu bola...Bolo Riddhima BOLO!'

'Bas ab aur jhoot nahi'

'Hamare bheech sirf saachai hai koi jhoot nahi ..'

'Main sirf isliye upset hoon ki tumne mujhse yeh baat chupayi … Sid you know tumhari sabse achi quality tumhari lagti hai'

'Main sirf ek samjhauta tha…  Ek farz ... Aur kyu na hota ... Akir tumhare zindagi mein sirf ek rishte ek insaan ki ehmiyaat thi.'

'Sid please ..'

'Kyu Riddhima ? Kya yeh saach nahi tha..? Tumne uss din meri jaan bacha kar apni zimedari apna farz nibha diya.
Sirf naam ka pati tha main ...Ek pati ke naate nahi toh ek dost ke naate toh saach bata sakti thi na'

'Nahi Sid aisa nahi tha' Riddhima begged Sid but they did not seem to affect Sid.

'Aisa hi tha... agar armaan itna hi mayane rakta tha toh kyu roka mujhe ...jane dena hota mujhe ICU mein jyaada se jyaada kya hota...main ...'

The mere thought which always managed to shake her entire being was going to be worded by him. She immediately lurched forward screaming out to stop him from uttering those dreadful words. 'Siddhant nahi !!!'

'Chillao mat!' Completely unaffected Sid lashed back. He had lived with those painful memories till date and the guilt still weighed heavy on him. This farce was did move him tonight.

'Aaj tak main iss guilt jee raha hoon ke shayaad meri wajay se kissi ki jaan jaa sakti thi par tumhe kya farak padta hai ...'

She was always affected by him. Though there was a time when she had been completely distracted yet it was Sid who always got her back to Anything about him mattered to her and hearing that allegations broke her. Tonight nothing seemed to hold her back.

'Mujhe farak padta hai...!!! Padta hai mujhe farak'

The whole nine months had been nothing but a facade created by her and hearing Riddhima confess tonight seemed to be just another attempt to mock him.

'Kya ??? Yes .. Of course ... Sorry I forgot .. farz jo nibha rahi thi'

'Mujhe farak padta tha ...' Riddhima lashed out again. She knew it was time to tell it all. She could let it remain unsaid tonight. 'Jab maine jiggy ko kehte sunna ki tum ICU mein patients ko bachane ne ke liye jaane wale the tab aisa laga ki meri zindagi khatam si ho rahi tha mujhe maloom tha ki tum ek second ke liye bhi nahi soochoge aur apni jaan ko dav pe laga doge patients ko bachane ke liye ...Agar tumhe kuch ho ...Riddhima stopped How could not word that thought ever? But she needed to make him understand. She took a deep breath as if to reassure herself that even if she did the Lord Almighty would never let any harm come on this pure soul. She fixed her eyes on him and she continued 'Tumne kuch ho na jaye uss khayaal ne mujhe poori tarah hila diya ...'

After all these years this only seemed a bigger farce. He didn't need any of it now 'Please Riddhima!!!'

Oblivious of Sid's indifference towards her explanations she continued 'Tumhara hona mere liye mayane rakhta tha kaise bhi kar ke tumhe rokna tha mujhe'

'Right ...Tumne mujhe chuna tha.. Right!!! Aur kis liye? Sirf meri jaan bachane ke liye.

'Maine Sid ko chuna uski jaan bachaane ke liye ..'

'Haan kyuki tumhari jaan mere liye important thi'

'Aur armaan?' He threw the obvious question which he wanted an answer for. If he did really matter then what was that she had for armaan?

As she relived that day, the fear and pain she felt that day again found its way back. Her past actions were catching up fast. She had to counter this direct question today; that too effectively.

'Nahi Sid ...Tab mere zehen sirf ek baat thi, ek insaan tha ...armaan tha bhi nahi waha pe uss waqt jab main tumhe rokne ke liye aayi'

'Kya karne jaa rahe ho tum Tum andar nahi jaa sakte ... maine kaha na ki tum kahi nahi jaaoge and that's it!!!'

'Please Riddhima bas karo. Mere hone se tumhe kabhi farak nahi pada. Kabhi nahi. Tumhari har ek baat sirf ek dikhava thi tumhara mere liye fikar karna woh mujhe kehte rehna ki main mayane rakhta tha

'Ek baat bolu koi party pe aaye na aaye tum mere saath hona yahi sabse jyaada mayane rakhta hai'

'Woh birthday party cancel karna'

'Sid main chahati hoon ki main apne birthday ki shuruvat main tumhare saath karo …..Sirf tumhare saath'

'Infact main kya …. main kya koi bhi tumhare liye important nahi tha Dr Shashank ko kitna kuch kaha tha'

'Itne saalo tak aapne jo kuch kiya akir jaata hi diya aapne …..armaan se badkar koi nahi hai … aap bhi nahi …… woh mera pita nahi ho sakta'

Riddhima accepted that she had wronged everyone at some point of time or the other. She was guilty of that crime. She just stood there quietly as Sid recounted every incident back to her.

'Tum toh JP ke party pe bhi sirf armaan se milne aayi thi ...'

' Maine soocha armaan se …. armaan hoga waha pe'

'Aur hamari Nahi… Tumhari aur meri doosri shaadi … Forget it!!! Tumhara sab kuch armaan tha. Sirf armaan ki fikar thi…'

She just could not take it any longer. She knew Sid had suffered due to her but Sid was indeed important to her. 'Nahi Sid ... Tumhara hone se mujhe farak padta tha. Tumhara saath, tumhara pyaar, tumse jude har woh ehsaas mere liye ahem the. Main tumhe kabhi upset nahi karna chahati thi. Har ek khushi jis pe tumhara haq tha woh dena chahati thi par'

'Iss karva chauth pe main apne aap se yeh wada karti hoon ki jis tarah aaj ki raat ek naya chaand nikhale ga hamare rishtey ki ek nayi shuruvat hogi Iss chand ki roshni ki tarah hamare rishtey ko bhi khushiyon se jugmaga doongi main'

'Agar koi important hai toh woh hai Sid'

'Main tumhe upset nahi karna chahati …..  Ek patni hone ka main poora farz nibhana chahati hoon'

'Tum mere liye important the aur isiliye maine tumse shaadi ke liye haan ki. Par honeymoon pe jo kuch hua woh ...

The guilt of her act still weighed heavy. Her head hung in shame as the memory of that dishonorable act flooded her mind.

'Uss raat se judi har baat har ehsaas nahi handle kar paa rahi thi main ….. nahi handle kar paa rahi thi uss guilt ko, darr gayi thi ki kya guzare gi tum par. Kya hoga hamare rishtey ka.'

'Kaise batau ki saach kya hai agar maine Sid ko armaan ke baare mein bataa diya toh toh hum dono ki duniya bikhar jaayegi'

'Tumhe saach batana chahati thi par ... Woh guilt, woh darr mujhe andar hi andar khaye ja raha tha'

'Kabhi himmat nahi juta paoingi main Sid ko saach batane ki …Kitna trust karta hai woh mujh par aur main kaise todu uska vishwas kaise todu main uska dil … par saach chupakar main apni zindagi ek jhoot ke saath nahi jee sakti …uss aadmi ke saath jo mujpar itna vishwas karta hai chahata hai mujhe'

'Hamare honeymoon ke baad armaan mujhe force kar raha tha uske liye apni feelings accept karu ...ek bhi moka nahi chodo usne. Teej ke din uska woh uska vrat rakhana khud ko chot pohachana sirf mujhe force karne ke liye tha ... aur gas leak ke din uske ICU mein jaane ke faisle ke peeche ek hi reason tha. Woh mera imthihaan le raha tha ki main kisse rokti hoon'

'Main andar jaaonga …argue karne ka waqt nahi hai … tumhari life bahot important hai kisi ke liye …'

'armaan ko main ek khuli kitab ki tarah pad sakti thi ...uss din ...'

'aur main kisi ko meri parwah nahi main hoon yaa nahi kisi ko farak nahi padta …main chala jaata hoon'

'Uski aankhen uski khamoshi maine pad li thi ...Baar baar hamare guzare huye pyaar ki duhai deke mujhe apni feelings accept karne ko keh rahi thi ...mera pyaar ka ikraar karne ko keh rahi thi  ...

'Haan ek waqt tha jab maine armaan ko khud se jyaada pyaar kiya tha lekin uss guzare huye pyaar ke liye main hamara aane wala kal aur tumhari zindagi dav pe laga nahi sakti thi'

'armaan ke saath zindagi … Nahi!!! Apne beete hua kuch palo ki yaadein phir se jeene ke liye mein apni aur Sid ki aane wali zingadi kharab nahi kar sakti'

'I am sorry armaan iss waqt main tumhe nahi rok sakti'

'Guzara hua pyaar? Tumhare dil mein armaan ke liye tab bhi feelings thi Riddhima'

'Haan mere dil main armaan ke feelings thi ... I really did care for him. Kitni baar usse bataya par … woh sirf mera pyaar mehsoos karna chahata tha. Aur jab nahi kar paya tab…'

'Shayaad meri zindagi ka yahi maksad hai doosro ke liye jeena aur aisa karte main mar bhi gaya toh koyi parwah nahi'

'Usse apni jaan ke saath kilvaad karte dekhna sirf isliye kyuki woh mere bina jee nahi sakta tha was making me feel guilty. Meri wajay se koi apni jaan de de woh koi kaise bardaast kar sakta hai, main bhi sehen nahi kar payi'

'Jab armaan apne jaan pe khel gaya oxygen ko rokne ke liye tab uski aankhen' ... her eyes told the story of the distress she must have felt that moment ... 'Mujhe doshi tehra rahi thi uske faisle ke liye. Usse laga tha ki uski kisiko zaroorat nahi hai aur uska chale jaana hi acha tha.

'Woh jo bhi kar raha tha woh meri wajay se tha ... Main kaise jee paati uss guilt ke saath ke kisine apni jaan meri wajay se de di aur agar zinda rehta toh bhi hamesha apne guzare huye kal mein jeeta. armaan ne apne faisle se mere yakeen pe mohar laga di ki usse kuch nahi hoga... Kitne bhi wade kar de mujhse par woh aage nahi padega.

'armaan ne wada toh kar diya par usse kuch nahi hoga'

'Riddhima I know kabhi kabhi mere pyaar jaatane ka tareeka kuch jyada hi intense ho jaata hai Par kya karo pagal hoo But I really love you'

'Hamesha apni yaadon mein jeeta rahega. Par tum …tum aise nahi the ... apni zindagi mein hamesha aage badte rahe. Kabhi apne kal ko apne aaj pe havi nahi hone diya hai tumne … Uss din sab kuch bulah kar jab tumne armaan ko bachaaya … Tab maine ek faisla liya …'

'Mujhe yaha se jaana hoga'

'Maine soocha tha ki main tumhari zindagi se hamesha ke liye chali jaoingi'

'Tumhari khushi ke liye, hamari zindagi ke liye woh zaroori ho gaya tha ... Waise tum par saare haq kho chuki thi lekin yeh yakeen tha ki tum mere faisle ki respect tum karonge. Bahoot understanding rahe tum. Tumne hamesha mere feelings ko samjha, mujhe sahara diya; ek saach dost ek sache humsafar ke tarah. Aur yakeen tha ki har baar ki tarah iss bar bhi tum mujhe samjhoge, mere faisle ko samjhoge aur mere har faisle mein mera saath doge.'

'Gas leak ke baad woh kehta raha ki koi problem nahi tha mere decision mein ... Bilkul sahi tha mere faisla tumhe chunane ka, ki usse bilkul bura nahi laga.'

'Main bimaar nahi hoon aur mar bhi nahi raha…thanks to Sid. Kafi achaa insaan hai. Ab mujhe realize hua ki tumne usse kyu chuna hai'


'Riddhima please tumhe apne decision ke liye guilty feel karne ki koi zaroorat nahi hai aur na hi koi explainations dene ki zaroorat hai … Riddhima I know tumhe lag raha hoga main upset hoon lekin I am I am fine I am sorry Bahoot tang kiya na maine Bahoot ladai ki.

'Aur aaj mujhe realize hua ki tumhe Sid ki kitni chinta hai. Main kisi ko hurt nahi karna chahata bas tumhe'

'Par main jaanti thi ki jo woh bol rahe tha uss par woh khud kabhi yakeen nahi kar payaga. Uske liye woh meri bewafai thi. Kabhi accept nahi kar payega aur khud ko chot pohochane ke tareeke dundhega yeh maloom tha mujhe. Papa sahi kaha tha uska pyaar kab meri zindagi mein musibat ban

'Jab pyaar had se zyaada ho jaye toh kabhi kabhi apno ke liye doosro ke liye dukh pohocha sakta hai aur isliye mujhe uski chinta hai ...'

'Mujhe bhi chinta thi …  Par kuch bhi karne se pehle armaan ko sambhalna zaroori ho gaya tha ….armaan ko bahoot bura laga tha ki maine usse ICU mein jaane se nahi roka …Bahoot hurt hua tha …'

Usse laga ki mujhe uski koi fikar nahi thi, koi parwah nahi thi aur isliye maine tumne chuna … Iss baat ko jhootlana bahoot zaroori ho gaya … Uski zindagi ke liye uski khushi ke liye.

'Main bas chahata tha ki tum apne pyaar ka ikraar karo. Mehsoos karna chahata tha tumhari chahat ko.'

Lekin aaj mera aisa koi intension nahi hai. Tumne jo decision liya woh bilkul theek hai Riddhima I know kabhi kabhi mere pyaar jaatane ka tareeka kuch jyada hi intense ho jaata hai Par kya karo pagal hoo But I really love you'

'Pyaar khudgarz nahi hota yeh tumne, hamari shaadi ne mujhe samjhaya. Par armaan apne pyaar mein sirf paana chahata tha… jatana chahata tha ki main sirf uski hoon'

'Aur aaj aaj mujhe realize hua ki main kitna galat Mujhe lagta tha ki tum sirf meri ho Sirf mera haq hai tum par Sirf aur yahi prove karna chahata tha apne aap ko Sid ko aur tumhe'

'Jab armaan aur main saath the ek doosre pe par poora haq samajhte the …aur ussi haq ki duhayi di maine uss raat … waise hi jaise woh mujhe apni pyaar ki duhai deta raha'

'Ussi tarah Riddhima ko lagta hai ki armaan sirf uska hai .. sirf uska haq hai armaan par….'

'armaan sirf mera pyaar mehsoos karna chahata tha … Actually armaan kabhi bardaast kar nahi paya ki main aage badh sakti thi. Main kisi aur ko apne zindagi mein shamil karna chahati thi, kisi aur saath chahati thi, mere zindagi par, mujh par kisi aur ka haq bhi ho sakta hai...'

'Pata hai armaan agar tumhari tabyaat theek na ho aur tum akele ho toh shaayad main who ek baar bardaast kar loo. Par mere patients jo meri zimedari hai agar unhe kuch ho jaye toh main unhe kabhi maaf nahi kar paoingi.  Theek ussi tarah jis tarah jis tarah Sid meri zimedari hai. Phere ko waqt maine vachan liya tha ki main main apne pati ke zindagi ki zimedari loongi aur mujhe … mujhe woh vachan nibhana hoga.'
'Ek patni hone ke naate mujhe Sid ki zindagi bachani thi, lekin tumhari zindagi pe mera haq hai.'

'Jaise patients meri zimedari the tumhe apni zimedari kehte usse yakeen dilaya ki maine tumhe sirf farz ke liye chuna aur usse nahi roka kyu ki uski zindagi pe mere haq tha'

'Riddhima!!!' The revelations that were coming his way shook the core of his existence.

'Maine apna faisla kar liya tha ... Tumhari zindagi se chale jaane ka par woh mera faisla tha. Sab ko apne faisle ki keemat khud chukani hoti hai par armaan kya yeh baat samajta? Nahi!!! Main armaan ko apne faisle ki keemat nahi chukane dena chahati thi. Nahi hi uske chale jaane se kuch haasil hota. Agar armaan ko saach pata chalta toh woh kabhi apni zid nahi chod pata … usse accept karne ke liye force karta ya phir apni purani aadato ki taraf chala jaata …

'Maine faisla kar liya hai ki hamara alag hona hi theek rahega'

'Isiliye usse yakeen dilaya ki uss se mera alag hona hi theek rahega.'

'Maine hamare pavitra rishtey ka apmaan kiya tha. Prayishit karna chahati thi uss gunaah ka aur mujhe yakeen tha ki tum mere iss faisle ki izzat zaroor karonge. Hamesha ki tarah mera saath doge.

'Mein farz ka rasta apnane jaa rahi hoon aur mujhe yakeen hai ke iss mein mere pyar mere saath dega'

'armaan ko laga ki maine hamesha usse chahati thi chahati rahoongi. Shayaad yahi ek rasta baacha tha.'

Riddhima decision irked Sid. 'Kaise kar sakti thi tum aise Riddhima tumne bilkul bura nahi laga ek pal ke liye bhi nahi'

'armaan ne bina kuch kahe meri baat maan li iska bahoot bura laga par aur nahi soochana chahati thi aur uss par'

'Tumhe bilkul bura nahi laga koi shikayat nahi kyu armaan kyu Yeh main kya keh rahi hoon Main Sid ki patni hoon Sid ki'

'Uski fikar mein maine bahoot kuch gavaya tha, bahoot ignore kiya tha tumhe, tumhare feelings ko, hamare rishtey ko. Bas aur nahi karna chahati thi apni yaadon se haatho kamzor nahi padna chahati thi'

'Is baar mein apni dil ki sun kar apni feelings ko apni kamzori nahi banane doongi'

'Apne beete hua kuch palo ki yaadein phir se jeene ke liye mein apni aur Sid ki aane wali zingadi kharab nahi kar sakti'

'Par meri kismat ne ek aur baar mujhe dhoka de diya ...Woh saari baate tumne  sunn li.'

'Jab tum aaye mujhe milne tab mujhe samaj nahi aa raha tha ki kaise tumne bataoingi apne faisle ke baare mein.'

'Tumhara saath pehle hi bahoot galat kar chuki thi aur tumhe aur galat nahi karna chahati thi Ek pal ke liye laga ki sab kuch pata doo tumhe armaan ko Tumhe aur dukh nahi dena chahati thi main.'
'Tumne hamesha khushi ka khayaal rakha aur uss raat bhi tum sirf meri khushi doondhte aaye ..

'Hume ek zindagi multi hai khush reh ne ko ...Riddhima apni dil ki sunno aur apne pyaar ka haath thamo...bhul javo mujhe aur apne farz ko'

'Meri saari bate sunne baad bhi tumne sirf meri khushi ki parwah thi ... Bahoot bura laga tumhare liye ...'

'Jab agni ke saath phere liye the tab chateh phere mein wada kiya tha ki hamesha tumhe khush rakhoonga aur yeh wada maine ek nahi do baar liya'

Tum jaanti ho mujhe mujhe bura kyu nahi lag raha kyu ki tum Riddhima Gupta ho woh ladki jisse maine sab se jyaada pyaar kiya woh ladki jiski main sabse jyaada respect karta hoon … Tumne jo kiya usse tumne armaan ko hi hurt nahi kiya mujhe bhi kiya hai … Bahoot guilty hoti hai Riddhima mujhe Kabhi kabhi bahot gussa aata hai ki ...
Tum khud ko doshi maan rahe the tum jab ki tumhari koi galati nahi thi ...'

As Sid heard out Riddhima's explanation anger surged through him. He was angry at their fate, his misunderstanding Riddhima but more on Riddhima for not telling him the truth. One lie had destroyed their lives. If only, Riddhima would have had the guts to tell him then life could have been different. Why did she not tell him the truth? He needed to know the reason.

Kyu nahi bataya ki main jo kuch sooch raha tha woh galat tha? Kyu Riddhima? Damn it kyu? Sid questioned her angrily. His anger was justified but she also had her reasons back then. She had taken that cruel decision which mocked their relationship and ruined his memories and his life. But how was she going to explain him the reason for doing what she did. She had always professed truth so how was she going to tell him that she lied?

'Kya kehti tumse... Kaise kehti ke maine armaan se jhoot bola ...Agar batati toh kya nahi batate armaan ko ...'

She knew Sid would detest the fact that she lied. Not to him so much as she she had to armaan. She knew Sid well. He always did the right thing. He would not have allowed laying the foundations of their lives on a lie.
It was her fate then to let Sid live with his perception about her and their relationship. That thought had broken Riddhima then but she felt completely helpless.

Her thinking was not wrong. Sid's question affirmed it.

'Phir bhi Riddhima humne decide kiya tha ki hum armaan ko aage bhadne mein madad karenge. Hum kuch na kuch zaroor manage kar lete. Par jhoot bolna... Yeh theek nahi kiya.'

'Kaise Sid ... armaan aage badna hi nahi chahata tha ...Kitni baar usse samjhaya tha par koi fayada hua ...Nahi na!!!

'Tumhari himmat kaise hui mere pyaar ko galat naam dene ki Main Riddhima ko paane ke tareeke doondoga Sid tum agar yeh seriously lagta hai toh tum riddhima ko kabhi jaan hi nahi paaye Jab tak Riddhima ke mann mein kissi ke liye pyaar na ho chuna toh door apne paas bhi kisi ko aane nahi degi But of course tum yeh baat kaise jaanoge Kyu ki Riddhima ke pyaar ko jaane ke liye uske dil ko chuna bahoot zaroori hai jo tum nahi kar paye isliye aaj tak usne tumhe apne kareeb nahi aane diya' 'karta toh samaj jaata ki who mujhse pyaar karti hai'    

Usse asliyat dekhni hi nahi thi. Tumhe lagata hai poora saach jaanane ke baad  armaan apni purani harkate ki taraf wapis nahi jaata... Apni zid chod pata. Nahi Sid!!!

Riddhima Riddhima ...Riddhima kaha hai ...'

'Riddhima yaha nahi hai armaan'

'Aur hamara rishta...? Kaise jaane diya mujhe...? Kuch bhi karke rok sakti thi ..???

'Dono taraf sirf meri hi haar thi'

'Tumhe rokne ke liye mujhe tumhe saach batana padta. Nahi batati toh ek jhoot ke sahare hamare rishtey ko aage badnana padta jo hum kabhi nahi chahate the'

'Hamare beech ek naye rishtey ki shuruvat ho rahi hai aur yeh shuruvat main jhoot ke sahare nahi kar sakti'

'Humne hamesha chaha tha hamare rishtey ko saach ka sahara de. Na tumne kabhi jhoot ka sahara nahi liya iss rishtey ko banane ke liye; toh main kaise leti. Kya ek jhoot ke saath tumhare saath ek nayi shuruvat karna kya tumhe gawara hota? Nahi na? Par jhoot toh waise hi bol chuki thi. Mujhe laga ki uss ek jhoot se tum dono ki zindagi ki saare problem solve hotey hai toh yahi sahi ...'

'Mere liye yahi Kafi tha ki tum apne zindagi mein aage bhadte; khush rehte'

'Meri chinta mat karna main khush rahoonga Hamare mere dil ke ek hisse mein tumhare liye pyaar rahega'

'Riddhima!!! Riddhima!!! Kyu nahi roka mujhe? Kyu?'

'Maine nahi bataya par tumne kaise sooch liya ki jo maine kaha woh saach tha. Hum ek doosre ko samajte the na. Toh kyu nahi samaj paye mujhe  ... Maine tumhe nahi roka par tum ...'

'Kis haq se rokta tumhe?'

'Tumne poocha bhi nahi shaayad itna haq hi nahi samjha mujhpar ..
..Itna haq kabhi diya hi nahi tumne ki tumhe pooch sako'

She always detested this fact of his attitude Riddhima lashed out. 'Pyaar karte the tum mujhse. Patni thi tumhari. Koi amanat nahi jisse tum kisse aur ke liye sambhal rahe the.'

'Kaise pati ho tum khud apni patni ko ……Riddhima please Mom ke khatir….. Nahi Sid yeh mujhse nahi hoga'

'Hamesha mujhe armaan ki taraf dhakhel te rahe. Kaise sooch liya ki main uske saath khush reh paoingi. Hum hamesha ek doosre ki khushi ke liye jeeye hain'

'Ek doosre ke saath rehkar unki khushiyon ka khayaal rakhna yeh pyaar hai'

'Toh tumhe dhuk pahoocha kar kaise khush reh sakti thi woh bhi armaan ke saath'

'Meri khushi … tumhe lagta hai ki tumhe dukh pohochakar main armaan ke saath khush reh paoingi'

'Mujhe hamesha laga ki tum mujhse pyaar nahi karti thi'

'Kaise sooch liya Sid ki main tumse pyaar nahi karti thi. Kya... Kya mera pyaar tumhe kabhi mehsoos nahi hua.'

Sid was still trying to come to terms with Riddhima's confession. He looked completely bewildered.

Seeing Sid such bothered Riddhima. How could he not sense the love she felt for him? How could he not judge her feeling correctly? What had transpired between them on her birthday eve night was it not enough a proof of her love for him? 'Jo uss raat hamare beech hua kya woh mera pyaar nahi tha tumhara …'

 Woh lamha meri zindagi ka sab se haseen lamha tha ... Uss lamhe mein main poori tarah se tumhari ...'

'Tumhe yeh yakeen dilane ki main sirf tumhari hoon'

'Kya tumne uss lamhe mein wohi mehsoos nahi kiya jo maine kiya ...'

'Yeh sab saach hai ya sapna…..
Yeh wohi lamha hai Sid mere pyaar ka saboot; tumhare liye'

Sid so wanted to hold her and sooth her. Wipe away her tears. Take away the pain but only managed 'Riddhima!!!' His presence, his voice, the way he took her name always managed to calm her. As it took its effect Riddhima questioned him again. This time it was more of a plea.

'Hamare beech jo tha kya tumne sach mein kabhi mehsoos nahi kiya?'

Of course he had but then fate always intervene in manners such that his perceptions took a beating.

'Tumne hamesha mujhe khud se door rakha. Kaunsa tareeka tha yeh pyaar jatane ka'

'Aur tumhe lagta hai ki apne aap ko mujhse door rakhkar meri khushi ke liye, yeh pyaar hai tumhara meri liye'

'Par tumne kabhi kaha bhi nahi'

'Haan maine kabhi tumse nahi kaha ki main tumse pyaar karti hoon par kya kabhi tumne mera tumhare liye pyaar mehsoos nahi kiya. Har baar kehti rahi ki tum mein main apna kal dekhti thi.

'Tum mera aaj ho aur mera aane wala kal ...'

'Main tumhare saath rehna chahati ti hoon sirf tumhare saath ... armaan ko apne zindagi mein aage badna hoga aur yeh karne ke liye woh khud hi apni madad kar sakta hai jaise maine ki jab maine soocha ki main aage badhongi tumhare saath'

'Hamare shaadi ka din bahoot hi khushi ka din hoga pyaar ka din'

'Doosre logo ke nazariyen se mat dekho Meri nazar se dekho Kya dikhai deta hai? Sid main khush rahoongi tumhare saath'
Hume jo bhi bura waqt dekhna tha woh hume dekh chuke aur ab se leke shaadi tak aur hamesha sirf achi baate ache khayaal aur achi cheesey honi chahiye Hai na? Promise

'Mujhe laga ki tum sirf aage badne ki koshish kar rahi thi'

'Meri Riddhima main aage badne ki himmat hai'

'Par uss koshish mein tumne kabhi mera saath nahi diya. Itna bhi bharosa nahi tha khud ke pyaar par apni Riddhima par'

'Kya itna bhi bharosa nahi hai khud par apne pyaar yeh maine tumse expect nahi kiya tha'

'Jab kabhi koshish ki tumhe kehne ki tab hamesha armaan ko mere samne khada paya. Kabhi kabhi samaj nahi aata tha ki kya chahati thi zindagi mujhse. Uss raat jab main tumhe tent mein milne aayi tab saache dil se apnana chahati thi apne rishtey ko, aage badhana chahati thi hamare rishtey ko. Par phir ek aur baar armaan ... armaan  ki baaton ne mujhe itna gumrah kar diya ki main apne ateet ki yaadon mein beh gayi. Woh kar baithi jo main kabhi karne ka sooch bhi nahi sakti thi. Poora haq tha tumhara mujh par mere pyaar par mere dil dimag mere ...Uss haq ko sharminda karne ke baad kaise main tumhe ...'

'Shaadi hui hai Sid se pati hai woh mera  Poora haq hai uska mujh par mere pyaar par mere dil dimag mere shar...'

'Tum mujhse jaan se jyaada pyaar karte the aur maine tumhare pyaar, tumhare vishwas ka apmaan kiya. Ghin aa rahi thi yeh soch ke kaise maine woh sab ehsaas phir se armaan mehsoos kar sakti thi jo maine tumhare liye mehsoos kar rahi thi ...jinn pe tumhara haq tha.

'Sid mujhe nahi samaj aa raha hai mujhe kya ho raha hai Sud mujhe nahi pata main kaisa mehsoos kar rahi hoon acha bura sahi galat I can't handle this I can't handle this'

'Do insaano ke liye wohi ehsaas kaise. Phir laga ki kismat mujhe kuch kehna chahati thi aur isiliye shayaad hamesha mere samne armaan ko khada kar deti thi. Main nahi samaj payi Sid aur jab tak samaj gayi tab tak bahoot der ho chuki thi'

'Par tum kaisa aisa kar sakte the ... Kyu nahi haq se mujhe ghar wapis le gaye. Main kisi ki amanat nahi thi tumhari patni thi, main pyaar thi tumhara. Kaise tum apne pyaar ko kisi aur ko saupne ka soch bhi sakte the'

'Par tumne bhi nahi roka mujhe'

'Bahoot gussa aaya tha tab. Kaise sooch liya ki hamari shaadi ek samjhauta thi Kaise sooch liya ki mere liye yeh shaadi ek bhoj thi Kaise tumne bol diya ki armaan ke saath khush rehna aur divorce paper de ke chale gaye '

'Jaate jaate yeh tum mujhe kya de gaye Sid .. maine soocha tha ki main tumhari zindagi se chali jaongi par tum hi chod ke chale gaye mujhpar itna bada bhoj daal kar chale gaye'

Mujhe chod kar jaane ka faisla kar sakte ho tum Sid kyuki woh tumhara faisla hai. Par mujhe armaan ke saath rehna chahiye yeh faisla tum mere liye nahi kar sakte. Ek rishte se nikhal kar kisse aur ke saath rishta kaise jod sakti hoon main. Kaise shuru kar sakti hoon ek nayi zindagi yeh maan kar ki sab theek hai. Jab kuch theek nahi. Main jaa rahi hoon Sid aur please please mujhe dhoondh na mat'

'Tum agar armaan ka saath nahi chahati thi toh shaadi kyu ki'

'Tumhare jaane ke baad kuch sahi nahi lag raha tha … door rahena chahati sab se… isiliye Di ke Delhi chali gayi … par armaan waha bhi mere peeche aa gaya … Par armaan tab bhi chahata tha ki mein usse accept kar lo ... Main armaan ko samjhati rahi'

'Tak chukka hu mein tumhe yeh samjhate ki hum ek doosre ko paane ke liye bane hai' 'Tum jaante bhi ho tum kya keh raha ho...'

'Jitni koshish karti usse door rehne ki woh utna hi khud ko mujhe pe havi karne ki koshish kar raha tha... Aur uske saath baaki sab. Anjidi, Dr. Kirti, Dr. Subhankar, Sister Lovely. Har din naye tareeke dhoondta usse accept karvane ke ke liye. It was all so damn embarassing. Billy uncle ko bhi nahi choda. Unki aakhari khwaish ka karan bata ke basket ball court mein sab ke samne ladkiyaan check out kar raha tha shaadi ke liye.'

'armaan ka attitute poora change hota hua dikha jab uski saari koshishe nakaam hoti gayi. Chidchidapan wapis aa raha tha usme. Uska mujhe pane ka junoon pehle hi dekh  ...

'Tum sirf meri ho aur agar yeh tumne accept nahi kiya toh mein tumse woh accept karvaonga'

'Apni jaan ke saath kilvad karna, apni purani aadato ke pass jaana koi baadi baat nahi thi ... Jis ka darr tha wohi hua. armaan apni zid chodne ko hi tayar nahi tha aur baaki sab kisina kisi tarah force kar rahe the armaan ke liye apne feelings accept karne ko. Papa pehle se hi khud ko doshi maan rahe the. Ek pita ke naate unhe meri chinta thi aur phir unhe bhi lagane laga ki armaan hi sahi tha mere liye ...'

'Tum hamesha kehte the na ki kuch bhi karne se pehle apno ke baare mein soochna chahiye ...'

'Koi bhi faisla kar ne se pehle apno ke baare mein soochna chahiye'

'Main already sab ko bahoot dukh de chuki thi aur dukh nahi dena chahati thi. Aur phir maine armaan'

'Propose kiya…'

'Siddhant!!!' Riddhima's eyes widened in fear thinking of the worst.

'Tha main waha pe jab tumne'

'Nahi'  Her worst fear had come true. Her feet gave way and she collapsed on her spot.

Sid continued plainly as a matter of fact about what had happened then. 'Main mumbai aaya tha divorce ke formalities ke liye par jab ...jaane do ..'

She could not handle that guilt of inflicting such wounds on the person who possessed such a pure heart. Such was this person that that night after hearing all that Riddhima had to say about their lives and the happening all he could think of was

'Bahoot galat kiya tumne Riddhima ...especially armaan ke saath'

'Kuch galat nahi kiya ...armaan jo chahata tha woh usse mila ...

'Meri ho kar bhi meri ho nahi saki tum'

'Usse samne wale kya chahata hai uss se koi farak nahi padta ...Usse sirf apni mann ki karni hoti hai aur woh sab maine kiya. Usse sirf sab ko dikhana tha ki main sirf uski thi sirf pana chahata tha'

'Uske liye sab kuch kiya aur usne  ... Main tumhe poochti hoon kaha tha woh jab Papa ko, Sanjeevani ko uski zaroorat thi?'

'Aur tum ... Tumhare zindagi ke saath itna bura karne ke baad bhi tum aaj yaha ho ... Kyu Sid? Kyu tum ...'

Before Riddhima could complete her statement the PA system called for her

'Dr Riddhima in case you are in the hospital. Kindly come to room number 807. Dr Shashank is waiting for you'

Sid looked at his watch '7.30'

'Subah ho gayi'

'Hmmm … Dr Shashank jaag gaye honge. Tumhe chalna chahiye'

'Hmmm.. Tum??? Poori raat sowe nahi ho take your day off Main hoon yaha pe'

'Nahi tum ghar jawo. Main hoon yaha pe. Tumhe rest ki jyaada zaroorat hai aur waise bhi jyaada kaam nahi hai aaj'

'Kaam dhoond loge tum'

'Nahi don't worry I will not stress myself'


'Hmm' Sid replied nodding his head reassuringly


'Main cafeteria hi jaa raha hoon ... coffee ke liye'

Riddhima looked at him with questioning eyes. She was worried he would keep downing cups of coffee to keep awake and get a head ache due to skipping his meals.

'Tumhare liye'

A knowing smile broke out while her face radiated with happiness. It felt like a lifetime that she got to hear what she could to hear all her life from this angel in her life. For any other person it would not have sounded or meant anything but it meant the world for her.

'Kuch kha lena'

'Hmm' he once again nodded reassuringly as his face also glowed with the same happiness knowing that he mattered in her life. She still cared for him maybe she still ... Suddenly realisation dawned and that thought worried him. It was not appropriate what they felt in that moment the pained look returned as he took a step back from her.

She knew what was on his mind. After all how could he ever do anything inappropriate. Though her heart wanted otherwise she also stepped back and walked away to meet her ailing father.

Part 94
Shashank got restless not seeing Riddhima around. He was worried that Riddhima would be stressing herself out trying to juggle between taking care of Sanjeevani and him.
 Riddhima understood his concern and was quick to put his worry to rest.
 Shashank sat browsing through the day's newspaper while Riddhima sipped on the cappuccino sent by Sid. Though she had quit drinking it many years back she lovingly had it. After all it was sent by the most important person in her life- the man who loved her most. One who had come here only for her? As she went over the happenings of the previous night the remorse of her actions started seeping in. How could she blame him for not understanding her and her love? How could she blame him of being disrespectful of her efforts when all he always did was to respect decision, give her space and freedom to make her decisions and live her life. They both had their apprehensions. Both never wanted to burden the other in that relationship or tie each other down. He never blamed her for her apprehensions so how could she? His apprehensions were always right in all respects. She should have assured him otherwise and put those apprehensions to rest like he did and assured her explicitly. She was guilty of ignoring their relationship just to make sure that armaan was alright. Inspite of falling out of love with armaan she never explicitly admitted to that fact just because armaan was still crazily in love with her and her confession would take him to the road of self destruction.

'Kyu armaan … kyu … Mujhe mein saach ka samna karne ki himmat nahi hai toh phir kyu karte ho tum mujhse itna pyaar'

She should have let armaan to his fate and should not have pondered too much on it. Though eventually she did that but her decision came in too late.

'Zaroorat hai …main karna chahati hoon tumhare liye hamare liye'

Her ignoring Sid's feelings were indeed wrong. But it was worse that she blamed him for ignoring hers and not understanding them. She needed to talk to him. Apologize for all that she had alleged.

Before leaving for the day, Riddhima thought of meeting Sid but he seemed very busy with some interns.

She did not want to procrastinate so she waited in the corner waiting for Sid to get free. Watching him work with the interns was such a pleasant sight. All the interns had gathered around him and seemed to try convincing Sid for something while Sid was helplessly trying to defend his stand. He looked so innocent, so cute feeling helpless in front of those interns who seemed to bully him with their tricks. Her cute doctor seemed to have returned.

She was waiting for some time now taking in his image when she noticed someone walking down the corridor. Alarm bell sounded and she immediately withdrew from there. She did not want any trouble especially Sid. It seemed a prudent decision to leave at that point and she made her way home.

Shashank had been getting restless being in the hospital and longed to be back home. Padma also felt it would be fine as Atul was going to be there that day to help out with Anjali joining the following day.

Padma sat trying to persuade Shashank to have some patience when Atul walked in.

Padma: Aree Atul … tum kab aaye?

'Abhi … Airport se seedha yaha chala aaya. Ab kaise tabyat hai aapki Papa?' Asked Atul turning to Shashank.

Shashank: Much better aur ab tum aaye ho toh I will be great. Just get me out of here soon These ladies are just not letting me go back home.

Atul was amused with Shashank's plea but could understand it. No one likes staying in a hospital.

'Let me see what I can do' Atul assured Shashank

As the three sat there discussing random things. Dr. Virat walked in to check on Shashank. Dr Parikh had already told Shashank that his health had progressed well  but was just holding him under observation for some time more

Shashank: And how many more days you want to hold me a prisoner here Dr. Virat I am fine. Even Mohan I mean Dr. Parikh said so then why are you keeping me?

Atul: If all is fine, I think we would like to take him back home.

Padma: Ek baar Riddhima se bhi pooch lete hai

Shashank: Riddhima ka bas chale toh woh mujhe yahi pe rakhe. Itni fikar karti hai. Instead aap Dr Parikh se pooch lijiye

Dr Virat was getting bombarded by all sides for Shashank's discharge. Finally he spoke 'Dr Sing se meri baat hui thi He said it's fine but ...'

Before he could continue Shashank cut in 'Riddhima se poochna padega… Hai na? Phir ho gaya main ghar nahi jaa paonga'  

Atul amused 'Papa… pooch toh lene do usse phir… Riddhima kyu nahi chahigi ki aap ghar aaye'

Dr Virat: Actually Dr Riddhima se poochna nahi hai

Shashank: Phir?

Dr Virat: Ek doosre doctor hai jo aap ka progress monitor kar rahe hai. Dr Riddhima ne kaha hai ki unki opinion liye bina kuch nahi karne ka

All three were astonished who this new doctor was.

Dr Virat not realizing continued 'Main Dr Modi ... se ek baar consult kar leta hoon aur agar woh approval de toh discharge papers ready karta hoon'

Shashank realized whom Dr Virat was referring to but just to reconfirm my suspicion he questioned 'Dr. Modi?'

Dr Virat: Dr. Siddhant Modi wohi jo Purva Parikh ke surgery ke liye specially aye the aur phir Mr Singh ki surgery free of cost ki thi.

The revelation shocked the trio. Unaware of the effects of his words Dr Virat left the flabbergasted people to ponder on the revelation. None were happy with what they had heard. All three had only one thing on their mind - Riddhima not messing with Sid life again.

Atul was somehow less worried due to his past conversation with Riddhima but Padma and Shashank were too tensed.  Since Atul was there they did not discuss this further.

At home Riddhima could not find peace as she was getting desperate to talk to Sid. Also the thought of Sid's lack of sleep, his wayward eating habits and his being on duty was bothering her incessantly.

So she grabbed the first opportunity to go back to Sanjeevani. She used to take lunch for Shashank and Padma but today she packed some extra. Of course, some for Atul whom she had seen in the hospital but also Sid.

She settled Sid's lunch in her office, delivered the other's lunches to them and quickly excused herself to meet Sid.

Sid was in his cabin working on some case when Riddhima entered with the lunch tiffin in her hand. Nervously she waited for Sid to finish his work at hand while Sid could not get himself to finish the task quickly as he found himself dwelling on the previous nights revelations.

'Kaise sooch liya Sid ki main tumse pyaar nahi karti thi. Kya... Kya mera pyaar tumhe kabhi mehsoos nahi hua.'

Sid wondered why Riddhima was there that too with a tiffin box. It was a dream of a perfect life. They being a happily married couple and like a loving wife would do, Riddhima would get him lunch while he worked and took care of Dr Shashank's and her responsibilities at Sanjeevani. He wanted to live in that moment but that was not the reality he knew. He shook off his thoughts She must be here to talk about her father definitely he thought. 'Dr Shashank ko ek aur din observation main rakhna chahiye I feel but if you want we can discharge him. Tum chaho toh discharge papers banava doon?'

She could not understand why he was talking about the discharge papers. If he felt it was required then so be it. 'Nahi jaisa tum theek samajo'

Sid: 'Well you can take him home but make sure he does not take any stress or tension'

Riddhima: 'Hmm'

'Main papers banava deta hoon  Tum unko khana de do tab tak baki formalities bhi poori ho jayegi'

Why did he think that she was there for her father only. She was there to meet him, for him not her father's sake.

She wanted to tell him. As she mustered the courage a doctor walked in with some work. 'Dr Modi uss case mein kya karna hai'

Seeing Riddhima awkward Sid thought of making Riddhima comfortable. 'Dr Kiran … yeh woh case papers hai aur kya aap Dr Shashank ke discharge papers ready karva sakte hai?'

Riddhima not wanting to make Sid more awkward did not argue that Sid should do as he feels fine.

Dr Kiran took the case papers and left to prepare Shashank's discharge papers. However, Riddhima kept standing there. The awkward silence was about to descend when Riddhima spoke up. If she did not do it now then she would never be able to 'I am sorry'

'Sorry?' Sid questioned

Riddhima: Main tumhe bahoot kuch keh gayi kal raat ko...tumhari koi galati nahi thi phir bhi ...

Sid: Tum kyu sorry bol rahi ho actually I should say sorry I should not said all those things to you

Riddhima: Nahi Sid tumne jo kuch kaha woh sahi tha ... Maine tumhare saath bahoot galat kiya ... Maine kabhi bhi tumhe samajne ki koshish nahi ki hamesha tumhe misunderstand kiya hamesha tumhe dosh deti rahi jab ki tumne hamesha mujhe samjha meri har galati ko maaf kiya

Sid: Nahi Riddhima ...

Riddhima: Maine tumhare saath jo kuch bhi kiya phir bhi tumhe aaj bhi meri fikar hai. Main yeh sab deserve nahi karti phir bhi tum ...

Sid: Jo kuch hua woh hamari kismat thi shayaad Aur kismat pe kiska jor hota hai

Riddhima: Phir bhi

Sid: Jaane do Riddhima unn beeti baatoon par soochne ka koi fayada nahi hai Sirf dard aur maayusi milegi Bahoot kuch piche choot gaya hai Woh rishta ...Woh baate … woh yaadien

Riddhima: Par hamari dosti?

Sid: Dosti?

Riddhima: Kya hamare beech woh dosti bhi nahi rahi?

Honesty and trust are the two pillars of friendships which Riddhima had destroyed by her actions. Sid could still not get himself to forgive Riddhima for that. He did not know what the future held for them and he was still not sure what effect this friendship would have on everyone's lives. They were always friends first before anything else but what they felt for each other was definitely much more than friendship still. For him it definitely was the case. It was a difficult question as he did not know whether he could take that chance on his heart again.

Riddhima could read Sid's apprehensions clearly. They never wanted to burden the other. After all her happiness lay in his. 'It's ok Sid main samaj sakti hoon ... main ….chalti hoon'

Seeing Riddhima's disappointed face pained Sid. He felt helpless that he could not affirm her request. Or could he? Before he could say anything Riddhima turned and left without giving the tiffin box to Sid.

Back in Shashank's room everyone were still perturbed about Sid's presence and Riddhima's decisions.

The air was thick with tension. Riddhima could sense everyone's eyes were searching for the answers to their questions in her. She decided to ignore it all. Anyways there was nothing that people should be scared of. Sid with his silence had declined any relation for her.

Riddhima: 'Papa aaj aap ko discharge mil raha hai'

'Baat ho gayi uss doctor se' Padma asked deliberately

Riddhima: Hmm …. Par Papa … aap ko promise karna hoga ki aap koi tension ya stress nahi lenge

That seemed like a big joke to everyone. Stress and tension is not a candy that everyone wants to have.

'Stress aur tension nahi lena chahiye … hmm …'  Commented Shashank sarcastically.

Seeing the tension building rapidly Atul intervened and got Padma to start packing their belongings. Riddhima also excused herself and went to settle in her office to try catching up with work. Sid being the man he had not left anything to be done.

She hated that Sid was again over working himself. Since Shashank was going to be discharged she decided to resume work immediately. At least that way, Sid would not have to bear the entire work load himself.

The day went smoothly. Soon all were ready to take Shashank back home but Riddhima still sat holed up in her office wondering how to make up Sid when Padma came to meet Riddhima.

Seeing the extra tiffin box Padma gauged for whom that was. Not beating around the bush she came straight to the topic 'Laya toh diya kyu nahi ya liya nahi'

'Shayaad woh haq bhi kho chuki hoon' Riddhima's voice expressed the remorse she felt of that destroyed relationship.

But this irked Padma 'Phir kis haq se usse woh saare farz nibhane ko expect kar rahi ho?'

Padma argument was right. All that Riddhima ever did was take from Sid. 'I am sorry Mumma' was all that she could muster courage for.

'Shayaad iske baad toh usse aur dukh mat do ... Usse apni zindagi jeene do ... Aur tum apni ... Shayaad issi main uski bhalai hai aur shayaad tumhari bhi ...' advised Padma

Those were words of wisdom which Riddhima could not ignore. Action and words are in our control till we do or say something but after that they control us. Riddhima understood that her past deeds will always overcast her future and her relationships. She assured Padma of her best intentions for Sid.

Padma and Atul took Shashank back home. Riddhima decided to wait back so that she can catch up and relieve Sid of the administrative work.

Juhi came back to check on the day's events.

To her surprise she found Sid wrapping up for the day. By now knowing Sid she had gathered that he must have not moved an inch from the hospital so she asked him to wait up for a little while so that she could check on other stuff after which they could catch up on dinner.

Sid informed about Shashank's discharge and Riddhima resuming duty immediately. This infuriated Juhi. So after she finished her work she went to check on Riddhima.

Juhi: Tum duty kyu resume kar rahi hai Hum hai na?

Riddhima: Tumhe kal bhi conference hai aur main nahi chahati ki Siddhant jyaada stress le

Juhi: Riddhima its ok plus tumhari ghar pe jyaada zaroorat hai

Riddhima: Nahi Juhi Atul aaj aa gaya hai aur Anjidi bhi kal aa rahi hai so all is fine. Tum please Siddhant ko bolo itna stress na le. Woh bahoot jyaada kaam khud pe le raha hai. I will manage now. Pehle bhi kiya hai and I am used to it.

Juhi: Tum nahi manogi na

Riddhima silence was enough for Juhi. 'Theek hai chalo phir main chalti hoon. Siddhant ghar jaa raha hai toh socha bahaar dinner ke liye chale jayege'

Riddhima: That will be better … Pata nahi usne theek

'Tarah se khana khaya bhi nahi hoga akhir uska khana waise ke waise pada hai' said Juhi noticing the tiffin box.

'Usne khana nahi khaya!' It pained Riddhima to know that 'Tum jao Juhi usse aur wait mat karvao'

'Tum nahi chalogi?' asked Juhi.

'Nahi mujhe toda kaam hai'

Irritated with Riddhima 'Tumse baat karne ka koi fayada nahi hai main chalti hoon Sid intezar kar raha hoga'

Riddhima felt even more helpless and drained hearing that Sid was still distressed and she had done nothing but aggravate it.

Over dinner Sid narrated what happened after much coaxing from Juhi. Though he did not tell much of it fearing what Juhi might think of Riddhima. 'I was there for last few days monitoring Dr Shashank's health and I guess that is burdening Riddhima. Uski zindagi bahoot ulaj gayi hai aur shayaad mera hona uski zindagi ko aur bhi uljha raha hai'

Juhi: Toh phir aage kya soocha hai?

Sid: Pata nahi

After knowing all about Sid and Riddhima, Juhi always felt that time was the only thing these two never got to sort things out. Maybe if they could give a little time now then things could be much better and she knew well that it had to be now or else it would be never. To stop Sid she decided the helpless damsel card which she knew never fails on a man and this was Sid one who would not leave seeing a person in need without helping whoever he or she was. 'Sid par ab tumhari aur bhi jyaada zaroorat hai Riddhima ko, mujhe, Sanjeevani ko aur waise bhi ab sirf aur do hafto ki baat hai. Tab tak Rohan ki bhi term khatam ho jayegi. Pease tum jaane ki mat soocho'

What Juhi was saying made sense and Sid dropped the plans of leaving after a little reasoning.

A new day always brings along new hope a new beggining with itself but Riddhima saw none. So when she Sid in the cafeteria she turned round to walk away.

Seeing Riddhima dejected always propelled Sid into action instinctively. Some days back he had asked Juhi to take care of Riddhima just because he felt she needed a friend. So how could he deny her the friendship that she needed and which seemed to her only hope to some happiness. After all he always wanted her happiness and how could their friendship be a cause for problems After all it just meant walking the path of life for a few days as friends. That was the least he could do for her sake. May be this was the only way they could heal themselves and each other. After all the purpose of their life was that; healing each other.

'Riddhima!!!' Sid called out. She turned to face him wondering the reason behind it.

'Coffee? Cappuccino … right?'

A wide smile broke out as tears of joy pricked her eyes 'Coffee'

That's when it struck Sid why he could not find cappuccino that night. He smiled and pulled out a chair for Riddhima and ordered some coffee for them.

Seeing them sip on their coffee quietly brought a smile to a person's face. Juhi knew she did the right thing the previous night.

She had come to pick up some papers for the conference which she had forgotten the previous evening in a rush.  As she turned to go and get her stuff, a bunch of interns gathered round her.

'Ma'am … acha hua aap mil gaye'

'Kyu … kya hua?' questioned Juhi seeing all the interns hassled. She was worried that Sid was making them work double hard. Not that he wanted to be tough but must have done so unknowingly. Poor soul that he was, he lost track of time himself so many times. 'Kya Dr Siddhant ...'

Seeing her mouth his name felt like half the work was done for the interns. 'Yes Dr Siddhant' exclaimed one intern.

'Wait ...' cut in another intern 'don't be so fast to blame him'

Juhi knew there was some issue but not so severe from the way all the remaining were excitedly waiting for their gang leader to talk. Amused by the crowd's expressions she calmly questioned 'Kya hua?'

'Let me tell you Dr Juhi ...kal hum friendship day celebrate karna chahate hai aur Dr Siddhant baat ko taal rahe hai'

Juhi: 'Kya kaha unhone'  

'Pehle bole we should concentrate on work, phir bole aap se pooch, phir bole Dr Riddhima se pooch. Kal Bahoot samjhaya unko par woh constructive answer hi nahi de rahe hai.'

Juhi's naughty mind started working at its mischievous best. As an impish smile played on her lips she told the interns innocently. 'Barabar hai main conference ke liye off administrative duty hoon. Dr Siddhant sab kuch dekh rahe hai toh unse baat karo'

'Par woh toh…'

Further amused seeing the interns harassed 'Aur Haan Dr Riddhima ne bhi duty join kar li hai ... Dekho ...' pointing towards Sid and Riddhima 'bali ke bakre wahi baite hai'

'What!!!' Exclaimed one of the interns.

'I mean ...' clearing her throat a little the concerned authority is sitting there 'Jao unse permission le lo'

Leaving the gang hassled she walked away. She walked a few steps and then turned to see the gang contemplate their next move while looking at her with expectant eyes. 'Enjoy!!!'

The gang finally made up their mind if the friendship day had to happen then they had to corner these two together and this was the best opportunity.

They went and surrounded Sid and Riddhima's table. Juhi looked at that funny scene from far. It was going to be too good a moment to be missed.

'Ma'am' 'Sir' the gang bombarded Sid and Riddhima. The look on both their faces was priceless.

'Kodak moment' thought Juhi to herself trying to contain her laughter. Soon curiosity of the conversation got better of her and she too joined the gang standing just a little far.

Sid was nervous why the whole gang of interns was there and so was Riddhima..

'What happened?' asked Sid

''Sir humne kal aap se poocha tha na aur aap ne jawab nahi diya' said one intern.

Sid: Kya?

'Friendship day!!!' the whole cafeteria echoed as all the interns said together

'Acha… ok…' trying to think what to say. Riddhima was thoroughly amused seeing Sid nervous like before. He had not changed a little bit.

''Maine kaha na Dr Juhi se poocho' defended Sid

Juhi knew this would go in circles and she needed to leave but not before seeing the fun. So she barged in 'Haan par main toh off administrative duty hoon toh tumhe faisla karna hoga'

'What?' Juhi's sudden appearance shocked Sid 'Huh !!!' trying to understand what exactly happened there.

'Toh tumhe decide karna hai' said Juhi to bring back Sid to the topic.

Sid for some reason was feeling awkward taking the decision decided to throw the ball in Riddhima's court. 'Riddhima … I mean Dr Riddhima yaha hai unse poocho'

Juhi did not want to let Sid escaped this easily also wanted to see if Riddhima comes to his rescue. 'Unhone duty officially shuru nahi ki hai'

Riddhima was happy to see her old Sid back so played along. 'Actually Dr Siddhant aapko hi approval dena hoga'

'Main … main kaise tum DO ho toh tum i mean aap permission grant kijiye'

Riddhima seeing Sid playing passing the parcel 'Aap ab stand in DO ho toh aap decide kijiye'

Seeing this pehle aap pehle aap irritated Juhi as she was getting really late now. 'Par problem kya hai iss mein … friendship day hi toh hai'

'Actually' joined in Riddhima defending Juhi's reasoning.

Sid: Par Riddhima hum hospital mein kaam karne aate hai

Riddhima: Par hamare waqt bhi hum yeh sab karte the

Sid: Humne time barbaad kiya toh kya inhe bhi karne de

Juhi jumped in 'Todhi time pass banta hai All work no play makes Jack a dull boy bolte hai na'

'Sir hum duty affect nahi hone denge' assured the interns

Seeing Sid deep in thought amused both Riddhima and Juhi. Sid was searching for another excuse 'Par ...' he started

Riddhima quickly taunted Sid knowing it would work 'Ab tum Dr Kirti ki tarah mat behave karo'

Angry being compared to the khaydoos Dr Kirti 'Main … Main Dr Kirti ki tarah behave kar raha hoon tum Dr Kirti ki tarah behave karti ho'

'Main maine kab Dr Kirti ki tarah behave kiya hai' defended Riddhima.

Sid: Hamesha toh karti ho, yeh karo, woh mat karo, Yeh aise hona chahiye aur mujhe bol rahi ho ki main Dr Kirti ki tarah behave karta hoon.

Seeing their two senior doctor fight like kids was a very funny sight. All the interns were trying hard to control their laughter.

Seeing these two people fighting like this in front of the interns Juhi decided to be the arbitrator 'Theek hai aap dono Dr ...'

'Kirti!!!' Said Sid and Riddhima together

'Wohi Dr Kirti ki tarah nahi behave karte toh inn logo ko permission hai'

'Haan!!!' said irritated Sid

The whole gang rejoiced at the victory, thanked Juhi and dispersed immediately before Sid could change his mind.

Juhi also left smiling to herself leaving a fuming Sid and Riddhima behind. They both sat quietly brooding over the allegations hurled. The more they thought greater was their curiosity to know what the other felt.

'Kya main saach mein Dr Kirti ki tarah behave karta hoon?' asked Sid.

'Nahi No I don't think so aur main?

'Hmm … actually...' trying to think of the best way to cushion the blow '...kabhi kabhi ...bahoot instructions rehte the ...'

Riddhima: Kya!!!

Sid: Hum toh tumhe hitler bulate the

Riddhima: Sab nahi tum

Sid: Whatever

Riddhima: Tum bhi toh bahoot strict hua karte the remember tumhare rules

Sid: But they worked

Riddhima: Kya khak work kiye the sab kitne naraaz sab se jyaada main

Sid: Aur saara gussa ghar pe nikalti thi ...oh my god tumhare bhi koi kum rules nahi hua karte the … aur gussa oh lord … mera playstation bhi tod diya tha

Riddhima: Sab se jyaada irritating cheese thi woh  har waqt woh hi leke baite the ...

Sid: It was my favorite Seeing Sid talk about his stuff got Riddhima and Sid nostalgic

'Kya abhi khelte ho' Riddhima asked deliberately trying to check if that playful Sid was still alive somewhere

Sid: Hmm but now it is just to help with my motor skills It works well for a surgeon

Riddhima face dropped immediately. Seeing this Sid started making amends thinking that Riddhima felt like a failure losing out on being a surgeon which she aspired to be 'you have done very well for yourself Riddhima handing administration is not easy'

Riddhima: It's not difficult anyone can do it

Sid: But not as good as you. You have gotten Sanjeevani a long way. In fact you could ...

They discussed the various avenues possible for Riddhima for some time.

Riddhima felt happy to have found her Sid again.

Part 95

Riddhima did feel like going home as the biggest catalyst instrumental for armaan and Riddhima marriage had returned. She wanted to avoid Anjali but for that she could not ignore Shashank's health so she went to Shashank's house instead of hers.

Juhi was happy to see Sid and Riddhima making amends but wanted to know Sid's stand under the changed circumstances. With this in mind, she invited Sid home for dinner.

On dinner, she finally broached the topic to understand the road ahead 'Aage kya Sid?

Seeing Sid cautionsly trying to choose his words Juhi realised that there must be more to what happened that night in Sanjeevani. 'Riddhima aur tumhare beech kuch hua?' she probed. Knowing Sid's nature she felt the need to inform him where she knowledge stood about these two individual's relationship. 'Waise maine tumhe pehle bhi kaha tha ki mere dost mujhse kuch nahi chupate. Mujhe Riddhima ne tum dono ke rishtey ke baare mein sab kuch bata diya hai.'

Worried as to what all she knew Sid questioned her anxiously 'Kya kya pata hai tumhe?'

Juhi: Sab kuch Sid  Kya hua tha jiski wajay se aaj tum dono iss mod pe khade ho.

Sid: Tumhe pata hai na toh phir

Juhi cut in 'Isiliye pooch rahi hoon Aage kya?'

Seeing Sid still silent, Juhi wondered if Riddhima had told Sid about her feelings for him.

'Uss raat Riddhima ne kuch nahi kaha? she tried stiring the conversation towards that night.

Sid: Kaha  Bahoot kuch kaha  Woh sab kaha jo main hamesha se tarasa tha sunne ke liye.

Hearing this Juhi's face lit up with joy. Her happiness knew no bounds but the very next moment Sid managed to kill it a quick death.

Sid: 'Jo kuch bhi hua uske liye woh kahi na kahi woh aaj bhi guilty feel karti hai. Somewhere I felt guilt has been overwhelming her and due that she said all those things.'

Juhi:  Aisa kya kaha usne?

Sid: Ki woh mujhse pyaar karti thi aur jo kuch humne ek doosre liye feel kiya tha woh aaj bhi karte hai.

Juhi irritated with Sid's reasoning 'And you think she said this out of guilt just to make you feel good.'

Hearing all that from Riddhima after all these years did not seem very believable at times to him. Though he did not completely doubt them either. Since Juhi being the only person with whom he could talk freely he voiced in feelings  'I don't know Juhi'

Juhi was completely annoyed at Sid's uncertainty 'Are you serious? Tum jaante ho tum kya keh rahe ho?'

Sid: Juhi try to understand.

Juhi: Aisa nahi hai? Aur agar aisa hota toh Riddhima woh sab nahi kehti. Juhi needed to assure Sid about Riddhima's feeling for him. Time had come to tell Sid all that she had seen go through in the past days. 'Tumhe maloom hai Sid  Riddhima is intuitive '

Sid looked at Juhi perplexed.

Juhi: But she is intuitive only for those who are closest to her heart. Tum Sanjeevani aane se ek din pehle Mumbai mein land kiya na

Sid: Haan?

Juhi: Uss raat hi Riddhima ko pata chal gaya tha ki tum kahi aas pass hi ho.

Sid looked astonished hearing all this while Juhi continued 'Aur shayaad uss raat tumhara ek accident hote hote reh gaya ...' Sid tried recollecting the journey to Panchgani and was about to argue back when Juhi stopped him 'Don't even answer  I know its true'

As the conviction in Juhi voice hit his mind it stirred his memory to that incident with the drunk driver that night on way to Panchgani. He was left speechless.

Juhi: Riddhima sensed that also. Itne saalo maine kabhi Riddhima ko pray karte nahi dekha tha par uss din maine usse pehli baar pray karte huye dekha ... Tumhare liye, tumhari salamati ke liye. Woh bimar thi phir bhi usne conference jaana cancel nahi kiya sirf iss hope mein ki shaayad tum waha hoge. Woh conference mein gayi tumhe ek baar dekhne ke liye, tasali karne ke liye ki tum theek ho. Jab tum hospital aaye you should have seen the concern. Jitna time tum hospital mein the woh hili bhi nahi waha se. Why? Just to make sure that you are comfortable Jus so that if you wanted anything it would be there for you. Come on Sid, still you feel all this just because of guilt?

Sid: Par ab ... Iss se kuch hasil nahi hoga. Aaj hum uss mukam par khade hai 

Juhi: Hum nahi tum!!! Sid, main tumhara stand sunna chahati hoon.

Sid again fell silent.

Juhi: Sid

Sid: Yeh sirf mere baare mein nahi hai. Bahoot log jude hai.

Juhi: Jaise ki?

Sid: armaan

Hearing his name from Sid made Juhi's blood boil 'Please mujhse tum uske baare mein baat mat hi karo toh acha hai'

Sid looked a little taken aback

Juhi: Yeh ab ki baat nahi hai. Somehow I never liked him. Aur sab kuch jaanane ke baad I just ...hate him.

'Par uske baare mein bhi soochna padega.' Sid said in a matter of fact manner

Juhi: Kyu tum armaan ko beech mein la rahe ho. armaan is a closed chapter. It closed a very long time back. In fact if I am not wrong it closed for Riddhima when she first got married to you. If there was anything then it was just concern. Nothing else! Riddhima ka armaan se shaadi sirf ek samjhauta tha. Sirf ek naam ka rishta. Why do you thing Riddhima aaj bhi Riddhima Gupta hai?

Sid: Par woh rishta Riddhima ke zindagi ki ek saachai hai.

Juhi: Which Riddhima does not think so nahi toh woh uska ghar kabhi nahi chodti.

Sid: Par usne armaan ka ghar kyu choda?

Juhi: If you feel it is because of you then  No!!! That's not the case. Riddhima iss rishtey ka bhoj bahoot saalo se sirf apne family ki wajay se utha rahi thi. Par beech mein jab usse Atul se bata chala ki armaan ne uss raat ke baare mein Atul ko bataya tha tab usse bahoot bura laga ... Actually uska batana usse itna bura nahi laga jitna ki batane ka reason ka bura laga. armaan tumhare aur khud ke pyaar ko compare karte huye apna pyaar ko mahaan prove karna chahata tha aur usne uss raat ki misaal dete huye Atul ko prove karna chaha ki who kitna sahi tha.  

Sid was stunned. He wondered if Juhi was referring to the night when he had called Riddhima to meet her in the tent.  

Juhi read his question 'Mujhe maloom hai uss raat ke baare mein'

Sid hung his head in dismay which pained Juhi. Sid was disturbed that Riddhima disclosed this fact without once thinking about her reputation. Seeing this Juhi explained him the circumstances which led to this. He had a right to know.

Juhi: 'Riddhima ko maine ek raat bahoot force kiya tha mujhe tum dono ke baare mein batane ke liye just to understand what went wrong with your relationship. Koi insaan aisi baat admit nahi karega par Riddhima ne ki. Uss raat maine Riddhima ko provoke karne ke liye tumpe extra marital affair ka ilzaam lagaya tab woh baat bardaast nahi kar payi. Woh toh tumhare khilaf kuch nahi sunn sakti. Ab bhi agar main tumhare khilaf ek choti si baat bhi keh doo toh mujhse lad padegi.  Tumhare baare mein koi kuch bhi galat bole toh usse bardaast nahi hota. 

How much ever argument Juhi posed that armaan did not matter yet the fact remained that as on date armaan and Riddhima did share a relationship though it was only on paper. 'But the relationship exists aur main ek shaadi tootne ka karan nahi banana chahata'  

Juhi: It's a dead relationship. So how can you be responsible? Agar koi aur baat hai toh bolo cause I will never buy this point of yours.  

Sid: Juhi   It's complicated. My family, her family, after all that happened  Though they don't know as much as you do but after all these years pata nahi accept kar payenge ya nahi aur unki marzi zaroori hai.

Juhi: You both mature individuals. You can make your decisions and I am sure they will want you happiness.

Sid: Yes but then 

Juhi: Kya tum Rohan ke wajay se pareshan ho ki Riddhima usse accept kar payegi ya nahi

Sid: Rohan toh Riddhima ka apna khoon hai

Juhi: What!!! How is that possible?

Sid: Riddhima Rohan ki maasi hai

Come again? Asked Juhi doubting if she had heard Sid right.

Sid: Rohan ki maa

Juhi: Shilpa

Sid: Aur Riddhima they are half sisters

Juhi: Riddhima ne kabhi mujhe bataya nahi ki uski aur ek behen hai

Sid: Usse maloom nahi

Juhi: Aur tumhe maloom tha?

Sid: Haan

Juhi: Tumne usse kabhi bataya nahi?

Sid: Jab main yaha se gaya tab maine armaan ko bataya tha Riddhima ko batane ke liye par lagata hai ki usne kabhi Riddhima ko bataya hi nahi

Now you know why I hate that man said Juhi gritting her teeth.

Sid: Juhi!!!

Juhi: Oh please main tumhari tarah mahaan nahi hoon. Anyways  ab tum kyun nahi bata rahe ho

Sid: Kya batau Riddhima ko ki uski ek behen thi jo ab nahi rahi. Kya beetegi uss par jab usse pata chalega ki uske hotey huye Shilpa and Rohan battled everything out on their own.

Hearing all this brought tears to Juhi's eyes. She was upset for the fate all had suffered. Her respect for this man grew by leaps and bounds. She was happy to be his friend. Collecting her thoughts she said 'Riddhima would be happy to have Rohan then. Aur Rohan ko ek maa ka pyaar mil sakta hai.'

Sid: Maine hamesha se chaha ki Riddhima ki ek apni sooch ho. Apne decisions woh khud le. Agar main usse yeh ab batauga toh yeh saach usse pressurize kar sakta hai. Woh kya chahati hai woh bahoot important hai Juhi.

'Woh tumhari khushi chahati hai.' Juhi understood why Riddhima was pushing her towards Sid despite the strong pangs of jealousy she felt. 

Sid: Par sirf meri khushi ke liye woh yeh decision le yeh sahi nahi hai. Aaj Riddhima ki zindagi bahoot ulaj gayi hai. Woh Riddhima jisse main jaanta tha, jisse maine pyaar kiya lagta hai ki woh kahi kho si gayi hai. Usse khud ko khojhna hoga, samjhana hoga ki woh khud kya chahati hai; apne zindagi se, khud se. Uski uljhi huyi zindagi ki guthi sirf woh hi suljah sakti hai aur uske baad hi woh jo decision legi woh sahi hoga. Aur iss mein woh khudhi apni madad kar sakti hai.

Riddhima had lost touch with herself in the bargain of maintaining all the relationships in her life. While seeking everyone's happiness, she had ignored what her heart desired. She indeed needed to rediscover herself.

Sid was right. For doing this only Riddhima could help herself. Juhi could not help her in doing this but she could do one thing so Juhi decided that she would at least do what was in her capacity.

Juhi had not checked on Shashank since the time she got busy with the conference. So the next day, she decided to visit Shashank before joining duty. Everything seemed to progress well with him. After checking on Shashank, Juhi and Riddhima left for Sanjeevani together in Juhi's car.

Due to Sid's conversation Juhi decided to let the topic of Sid and Riddhima's future be. They travelled quietly most of the journey both lost in their own thoughts. It was friendship day and Juhi was wondering what to gift Sid. As the car stopped at a long signal, Juhi saw some street vendors selling some flowers at the signal. Immediately an idea struck Juhi 'Flowers!!!'

'What?' Riddhima came out of her thoughts hearing Juhi exclaim

Juhi: Flowers ... Aaj friendship day hai na so was thinking it would be a great idea to get flowers for Siddhant as a gift.

'That's a good idea' commented Riddhima.

Riddhima saw the street vendors at the signal selling flowers and realized that they must have given Juhi the idea. Before Juhi could call out to one of the vendor Riddhima stopped Juhi 'Siddhant ko flowers dene hai toh yaha se mat lo'

Juhi: Kyu?

Riddhima: Mat lo yaha se  aage ek proper flower shop hai  waha se le lo.

Juhi: Flowers hi toh hai toh waha se ya yaha se kya farak padta hai?

Riddhima: Farak padta hai bas tum Siddhant ke liye yaha se flowers mat lo

Juhi: But Riddhima...

Before she could argue further Riddhima brought her attention to the traffic which had started moving and Juhi had to drive on.

But the incident kept hovering in Juhi's mind. She could not understand the reason behind Riddhima's insistence of not buying flowers from the signal vendors till she remembered a similar incident.

Juhi: 'Main mandir jaa rahi hoon aur main phool lena bhool gayi'

Riddhima: It's ok  mandir ke bahar mil jayenge

Juhi: Haan  par phir late ho jayega. Isse acha hai ki main yeh signal pe khade logo se le leti hoon

Riddhima: Nahi Juhi  yaha se mat lena yeh log jo phool bechte hai woh jyaada tar use kiye phool hotey hai

Juhi: What do you mean?

Riddhima: Woh normally mandir ka chadhava hota hai jisse woh wapis bhech rahe hotey hai ya phir

Juhi: Mandir ka chadhava ho toh theek hai. Bhagwaan ko chadhaya hua toh wapis bhagwaan ke pass ja raha hai.

Riddhima: Par chadhave mein kabhi jhootha prasad ya chadhaye huye phool use nahi karte.

Juhi: Tum kabhi bhagwaan mein nahi manti toh yeh sab kaise jaanti ho.

Riddhima: Mumma ne bataya aur ab tum baal ki khaal mat nikalo. Bas tum yaha se mat lo. Late ho gayi toh no problem I am ok with it. After all report toh mujhe karti ho. You have my permission to get late one day.

It was more than evident to Juhi that Riddhima still loved Sid but now Juhi seemed to realize what exactly Sid meant to Riddhima. She kind of worshiped him. Maybe this was the reason behind her faith that Sid could never do anything wrong. Probably that was also one of the reasons why she was pushing Juhi towards Sid. Riddhima not just seeking Sid's happiness but somewhere she felt she did not deserve him.

Juhi brushed her thoughts aside as Riddhima brought Juhi's attention to the approaching flower shop.

Juhi picked up two small bouquets of yellow roses while Riddhima looked on from her seat

Just to test Riddhima Juhi asked 'Tum kuch nahi logi'

Riddhima: Huh!!!

Juhi: Gift? Aaj friendship day hai ya tum mujhe friend nahi manti ab ...

Riddhima: Nahi

What!!! how dare you say? Juhi almost screamed

'Haan nahi loongi .. Kyuki  tumhare liye already kuch hai' and Riddhima pulled out a bar of Juhi's favorite chocolate.

'Oh!!! thank you!!! and this one is for you' said Juhi handing over one of the bouquet to Riddhima.

Juhi's gesture moved Riddhima. Juhi has always been there for her taking all of Riddhima's mood swings in her stride, always trying to understand her. 'Thank you' said Riddhima.

Juhi: Kis liye?

Riddhima: For being there �

Juhi was itching to ask Riddhima 'what about Sid?' but refrained. She did not want to push Riddhima so just she commented 'What are friends for' and drove on towards Sanjeevani.

On a light day Riddhima would take a stroll in the park nearby. As she strolled in the park she wondered if she also could get Sid something. She wanted to give him something but what could she get him. As she walked back to Sanjeevani she passed the same flower shop. Variety of flowers adorned the shelves. As she stood there looking at them she decided that flowers were not a bad idea 'But which?'.

The owner of the shop was an old gentleman. He looked the type who was right out of the Victorian times. He quietly waited for Riddhima to make a choice. He was used to seeing young people trying to impress the significant others with flowers but on seeing Riddhima's nervous confused state he knew the purpose behind the purchase was different.

He felt like helping her chose the correct flower. After a while seeing her still unable to make a decision he asked 'So for whom would you like to buy the flowers? As in what relation do you have with the person for whom you would like to make a purchase?'

It was a real tough question. Nobody could ever give name this relationship. She thought for a moment and replied 'He is a very important person'

Shop owner: 'As in someone who is important in your life or someone who hold an influential place in the society'

Riddhima: He is an important person in my life

Shop owner: Is he your significant other?

The answer would pain her but it was just the result of her own deeds. She needed to live with it. Riddhima: No

Shop owner: Hope you don't mind me asking you so many questions. You see each flower conveys a different meaning and the meaning is supposed to signify how one feels. I have seen many who rarely understand this sensitive topic and ended up making a rash decision while selecting the flowers. So you wish to I could help you but I would need to know a little more

Riddhima thought for a moment and nodded her head.

Shop owner: So you said he is an important person in your life… So can I say he is one whom you can never forget or he will always remain in your mind and your soul.

Riddhima just nodded. The shop owner noticed that Riddhima seemed to be in a trance. As if she was reliving those better moment of her life spent with this important person of her life. This important person of her life had definitely been or would become her significant other. This lady definitely had very strong feeling for this man and so to confirm he asked 'Do you have feelings stronger than just mere friendship or care or concern. Feeling which a woman may possess for her man'

If she did not have such feelings for him still then why did she always feel so jealous of any girl near being near Sid. Be it when he went to see a girl for marriage, be it when he befriended and defended Shilpa against her or for that matter Juhi. Riddhima just nodded once again.

The old man smiled and her gesture. He could give her a variety of flowers cause what she felt for this important man could never be expressed with the help of a single type of flower yet the best choice seemed to be only one. He picked out a single flower from the bunch and held it up for Riddhima. Seeing the beautiful creation of nature Riddhima heart instinctively affirmed the idea. After a while made way to Sanjeevani.

Next was the biggest task 'How to give it to Sid?' The possible of Sid being from lunch or his rounds Riddhima made her way towards his office. She felt very nervous suddenly as she neared his office. The thought of what Sid would think and how he would react kept playing on her mind increasing her nervousness further. For a moment she almost dropped the idea however her got better of her mind and she walked in. Fortunately or unfortunately for Riddhima Sid was not there. After much thought she nimbly placed her gift on his table and pulled out a piece of paper from his note pad to write a note. She wanted to say so much but just could not think of words to express what she felt for this man. She thought for a while and then jotted down her message and moved out. She waited in the corridor outside for a while waiting for Sid to come and he came to claims what was for him. His stance was strangely too nervous as if he was apprehensive of his crime being any moment.

Riddhima breath caught in her throat as Sid's walk came to a grinding halt.

The simplest yet the most beautiful sight awaited him. His heart said it was from that special person He kept staring at it as if trying to make sure it was not a dream

Riddhima's stared nervously barely able to breathe properly She could feel her heart beats increase rapidly from the fear that this would upset Sid again. She stood there with crossed fingers hoping that what she was thinking was not true.

Sid slowly walked up to his desk pick the flower A pink carnation. As he kept looking at the carnation lovingly, a smile played on Riddhima's lips. Not exactly a happy one but a nervous smile. He was yet to read the note. For a moment she cursed herself for writing what she had. It might just undo all that they had managed to mend.

Sid saw there was a note also. He carefully unfolded the note as if the slightest urgency would erase the words meant for his eyes. As his eyes read those words from that precious person a wide smile broke out as tears of joy spilled down his cheeks.

 'To the one and only From Your Riddhima'

The sight brought the biggest joy in her life 'Sid had accepted her gift'
Happy with life she walked back to her office in for a surprise herself.

Part 96
As Riddhima entered her office a familiar sight awaited her. She immediately flashed back 10 years back. That day also a similar gift was awaiting Riddhima. She did not know the meaning of it then but today she knew.

Curiosity had gotten better of Riddhima and Riddhima had questioned the old friendly shop owner.

Riddhima: 'You say that each flower represents one’s feeling for the person whom one is giving the flower to.'

'That’s right.'

'Then what would a white carnation stand for'

'That represents the pure innocent love one has for the other.'

An affectionate smile had played on Riddhima's face for a moment ... indeed Sid's every emotion was pure and innocent ... and so was his love ... and how cruel she was been towards every emotion of his .... Her smile quickly faded away thinking of the lifetime of pain and sorrow she had inflicted on Sid.

She knew in his innocence Sid had unknowingly gifted her most perfect flower back then and today also. It most appropriately signified what Sid felt for Riddhima 'Pure innocent love’ just as pure and innocent he was.

A fond smile played on her lips as she remembered Sid's promise to her 'Mere dil ke ek hisse mein tumhare liye hamesha pyaar rahega.’ Tears pricked the corners of her eyes as she picked up the flower and gently caressed it. Life seemed to have found new meaning for her. She felt the urge to give life another chance.

That evening, Juhi finished her work early and went to meet Sid with a new plan. She had deliberately had not given Sid her gift. As she exited her office s she found Sid standing in front of her office. Sid was holding something in his hand which he quickly hid that behind his back.

‘Kaha jaa rahi ho yeh leke? Questioned Sid eyeing the bouquet of yellow roses in her hand.

Juhi: Tumhare pass aa rahi thi ... Yeh tumhare liye ... Happy friendship day!!!

Sid was quick to reciprocate with it with his gift for her which he hid behind his back wanting to surprise her. A huge bouquet of yellow roses just like hers.

‘They are so pretty. Thank you!!!’ squealed Juhi in child like excitement.

‘So now what next?’ asked Sid.

Juhi's half work was completed without any effort. She would not need to coax Sid for going out dinner now.

‘Dinner but we will go to a new place this time’ suggested Juhi.

Sid: Then you suggest.

Juhi: I know this place that we all will like.

Sid: We all? Aur kyon hai?

Juhi: Riddhima ... Riddhima, you and me ... bas hum teeno. Come on, its Friendship day. Urged Juhi seeing Sid a little hesitant

It was Juhi's lucky day to have Sid agree without much fuss. This was the least he could do for her. Plus that would give him the opportunity to check if his gift had gone down well with her.

Juhi asked Sid to complete his work fast so that they would have enough time to spend a leisurely evening when she spotted Riddhima. She was quick to call her 'Riddhima yaha aao'

Seeing them both hanging on to their bouquets Riddhima nervously walked up to them.

Juhi: Aaj sham kya kar rahi ho?

Riddhima: Kuch khaas nahi kyu?

Juhi: Great then its decided. We are all three are going out for dinner.

Despite all the amends made Riddhima still felt little nervous about this idea. The wounds had not completely healed and she did not to pile on these two.

Riddhima: Nahi ... actually main soch rahi thi ki apne ghar jaa ke apne kapde pick up kar loo

Juhi immediately dismissed the idea saying ‘Kal pick up kar lena. Aaj hi karne ki koi zaroorat nahi.’
Riddhima: Theek hai par Mumma ko bhi ...

Juhi realised these all were lame excuses so she immediately cut in 'Aunty ko poochna padega ... Wait' in a flash Juhi pulled out her phone and dialled the Gupta residence.

‘Kya kar rahi ho?’ Riddhima protested

‘Aunty se permission le rahi hoon’ Juhi plainly replied knowing that was the only way to corner Riddhima.

By this time the call had connected and Sid and Riddhima became mere spectators to the conversation between Juhi and Padma. They could do nothing but awkwardly stand there listening to Juhi speak.

'Aunty main sooch rahi thi ki Riddhima ko aaj bahar dinner ke liye le jao. Woh kya hai na aaj Friendship day hai isiliye ...’

Padma: Haan toh?

Juhi: Riddhima todha sankhoch kar rahi thi ... as in Dr Shashank abhi abhi ghar aaye hai aur woh bahar jaa rahi hai dinner ke liye

Padma: Theek hai na. Aisa toh nahi hai na ki tum log bahoot dino ke liye holiday pe jaa rahe ho. Dinner hi toh hai. Kuch ghanto ki baat hai aur waise bhi Atul aur Anjali hai yaha pe. Tum log jao.

Juhi: Thank you Aunty. That is so kind of you.

She disconnected the call and turned to Riddhima ‘Chalo Aunty ne bhi permission de di’

‘Ok ok theek hai’ said Riddhima knowing there was no escape

Juhi: Toh ek gante baad milte mere office mein

Seeing all settled Sid turned to return to his office leaving Riddhima and Juhi behind. As soon as Sid left Juhi turned to Riddhima and pulled her into her office.

‘Tum itna natak kyu karti ho?’

Riddhima looked offended with Juhi's allegations but just kept mum.

Juhi: Acha sorry par phir bhi ... acha chalo ... ab aur koi bahana nahi chahiye. Ek gante mein tum yaha honi chahiye aur please todhi theek thak ho ke aana.

This statement really irritated Riddhima ‘What do you mean by that?’

Juhi: Nothing ... aaj saree pehena kya zaroori tha ... ek dum behenji ki tarah woh bhi

Riddhima: Mere khapde...

Juhi: Oh please ... acha jaane do yeh bhi theek hai

Riddhima: I don't want to come

Juhi: Why?

She wanted to say the truth but ended up saying ‘I don't feel I ...’

Knowing one more excuse regarding thje clothes coming her way she said ‘Ab jaane do hume tumhare saath dinner karna hai tumhare excuses ke saath nahi so go now ...’ Juhi held the door open for Riddhima and pronounced the final order ‘Ek ghanta remember.’

Riddhima have Juhi one last angry look and left for her office.

After approximately an hour Juhi called Riddhima to remind her that her time was nearly up. She needed to get moving. All the nervousness disappeared the moment her eyes fell on the white carnation that that sat on her table. She collected her bag and started walking towards the elevator. As she passed one of the changing rooms Juhi’s words rang in her ears. She walked in to take a look at her. She indeed stopped bothering about her appearance. 'Behenji ki tarah!!!'

She kept analysing her appearance and she did not know why but it bothered her today.

‘Aaj hi saree pehene ka kyu sujah’ Riddhima chided herself. It was a nice light blue color chifon saree yet that too seemed to irritate her. For ease of working she had pleated the plallu of the saree and pinned it up.

After a moment’s thought, she removed the pin and let the pallu flow down gracefully. But still she did not seem happy with her appearance.

She urgently started digging her purse hoping to find something that would save the situation. There was just a kajal pencil and a lip gloss hidden in the corner of her bag which she hardly used. She looked at them and then got down to highlighting her eyes.

She dropped the idea of the lip gloss. She felt like that would be over doing things. Though not completely satisfied with her appearance she decided to head towards Juhi's office.

As Sid was about to open the door to Juhi's office an indiscernible pull stopped him. 'Riddhima’. He turned around to see the most magnificent sight. She knew he would be there but just the fact that he was there right now in front of her threw everything off balance.

Sid just could not take his eyes away from her. The same soft look adorned his face as he was sent into a trance by those beautiful hazelnut eyes. He saw that urge to give life another chance which was missing all this while.

He always managed to read those eyes. They seemed to be searching an answer which he unknowingly answered.

They always spoke their own secret language. A language devoid of any words. The happy glint in Sid's eyes and the sweet smile which Sid always had when he looked at her was enough for her. It always had the power to stir all the hidden emotions in Riddhima. She never understood why she always fought revelling in those.

Sid's eyes held her gaze. His soft gaze always brought all her nervousness gushing to the fore. She lowered her eyes as she unconsciously started fidgeting twirling the end of her pallu. Seeing her all nervous a faint smile crept up on Sid’s lips. He slowly turned and held the door open for her.

Juhi was observing this quietly, smiling to herself. They needed to be left to themselves to find the road that would lead to their destiny which she hoped may just lead them to each other. They both had suffered a lot, especially Sid. But somewhere she knew how much ever pain Riddhima had brought into Sid's life, only she could be the one to heal it. His heart would always seek her.

Seeing them walk in she quickly put away her cell phone into her bag and asked ‘Chale’

‘Hmmm’ they both answered together. Sid held the door open for the ladies.

They walked towards the car park, Riddhima and Juhi in front while Sid following them quietly as the two seemed to be talking in hushed voices.

Juhi: Hmm achi lag rahi ho ... I am impressed.

Riddhima: Maine yeh tumhe impress karne ke liye nahi kiya.

Juhi: Oh my god toh kya Siddhant ko impress karne ke liye kiya ... Nice!!!

Riddhima: Shut up Juhi ... Tum dono ke beech out of place na lago isiliye kiya

Juhi: Okk  ... if you say so ... Par todhi lipstick, lip gloss laga deti.

Riddhima: Socha tha par then

Juhi: Match nahi ho raha tha .... I knew it ... zhali ki tarah rehne ki adat ho gayi hai toh kaise rahega yeh sab tumhare pass. Mujhse le leti. Main hamesha ek neutral color rakti hoon ... abhi chahiye

Riddhima: Nahi ...

Juhi: Le lo ... achi dikhogi ... who has already started searching her purse.

Ridhhima: Nahi rakho andhar .... Please scene mat create karo

Juhi was enjoying this to the core. She very rarely had the chance with Riddhima so she was going to have her fun. ‘Main scene kar rahi hoon ... scene toh tum create karongi. Ek ek aadmi raste mein katal karti jaane wali ho with these killer looks ... ‘Ek toh already ho gaya shahid ... lagta hai ..’. she thought throwing a backward glance at Sid.

They waited for Sid to pull out his car when Dr Abhay came there looking all worried.

'Dr Juhi come fast we have an urgent case we will need you there immediately.’

Juhi looking shocked 'Who is it?'

Abhay: It’s a new patient.

Juhi immediately started walking back towards the building 'Come lets go.’

Sid immediately pitched in ‘Main bhi aata hoon.’

JuhiL Nahi tum log jao main manage kar loongi.

Riddhima: Nahi its ok we will wait for you. Tum dekh lo kya hai.

Juhi: Zidd mat karo tum dono jao main jaise hi khatam hota hai I will join you. Now don't waste time.

Sid: Par Juhi...

‘Its ok aap log jao. Please ab plans cancel mat karke mujhe gussa mat dilao. Chaliye Dr Abhay’ said Juhi and walked out leaving Sid and Riddhima behind.

Sid could not get himself to leave Juhi behind nor could Riddhima. They stood there looking at each other contemplating what to do.

Sid: Main Juhi ke help ke liye jaata hoon.

Riddhima: Hmm usse akela chod ke jaana nahi chahiye.

Sid: Hmm par agar wapis gaya toh Juhi bahoot gussa hogi.

They both fell silent thinking about what to do.

Juhi walked back towards the building with Dr Abhay. He wanted to ask this question since she called him some minutes back. ‘There is no emergency then why did you do make me say so?’
That question was to come sometime but she definitely could not tell Abhay the reason behind her drama so she plainly replied ‘I did not want to go for dinner with them. Woh do sirf kaam ki baate karte rehte.’

Knowing the type of people Sid and Riddhima were Abhay could understand Juhi's apprehensions of spending the evening with them. Juhi waited at the entrance for Sid and Riddhima to drive away 'I will take your leave Dr Juhi’ and turned to leave.  

Juhi: Hmm ... Waise kafi achi acting ki aapne.

Abhay's face lit up with that compliment. 'You know Dr Juhi agar papa mujhe force nahi karte toh main actor banana chahata tha.’ He announced gleefully. ‘Main abhi bhi ek theater group se juda hoon.’

Before he could go on with his acting heroics Juhi interrupted 'Itni bhi achi acting nahi karte ho ... apko nahi lagta woh kuch jyaada hi ho gaya?’

Perturbed by the sudden chance in feedback he questioned 'Sach mein kya jyaada ho gaya?'

Looking at his upset face Juhi did not have a heart to upset or tease him further though she was quite amused with Abhay perplexed expressions. After all he was a partner in crime with her and he indeed had did a good job acting alarmed about a patient’s condition and had gotten Juhi out of that place.

She stifled her laughter and said 'Actually theek the ... It’s just that I just don't want to encourage you too much. Nahi toh soon I will need to sit you down for in a retention meeting.’

Abhay: That's so mean of you Dr Juhi.

Juhi: It’s ok ... todhi bemani chalti hai. I don't want to lose a possible good doctor on my team. Now go do your duty.

Abhay laughed and walked away leaving Juhi to keep watch on Sid and Riddhima.

Riddhima and Sid were still not convinced on leaving Juhi behind but in all circumstances going back would infuriate Juhi which also they didn't want to do. It was a tricky situation for them.

‘What to do?’ Sid asked to the nth time.

Riddhima shook her head not knowing the answer which they had been thinking all this while.

Finally Sid announced ‘Ek kaam karte hai yaha se chalte hai aur main Dr Abhay ko bol deta hoon ki agar zaroorat pade toh mujhe phone kar ke bula le.’

Riddhima: Hmmm yeh theek rahega.

Sid: Meri gaadi mein chalte hai.

Riddhima: Maine aaj apni gaadi nahi layi. Actually subah Juhi aayi thi papa ko milne toh main uske saath aa gayi. Riddhima did not know why she was giving Sid explanations for not having her car.

Sid too looked bewildered at Riddhima's uncalled for explanation. ‘Chale.’

‘Hmm’ Riddhima felt really stupid that she gave herself a soft whack on her head.

Juhi was getting really irritated. To add to her irritation someone asked her an absurd question 'Mahurat dhoond rahi ho?’

‘Nahi!!!’ she gritted under her breath and turned to see the possessor of that voice who dared to disturb her. ‘Rahul tum tum yaha kya kar rahe ho.’

Rahul: Mahurat ka intezar toh nahi kar raha hoon ...

Juhi: What?

Rahul: Ghar jaa raha hoon. Par tum kya kar rahi ho.

Juhi indicated towards Sid and Riddhima.

Rahul: Kya hua?

Juhi: Jaa hi nahi rahe hai.

Rahul: Tum unse chup kyu rahi ho?

Juhi: Haan ... Kyuki mujhe unke saath nahi jaana hai.

Rahul: Oh par kyu woh dono toh tumhare dost hai na?

Juhi: Haan hai .... lekin aaj nahi jaana hai.

Rahul: Waise jaa kaha rahe hai dono?

Juhi: Dinner ke liye

Rahul: Ok ... waise tum toh dinner karoongi na?

Juhi: Aaj friendship day hai. Aur maine nahi suna ki friendship day pe koi upwas rakta hai. Toh obviously mera upwaas nahi hai ... toh main dinner definitely karoongi.

Rahul: Toh saath dinner kare?

‘Kyu?’ asked Juhi suspiciously wondering why Rahul was asking such a question.

Rahul: ‘Well tumne hi kaha na aaj friendship day hai isliye toh kya mere saath chalna chahogi dinner ...par’

Juhi: Tum ...

‘Main sirf abhi dinner ke liye invite kar raha hoon’ said Rahul cautiously. Rahul liked Juhi and had wanted to ask Juhi out for a long time but was a little apprehensive of what she would think.

‘Sirf dinner ke liye’ he stressed on it to assure of his intentions.

Juhi smiled seeing Rahul trying to assure her of his intentions. ‘Ok ab ke liye dinner theek hai par jab tak yeh nahi jayege main nikal nahi sakti.’

Rahul: Ohh ... Chahe toh unhe bhi saath chalne ko kehte hai?

Juhi: Nahi unhe akele chodna better hai.

Rahul: Par kyu?

Juhi: Tumhe nahi samajha sakti main kyu ... Tum kyu panchayat kar rahe ho? Tumhe mere saath dinner pe jaana hai ya office work ke saath?

He looked scared imagining the possible conversation that could take place if he was to go out with these two workaholics ‘Nahi tumhara saath hi theek hai’

‘Then wait here chup chap’ ordered Juhi.

She kept looking at Sid and Riddhima as they got into the car 'Chale work done'

Rahul: Kaunsa kaam?

Juhi: Do logo ko akele chodne.

Rahul looked bewildered at Juhi's answer. From Sid's and her conversation the previous night, Juhi had already realized that there was little hope though she had not given up totally on them. What she did that evening was just what she thought she could do for them. Give them time. ‘Taki woh do log kuch yaadien bana le apne liye.’ 

Coming out of her thoughts she asked Rahul to lead the way for their dinner. ‘Chalo gaye woh’

Sid and Riddhima were unsure of what to do. Sid drove quietly for a while after which he was forced to ask 'Toh ab?'

Riddhima: Pata nahi.

Sid: Juhi ke bina jaana acha nahi lag raha hai.

‘Hmm ’ Riddhima nodded earnestly.

‘Toh kya kare?’ Sid asked halting the car on the side of the road.

The number of times they had asked each other that question the more they felt the other was not comfortable going out for dinner with the other.

Sid: Tumhe kuch kaam tha na?

Riddhima: Haan. Aur tumne bhi kal Panchgani jaana hai. Packing karni hogi?

Sid: Hmmm... Par aisa kuch khaas nahi hai. Todhe kapde abhi bhi waha hai toh I am fine.

Riddhima: Kal jaldi utna hoga na? Bahoot dino se theek tarah se sowe nahi ho aur uss par se itni lambi drive. Mujhe lagta hai ki tumhe driver le jaana chahiye.

Sid: Hmm  saach mein Juhi ke bina jaana kuch acha nahi lag raha

Riddhima: ‘Mujhe bhi’

Sid: Main tumhe ghar chod deta hoon.

Riddhima: Woh theek rahega. Hum kisi aur din ke liye plan karte hai.

‘Hmm’ and Sid started driving towards Riddhima's house.

The rest of the journey they travelled quietly considering what was in store for them when Juhi would come to know how they bombed the dinner plan.

Sid parked the car outside Riddhima's building and thought of checking on Juhi one last time.

Juhi faked that she was still in the hospital and the situation was under control. She assured Sid that she was having a gala time with the interns whilst monitoring the patient intermittently.

Sid: Patient is fine and Juhi is having some fun activities with the interns in Sanjeevani right now.

Riddhima: Oh ok ...mujhe chalna chahiye nahi toh tumhe der ho jayegi

Sid: Par tum ghar kaise jaogi?

Riddhima: Main manage kar loongi. Auto ya taxi mil jayegi.

Sid protective instinct came in play and he found himself suggesting that he waits back for her. 'Tum chaho toh main yaha rukhta hoon. Tum apna kaam khatam kar lo phir main tumhe ghar drop karke nikal jaonga'

Riddhima: Nahi tumhe late ho jayega.

Sid: It’s ok.

Riddhima: Par tumhe khana bhi ...

Sid: Woh toh simple hai.

Riddhima: Premade food?

Sid: Hmmm hardly takes any time

Riddhima: Yeh sab hamesha khana theek nahi Sid.

Sid: Its fine really ya phir main kuch order kar loonga ghar jaa ke.

The thought of him eating the ghastly pre-made food or even for that matter outside food like pizza or burgers bothered her. She wanted to invite him home.

Nervousness hit Riddhima in full force she stood there fidgeting with her pallu.

'Kya sooch rahi ho?' deliberated Sid seeing her nervously still standing there.

Finally mustering the courage she asked him 'Kya tumhe ghar ka khana chalega?'

Sid wondered what she meant by that.

Riddhima: I mean ...

Remembering that she also was yet to have dinner 'Tumne bhi dinner karna hoga?'

Riddhima: Hmmm

That seemed an ok idea. It would work well for both. 'Theek hai phir aur phir tum apna kaam bhi khatam kar sakti ho aur main tumhe ghar bhi chod doonga uske baad.'

Happy with Sid accepting her invitation she asked Sid to park the car inside the building compound.

Once home both did not know how to behave around each other.

Riddhima broke the awkward silence 'Tum baito I will make something quickly for both of us'

Sid: Main help kar do?

'Nahin tum rest karo. Tum thak gaye honge. Make yourself comfortable' said Riddhima wrapping the flowing pallu around her waist.

Sid noticed that and smiled at how Riddhima was gearing up for the tasks ahead.

'Ek kaam karo tum pehle fresh ho javo aur apne kapde pack kar lo. Main tab tak wait karta hoon ... I watch some television till then'

Riddhima accepted his suggestion and moved inside.

Sid soon got bored and moved to the kitchen thinking of what to cook that would be quick and easy. He could possibly not burden Riddhima with all the work. Knowing that she may have not returned since Shashank's hospitalization he did not expect to find much in the fridge but he took the liberty to open the fridge to check. He noticed the food that was laying there.

'Itna saara khana?' he wondered seeing the variety of dishes that lay there. After that evening Riddhima had not returned home and all the leftovers of the food that Riddhima had made for Sid still lay in the fridge. He quietly put the food back after checking and got himself down to making himself useful.

Tears were streaming down his eyes as the onions tormented his eyes.

Intermittently he would use the back of his hand to rub his eyes to either wipe away the tears or to ease the pricking pain the onions were causing.

Riddhima quickly changed into a plain pista coloured chunidar kurta, packed a few clothes and walked out of her bedroom. She heard someone sniffing and gasping in her kitchen. As fear struck she  rushed to kitchen to find Sid standing near the kitchen platform.

'Kya rahe ho tum!!! Hato Sid!!!' she lurched forward trying to grab the knife from Sid.

Stubbornly he warded her off. 'Nahi main hi inka kaam tamam karoonga aur phir hum inhe cook karenge' trying to imitate evil monster laughing before devouring his prey.

Riddhima kept looking at hapless Sid trying to make his way through the second onion. The sight was getting unbearable for her. 'Sid please chodo tumhari aankhen bi laal ho gayi hai. Please mujhe karne do please Sid' she begged. Sid doubled his pace and finished putting the onion to his fate 'Done!!!' he celebrated triumphantly.

Sid child like behaviour amused Riddhima 'Ho gaya waise kya karne ki sooch rahe the tum?

Sid: Tumhari help... Kuch bhi banavo onions toh use honge na isiliye onions kaat raha tha.

Riddhima: Tum kaat kum rahe the aur row jyaada rahe the. Acha chalo tum javo aur bahar baito main khana bana leti hoon.

Sid: Nahi main bhi help karta hoon. Let’s make something quick and easy. I don't want you stressing yourself out like what I saw in the fridge.

Riddhima remembered about the food in the fridge which she had made for Sid.

Sid: Itna khana kyu banaya? Kisi ko invite kiya tha ya expect kar rahi thi?

'Nahi ...aise hi....bana diya' she replied nervously not wanting to make it obvious that she was expecting him that evening.

Sid: Waise aaj kya sooch rahi ho banane ka?

Riddhima: Tumhe kya pasand hai?

Sid: Mujhe kuch bhi chalega.

Riddhima: Daal chawal aur potatoes ki sabzi pasand hai?

Sid: Hmm ... Sounds great.

Riddhima: Saach mein?

Sid: Haan and that will be easier to make. I will peel out the potatoes.

Riddhima: Tum jao rest karo. Main karti hoon.

Sid: Let me help.

Riddhima: Nahi tum jao.

Sid: Acha toh mein fridge clear deta hoon.

Riddhima: Tum nahi manoge na.

Sid smiled nodding his his head.

Riddhima: Theek hai.
Sid cleared the fridge and make himself useful cleaning the vessels despite Riddhima objections. After which Sid set the table for the dinner.

Juhi was right. Not only did this evening refresh some of their memories but also was giving them a chance to make some new ones.

While Riddhima cooked and Sid set the table each looked on fondly at the other reminiscing the old days while collecting some new happy memories in their heart which would give them strength to carry on.

'Done.' exclaimed Sid bringing Riddhima out of her daze. Riddhima packed off the piece of memory in a sweet corner of her heart.

They were mostly quiet during their dinner. Riddhima was still a little edgy trying to figure out it the food suited Sid's taste.

Sid caught her stealing a glance at him every now and then. He looked at her plate to notice that food was almost untouched. She kept pushing the food around absentmindedly. 'kya hua? Yeh Khana tumne hi banaya hai?' joked Sid.

Riddhima: Hmm huh nahi kuch nahi.

Sid read the question in her eyes. 'Khana acha bana hai.'

Riddhima: Kya tumhe mera khana pasand aaya?

Understanding Riddhima wanted to know if he liked her food always or not. 'Mujhe saach mein tumhara khana pasand tha.'

Contented with his assurance she started eating her meal.

It was a simple evening sharing a simple meal spending time with each other at home talking, knowing each other. This is exactly what their hearts ever desired. A simple life that was still so special.

Umpteen dinners with Juhi had gotten Sid habituated to a dessert. After the sumptuous dinner he was left craving for one.

Though the impromptu dinner did not give time for Riddhima to prepare anything special yet she tried her best to do so. Despite Sid's objections she stealingly managed to whip up a quick sweet dish. Kheer.

Sid was pleasantly surprised. They sat in the balcony savourig the dessert talking away into the evening.

When company is pleasurable time passes so quickly.

Life seemed to have just started becoming beautiful when Sid realised that it was already going to close to 11 in the night. ‘Garah baj rahe hai. Hume chalna chahiye nahi toh bahoot der ho jayegi.’

Wistfully Riddhima agreed and Sid drove Riddhima back to Gupta residence. Their dream evening was coming to an end and for Riddhima realisation of reality awaited her.

A quick glance towards the house told them that they being together that evening had not gone unnoticed by someone.

Part 97

Atul and Padma were on the terrace having a leisurely late night walk discussing the road ahead in general. On the many topics discussed they carefully avoided talking about Riddhima and armaan. Unsaid words are always stronger than spoken ones. They both knew the other was thinking about it but decided it was more prudent to talk to the concerned person individually. Padma had already done her bit. Atul was just hoping his conversation with Riddhima would have some effect. When they saw Riddhima alighting from Sid's car worry clouded their minds. Padma threw a dismissal glance and walked off.

After bidding a quick goodbye Sid drove away leaving Riddhima at the gate of Gupta residence.

As Riddhima entered the house Padma's disappointed expression awaited her. Riddhima had chosen to ignore this for all these years as she had come to realize that Padma never approved with Riddhima's relationship with armaan after her divorce with Sid neither the way she handled herself in the relationship with armaan. Today it somehow bothered her. The person in question with her was Sid. She tried stopping her to give an explanation. Padma was far too upset and did not feel like listening to Riddhima list of excuses and explanations. She excused herself saying it was very late and it would be wise to catch some rest.

Atul was watching this from the top of the stairs. Riddhima saw the same look in his eyes too. 'Not him too.' she thought back and immediately stopped him. 'Atul hum sirf dinner ke liye gaye the.'

She worded those words and that's when she realized that it sounded the most immature reason which teenager would give when she caught red handed by her parent. Atul felt the same. He raised his hand to stop her from speaking further. 'Mujhe explaination dene ki zaroorat nahi hai.' He turned to withdraw to his room.

Riddhima rushed up the stairs towards Atul. 'Atul meri baat suno. Please Atul.' she pleaded.

Atul: Riddhima yeh tumhari zindagi hai. Tum jo chahati ho to kar sakti ho.'

Riddhima: Atul tum jaisa sooch rahe ho waisa kuch nahi hai. Hum sirf dinner karne ke liye gaye the.'

Atul: Tum Juhi ke saath dinner karne jaane wali thi?

Riddhima: Haan lekin ek emergency aa gayi isliye ...

Atul: Aur phir tum dono gaye?

Riddhima: Nahi actually ...

Before she could even explain Atul spoke up

Atul: You need to take care of yourself your health you should not stress yourself with work so much like this. We are there to help you with anything be it Sanjeevani or papa's health.
Riddhima was bewildered seeing Atul change the direction of the conversation suddenly. Atul looked away in the direction of the stairs. Riddhima's followed his gaze and realized the reason for the change in conversation.

Anjali was surprised to see both of them talking again and to top it Riddhima was looking very tense. 'Kya hua? Itne tense lag rahe ho?'

Atul: Nahi main Riddhima ko bata raha tha ki she should not overwork herself and shifting in here would be better instead of shuffling between the houses.

Anjali: Hmmm that's a good idea. Par Ridzy maanegi tab na. Anyways chalo bahoot neend aa rahi hai Atul soone chalte hai.

Reluctantly Riddhima moved to her room leaving the husband and wife together.

As soon as Riddhima was out of hearing range Anjali turned to Atul and questioned him 'Mujhe aaj tak samaj nahi aaya ki tum itne upset kyu rehte ho armaan aur ridzy par. armaan se baat bhi nahi karte par aaj kal tum ridzy se bahoot baat karne lage ho kuch hua hai kya?'

Atul: Tumhe neend aa rahi thi na toh chale sone.

The previous time when they were down for the pooja she had caught Atul talking with Riddhima but Atul refused to share anything. Atul's sudden dismissal of the topic strengthened Anjali's doubts.

Sid felt completely different. His house did not seem the same to him. The evening was having a stronger effect on him than he thought. That faint smile on Riddhima's face refused to leave his memory.

He felt he had seen something in her eyes that evening which he had seen before too.

It was evoking all kinds of emotions in him. Memories came back sharply to him. His life with Riddhima and the time spent in their home. He fought those thoughts. She was obviously not there yet her presence was uncannily felt. He slumped onto the couch to ease his strained mind.

His eyes roamed the bare living room and out of thin air she seemed to appear in front of him.

Sitting on the opposite couch flicking through the television channels.

He averted those eyes. They would captivate him in no time like they always did.  'I think I need a drink.' he snapped out of his reverie. He moved towards the kitchen to get some soda and there she was again.

Peacefully preparing a meal for both of them.

He shut his eyes tight trying to clear his mind. He was definitely hallucinating he finally concluded and dropped the plan of a drink.

He swiftly turned and headed toward the bedroom. He uneasily peeked into the room as to check if she was there. He heaved a sigh of relief. 'Main kuch jyaada hi sooch raha hoon.' He did even change and plonked on the bed and within seconds he was fast asleep.

The next morning both woke up feeling extremely pleasant. The sense of reality had left them totally. The reality that they stood at the opposite end of the road.

Sid stood in front of mirror setting his hair when his eyes feel on the scar. It once again became a mark which told of the time when he had first felt that Riddhima did care about him. The previous evening had cleared the clouds surrounding this beautiful memory of his. He was remembering every beautiful moment when something jolted him back to reality.

The packed bag in the cupboard awaited him. He was due to leave for Panchgani. There was someone who was waiting for him and needed him there.

He could not come to terms that he let anything obstruct his focus. He ran his hand nervously as he collected his thoughts to come to terms with reality. He was no more Dr Siddhant Modi the significant other of Riddhima Modi. She was no more Riddhima Modi wife of Dr Siddhant Modi. She was Riddhima Gupta. This was the harsh reality. He had to confront it no matter how much he did not want to. He quietly picked up the bag making a resolve that he would not let his emotions cloud his rationale.

It was no different for Riddhima. She hummed to herself as she got ready for the new day in her life. She felt amazing this morning. Her feet did not seem to touch the ground below as she was still swooning under the effect of the previous evening. She walked almost skipped her way into the living room.

Memories were catching up with her too. Here she had confessed to her father to Sid that he mattered. She had expressed her desire to marry the one who was the most important in her life.

She blushed at that thought. She felt like a new bride who was just back home to catch some precious moments with her family yet yearned to be back with the one who was her life.

For her too realization of reality was not too far. She jolted back to the present the minute she was confronted by a dismissal look that Padma threw her way. It felt as if life was sucked out of her. The happy smile gave way to persistent troubled look her face had when she was here. Dreading every next moment would bring a discussion about an unwanted topic.

Riddhima lived in the constant fear that someone would broach the topic alleging Sid to be responsible for her decisions.

Back in Panchgani Sid tried to give full attention to Rohan yet he found his mind constantly running to understand that look in Riddhima's eyes. The more he dwelled on it the more he was being pulled into it. Maasi's experienced eyes were quick to catch. After dropping Rohan back to the boarding school Maasi broached the topic.

From all that Shilpa had told her she understood that though Sid had moved on in life in terms of priorities he would never be able to give anyone the place that Riddhima had in his life. He had loved Riddhima with all his heart and would never be able to share that love anyone else. That love which lay buried in his heart was re surfacing in Sid's eyes.

Over discussion Sid spoke about his apprehensions like he had spoken to Juhi. Maasi after hearing him out only had one piece of advice for Sid.

'Riddhima aaj apni zindagi ke ek nazuk mod pe khadi hai. Usse uski zindagi se kya chahiye woh usse khud decide karne hoga woh sahi hai. Lekin ... Ek ladki hamesha chahegi ki usse bina kisi dabav ke ek insaan accept karen Na taras kha ke na koi samjhauta karke'

'Tum sooch rahe hoge ki yeh toh tumne pehle bhi kiya tha toh phir kyu sab kuch galat hota gaya'

'Par tab kya tumne Riddhima ko bataya tha ki tum uske liye kaise feel karte th'e

Sid now could understand Riddhima's plight. She wanted him to express himself freely

Par tumne kabhi kaha hi nahi kabhi kaha ki Riddhima I love you

Mujhe nahi maloom tha ki apne pati ki khushi chahana uske zindagi mein dhakal dena hota hai. Main tumhari zindagi mein interfere kar rahi hoon na toh main chali jaati hoon

'Aur shayaad bhi wohi cheese dhoond rahi ha'i

Sid was always scared that this would prejudice her decisions.

'Par mujhe apne feelings ko uske decisions ke aade aane nahi dena hai'

'Aaj agar tum usse kuch bhi kahoge toh uske faisle pe asar pad sakta hai. Aur tum Rohan ke wajay se ya halato ke dabav mein aa kar kuch mat karo Waqt do khud ko, usko, samjho aap dono kya chahate hai zindagi se ek doosre se Sirf woh chahati hai iss wajay se koi faisla mat lo jo mujhe lagta hai tumne hamesha liya hai.'

Maasi's advice gave Sid food for thought. It was true that they never really got time. Their relationship was always clouded with issues. Now also time was short. Within two weeks Sid would be heading back home with Rohan. He felt that destiny had given him a chance and he planned to utilize it to understand what exactly they desired from their lives, what was best for all. This time it was Riddhima who needed to decide, take the first step and he would have to wait for it.

Riddhima was also in quest of the answers. Though all avoided speaking directly Padma made sure to drop subtle hints while Atul strangely countered them reassuring looks. Anjali found this behavior extremely strange. Instead of jumping to conclusions she decided to investigate into the matter before confronting anyone especially her husband.

Sunday evening when Padma and Anjali were out for some grocery shopping when Atul found his chance to speak to Riddhima.

As Riddhima prepared the evening meal for everyone Atul walked in on pretext of making coffee for himself.

The reassurance in Atul eyes had kept Riddhima at ease but the minute Atul brought up the topic she became jittery.

He had been witness to the circumstances when Riddhima got married to Sid as well as her state when she got married to armaan. Atul had noticed the anxiety during the conference as well as the momentary peace in Riddhima's eyes now. He could now in the true sense understand what Riddhima felt for Sid. The respect the concern and the love for Sid was too evident to be ignored. Hence his question went out to Riddhima 'Riddhima kab tak bhagti rahogi?'

What did he mean? The question was plastered all over her face.

Atul deliberated 'Sid ... aaj bhi woh tumhari zindagi mein mayane rakta hai hai na...?'

She got scared that her honest answer would lead her to lose whatever little that remained of this relationship. She looked away cause nor could she tell the truth and she definitely did not want to lie. She hoped that Atul would get the message and let it be.

Understanding her dilemma Atul proceeded 'Tum jhoot nahi bolna chahati aur saach se mujhe koi aitraaz nahi hai'

Tears formed in her eyes as she found the same old Atul being there for her; a friend whom she had lost.

'Tum tab bhi Sid se pyaar karti thi na?'

Riddhima yet again looked away silently answering his question.

'Toh phir tab tumne woh sab kyu kiya?'

Tears rolled down her eyes telling the tale of her haplessness.

'Jitna main armaan ko jaanta hoon mujhe andaaza hai tumne aisa faisla kyu liya hoga.'

Riddhima looked up at him in awe

'Riddhima hum doctors hai. Agar body ka koi bhag shad gaya ho, usse gangrene ho gaya ho toh hume uss kharab hisse ko kaatna padta hai. Uss kharab hisse ko bachane ke liye hum upar ke ache hisse ko dav pe laga nahi sakte right Yeh toh tumhe maloom hi hoga.  Aisa karne ke liye ek bahoot ahem par sakth faisla lena padta hai.'

'Par tum yeh faisla nahi le payi aur issi wajay se aaj tumhari zindagi mein kuch ache insaan nahi hai.'

'Mere kehne ka yeh reason hai ki agar tumne aisa hi ek sakth faisla bahoot saalo pehle le leti toh aaj tumhari zindagi mein itna kuch galat nahi hota.'

'Tumne uss kharab hisse ko bachane ke liye apni zindagi ka ek ahem hissa gava diya. aaj phir se tumhare samane wohi sawal hai. Iss baar agar tumne galati kar di toh koi bhi tumhe bacha nahi payega.'

'Par Atul ...'

'Mujhe jo kehna tha maine keh diya aage tumhe kya karna hai iska decision tumhe lena hai.'

It was a difficult decision but if she would have taken at that time then the story of all their lives would have been different. There is always a tradeoff for anything in life. But the situation that they were in and the decision that she wanted to take would still entail hurting someone or the other. All that she wanted was not to hurt Sid anymore yet she knew her decision would still pain him. But what remained a greater question was that did she stand a chance also or not to take such a decision. Did Sid really want her back in his life? Would everyone accept them being together? There were too many questions and time was too little. She too realized the essence of time.

But all in all  for her Sid's happiness was most important so in this little time together she planned to make the most to find the answers to what exactly they desired from their lives, what was best for all.

They both needed to give each other time. The brief encounters at the nurse stations or at lunch left both pinning for spending more time with each other.

History seemed to repeating itself. Both were waiting to get a clue from the other what the other wanted.

Riddhima understood the need to take some bold steps but feared that it may unnerve Sid.

They both needed to give each other time. The brief encounters at the nurse stations or at lunch left both pinning for spending more time with each other.

History seemed to be repeating itself. Each trying to gauge what the other desired.

The day was easy and Sid finished his work relatively early that evening. Not wanting to behave too intrusive he decided to leave instead of hanging around. home was one place where those memories would be back to hound him so he decided to take a peaceful walk in the park.

Sid and Riddhima not wanting to burden each other always had chosen to keep safe distance but it was destiny that threw them together Again their destiny was conspiring.

As Sid stepped in strange calm enveloped him and an unexplained pull drew him to the far corner of the park from where the nearby shoreline was visible

The wind seemed to carry the news to her. Riddhima drew in a breath as if trying to engrave that feeling in her. 'Sid' as she worded his name he felt her heart call out to him. He stepped up and stood next to her 'Riddhima' Her heart felt at peace hearing him call out her name.

Both just stood there for a while listening to the waves crashing against the rocks. The winter chill was catching on. Sid saw Riddhima gently rubbing her arms trying keep warm.

'Thand lag rahi hai?'

She instantly looked up. It was quite cold. She instinctively nodded a yes but then gently nodded indicating a No. The thought that he would be feeling cold stopped her.

On that stormy night he had enveloped her in his protective arms. Somewhere at the back of his mind he wished if he could do the same now. Instead he just took off his coat and lightly placed it around her shoulders.

It was definitely not the coat but the gesture that filled her with warmth. As she looked up and as their eyes met for a brief moment. Sid quickly looked away not wanting to give away on his feelings.

He too felt a little cold. 'Mujhe itni thand nahi ...'

'It's ok Riddhima ...I am used to this weather ...I am fine.' Said Sid shoving his hands into his pockets stepping away a little indicating his refusal to take back his coat.

It was a beautiful evening of their life. They hardly spoke. Both were just absorbing the moment. This was their own precious moment. They strolled leisurely matching each other's pace oblivious of everything else around them. It was as if only they existed. 

Part 98

When one feel nice everything seems beautiful around you. That evening fulfilled many desires whilst rekindling many more. That evening built hope that there was a possibility that everything could be fine again.

Riddhima did not seem gloomy. Her aura radiated harmony. The pain in Sid's eyes had slowly given way to a faint twinkle hope and happiness.

That evening helped the tension to ease out.  They had started making peace with their past which helped them being more comfortable in their present lives and the world around them.
Riddhima and Sid started to open up steadily. Despite their busy schedules both did not fail to acknowledge each passerby's presence. Their stiff restrained facade radiated warmth and acceptance.

He did not look scared of letting down his defenses. Many a times, he was seen laughing joking with the interns and staff. His stance was more upbeat bringing a smile on Riddhima's face which was such a rare sight. All this lead to Riddhima being more spirited.

She felt like giving life a chance. Everything was changing. There was a marked change in her dressing too. Colors were back in her life.

These significant changes were too obvious to be sent unnoticed. Everyone in the hospital was surprised. Padma's keen eyes also noticed the same in Riddhima.

Riddhima would be found in the kitchen first thing in the morning enthusiastically preparing something special for the day.  There was an extra effort in everything she did and that too with a smile.

Juhi noticed lunches were becoming special occasions.

'Aaj wapis ghar ka khana. Kya baat hai!'

'Kyu ghar ka khana se parhez hai ya phir Siddhant ki tarah tumhe bhi woh pre-made khana ki lat lag gayi.'

'Woh maloom nahi par kisi ko ghar ke khana ki lat lagne ke bahoot chances dikh rahe hai.'

'Usse lat nahi achi aadat bolte hai aur aisi  aadate bahoot achi hoti hai'

'Par phir kuch dino ke baad ..'

'Huh ..'

'Nahi kuch nahi khana khate hai.'

'Haan chalo jaldi .. tum bahoot time leti ho.'

Riddhima would usher both Sid and her enthusiastically to finish work quickly leaving them with more time to savor the home cooked food she brought for all three.

'Riddhima tum Siddhant ko bulao main Dr Manoj se baat kar ke aati hoon.'

'Baad mein kar lena.'

'Aree bahoot dino ke baad haath aaya hai. Tum jao mujhe sirf do minute ka kaam hai.'

Juhi would excuse herself to quietly observe their interactions from a distance, not wanting to intrude on their moments together.

If Juhi dared to think, she was finding Riddhima become a tad bit bolder and demanding.

'Sid .. please chalo. Kaam baad mein kar lena pehle khana kha lo.'

'Sirf do minute aur. Yeh file khatam kar loo phir main aata hoon. Tum dono chalo.'

'Theek hai phir main bhi rukhti hoon. Juhi bhi apna kaam khatam kar legi tab tak.'

'Riddhima tum dono javo mujhe sirf do aur minute lagne wale hai.'

She would not insist further but she would not even budge till Sid finished his work at times forcing Sid to leave things for later.

At lunch it felt that Riddhima was waiting upon Sid and Juhi, perpetually urging them to eat well just like a perfect host would do.

'Tum dono ne kuch khaya hi nahi.'

'Aur khaongi toh pet phat jayega Riddhima'

'Juhi apne weight ko leke conscious hai.'

'Aisa hai toh tum khaona Sid. Tumhe toh nahi hona padega weight conscious. Riddhima usse do'

'Nahi I am done.'

'Thoda aur sirf thodasa aur ..'

Serving them had become her favorite hobby whilst paying least attention to her meal.

'Nahi baba main nahi tum lo. Tum hume sirf khilti rahogi ya khud bhi khaogi.'

'Exactly tumhare plate mein khana waise ke waise pada hai.'

'Wait main tumhe serve karti hoon.'

'Haan Juhi usse serve karo iske pehle ki woh sab hamare plate mein daal de.'

Though both wanted to spend as much time possible together but they made sure not to leave Juhi out. While Juhi always sought reasons to leave them on their own.

'Juhi tonight you are coming?'

'Nah re Siddhant mujhe bahoot kaam hai ghar pe. Kal pucca promise.'

She wanted these two to spend more and more time with each other. This time was precious.

As the day would draw to an end Juhi would make quick exits alone on some pretext or the other smartly.

'Aaj kya problem hai.'

'Riddhima kal surgery hai.'

'Par woh toh afternoon mein hai. You have whole morning to prepare'

'Exactly main help kar doonga.'

'Aur tumhara kaam?'

'Woh manage ho jayega.'

'Nahi re main bahoot tired feel kar rahi hoon.'

'Tum bilkul boring banti jaa rahi.'

'Hello Ms Fun loving person tum boring hogi Boring sado sab kuch main nahi.'

'Toh chalo na.'

'Seriously aaj nahi.'

'You are such a useless person.'

'Tum bahoot useful ho na. Par jyaada mat banana meri naukri khatre mein aa jayegi.'

'Theek hai par main kal ke liye reservation kar raha hoon aur tum aayogi. Kal koi bahana nahi chalega.'

'Theek hai baba.'

Sid would hang around till Riddhima finished her work even if he was done or Riddhima would deliberate till Sid finished. They found themselves stealing every moment possible with each other. Be it on pretext of having a casual conversation or helping with work.



'Kuch kaam tha, Riddhima.'

'Nahi bas Juhi ko yeh reports dene aayi thi.'

'Oh ok ''

'Chalti hoon.. See you later''

'Riddhima tum iss taraf jaa rahi ho Tumhara office toh..'

'Coffee pick up karneka soch rahi thi'Sid 'Tumhare liye bhijwao?'

'Nahi main bhi ussi taraf jaa raha hoon.'

'Toh saath ..ek .. I mean ..dono saath chalte hai ..'

'Ok .. Aree main poochna bhul gaya .. Dr Shashank kaise hai?'

'Papa woh '''


'Kya hua tense lag rahi ho. Any problem..?'

'Huh ..nahi's ok.'

'Kuch help chahiye Riddhima?'

"Ho jayega..Tum rehne do waise bhi ..'

'File dikhao ..'

'Sid ..'

'Oh this is just alright what you are doing .. just titrate the dosage that would be fine.'

'But what about the sugar levels then ''

'We can counter them ''

The Monday evening gave both a perfect alibi to get a chance to spend some time together in the evening. After their stroll in the park, while leaving, Riddhima mentioned her car being used by Atul and Anjali. Since that evening Sid hoped that Riddhima would not have her car giving him the pretext of dropping her back home giving him the opportunity to understand what Riddhima desired from life. Riddhima desirous of spending maximum time with Sid would send her car back.

These evenings never got restricted to only dropping Riddhima back to Gupta House.

Sometimes they would stop over at the hyper mart to shop for essentials for either.

'Kya kar rahe ho Sid?'

'Dinner ka intezam .. more like it paapi pet ke liye ...'

'Enough!!! Yeh kaunse action movie ka dialogue hai?'

'Tumhe kaise maloom?'

'So I was right. Tumhari der raat tak action movie dekhne ki aadat gayi nahi.'  

'Tumhe yaad hai?'


'Kaafi sidey movies hua karte the .. aur unse bhi sidey dialogues.'

'Hey.. mujhe baaton mein ulja kar tumhe kya laga ki tum yeh sab le sakte ho? Nopes!!!'

'Aree dinner ka kuch na kuch bandobast karna hoga mujhe.'

'Iska yeh matlab nahi ki tum yeh sab hi khate rahoge.'

'Toh phir kya karo?'

'Kuch mat karo ghar chalo.'

'Kya .. Ghar?'

'Haan ghar chalo ' mujhe bhi todha kaam hai main woh khatam kar loongi.'

'Aaj kaunsa kaam hai Riddhima?'

'Hai kuch. Tum kitne sawal karte ho aur phir mujhe bhi confuse kar dete ho. Dekho main bhool gayi main kya lene wali thi.'

'Confuse nahi bhudhi ho rahi ho. Yeh sab age related issues hai. You see..'

'Chup.. kitni baate karte ho. Thak nahi jaate.'

'Thakna bhi budhape ki nisani hai. Lagta hai Juhi ko ek aur patient jald milne wala hai.'

For Sid it was just a shopping trip to stock his cabinet with all sort junk food while Riddhima made it her mission to get Sid to eat health or more aptly put to spoil him with her home cooked food.


'Juhi bata rahi thi ki yaha pe ek acha mall hai.'

'Haan kyu?.. kuch lena tha?'

'Haan .. kuch soch raha tha but it's ok I will do it later. Just thought of checking if this is the same place Juhi was referring about. Mumbai bahoot badal gaya hai ... dhoondte dhoondte main toh kho hi jaata.'

They never really had gotten a chance to ever do any such activities together which a normal couple would do and Riddhima was not ready to let go of this opportunity. She recognized the fact that they were not couple anymore but her heart wanted to experience it just once if possible. So on, the pretext of shopping for Ayaan and Aroshi she tried to coax Sid to give in.

'Nahi chalte hai. Kuch dino se main bhi soch rahi thi Ayaan aur Aroshi ke liye kuch loo.'

'Ayaan and Aroshi?'

'Atul aur Anjie di ke baache.'

'Theek hai then let's do it. Mera bhi kaam ho jayega.' Sid found an opportunity here. He was desperate to guage on Riddhima's stand on responsibility of Rohan without pressurizing her with facts or guilt .

'Kya shopping karni hai tumhe?'

'I don't know .. nothing specific ..  just some clothes. As in warm clothes.'

'Apne liye?'

'Nahi.. R.. mera dost ke bete ke liye..'

'Oh Ok chalo phir.'

Riddhima helped Sid shop while doing so for Ayaan and Aroshi.

'Yeh kaisa rahega, Riddhima?'

'Kitna bada hai ..?'


'Tumhare dost ka beta?'

'7 saal ka' Said Sid fondly.

'Then it shall be fine. Sirf height ke baare mein soch lena. Kya yeh tumhare Panchgani wale dost ka beta hai?

'Huh ..'

'Toh phir itne warm kapde?'

'Nahi nahi US ke liye.'


'As in US ke dost ke bete ke liye. Anyways howz this?'

'Better than the first one .. Tum dono lene ki sooch rahe ho na?

The sheepish smile on Sid's face gave away his intentions bringing a fond smile on Riddhima's 'Tum usse bahoot pasand karte ho na?'

 'Hmm ..' Riddhima never restrained herself while doing something for the kids. The love and care with which Riddhima had selected each gift did not go unnoticed. 'Tumhari bhi jaan basti hai  Ayaan and Aroshi main.'

'Bache hote hi itne pyaare hai.'

'Hmm chahe woh apne ho ya doosro ke.'


'Par doosro ke bacho pyaar karna ek baat hoti hai aur apnana aur baat.'

'Aisa kyun keh rahe ho? Ab soch badal rahi hai.'

As in?

'People are getting more receptive to adoption? Par achanak yeh khayal kyun aaya?'

He could not broach the topic directly and so cooked up a story.

'Mere dost .. soch raha hai adoption ke baare mein but he is not sure if everyone will accept the child  especially his ..


'Nahi not wife actually someone.. Anyways he does not know how everyone will react to his idea.'

Sid's hesitation started getting Riddhima suspicious. Sid was shopping and now discussing about adoption. Who was Sid referring to? Was it really his friend or was it himself? Was he involved with someone? Maybe and he wanted to settle down and start a family too hence adoption.  That thought pained her. She went along with that discussion still considering it being of two unknown people who were connected to Sid hoping to find some more insight.

'I think tumhare dost ko usse as in uss ladki se baat karni chahiye.'

'I guess  .. acha tell me what are your thoughts on this? As in ''


'I am sorry Riddhima mere poochne ka woh matlab nahi tha. I didn't mean to hurt you.

'I understand Sid main jaanti hoon tumhare kehene ka woh matlab nahi tha'

'Main sirf ek neutral perspective jaan ne ki koshish kar raha tha.'

'It's ok Sid please don't feel guilty about it. I understand .. Anyways aur log kya sochte hai usse jyaada uski girl friend other kya sochti hai yeh important hai. I think he should talk to her once.'

'Hmm I guess .. par kaise baat karo wohi samaj nahi aa raha ..Maybe.. Ok ..Nahi risky hai jaane do.'

'Kya hua? Kuch kehna chahate ho.'

'Na ..I am good with this much shopping. Chale?'

'I was thinking of checking the bookshop if it is not getting too late.'

'Tum abhi bhi padti ho? Tumhe pehle se padna bahoot pasand tha na.'

'Hmm aur tumhe bilkul nahi.' 

'Medical books aur journals kafi hai aur nahi pad sakta.'

'Tum abhi games khelte ho na'

'Hmm but now it's to keep my motor skills well tuned.'

'Playstation right?'

'Still my favorite.'

'I am sorry'

'Kyu? Kya hua?'

'Maine tumhara Playstation tod diya tha.'

'Aur meri cricket bat bhi.' complained like a child.


'Its ok chill.'

Seeing the recent changes in Riddhima had heightened Sid's hopes but the final affirmation did not seem to come through leaving Sid confused on how to decide the road ahead in case of Rohan's custody.

The desperation to gain another opportunity to understand Riddhima started drawing him in to spend more and more time with her. And so Sid started filling in the loneliness of Riddhima's life and house with his presence. 

'Sid tum yeh chodo aur main kar loongi Tum bahar jao.'

'Juhi ki baaton par mat jaana. Mujhe bhi kuch karne do .. Main bhi khana bana sakta hoon.'

'Koi zaroorat nahi hai. Jao bahar aur ..aur tv dekho.'

'Tv kyu dekhu?'

'Quota khatam karo. Nahi toh ghar jaa ke wapis der raat tak jagte rahoge.'

'Main nahi jaa raha..Seriously main kaafi acha khana banata hoon. In fact half the time main hi khana banata tha aur Shi ..'

'Kya hua?  Bolte bolte ruk kyu gaye ?'

'Nahi kuch nahi..'

Riddhima was keen to know more about Sid. The adoption discussion again started playing on her mind. She could not deny that Sid might have just wanted to check on a girl's perspective of how friend's girlfriend would react

Maybe Sid was indeed talking about himself and this person whom he was going to talk about was the one. Seeing Sid almost giving out some more information got her greedy to know more.

'Bolo Sid Tum shayaad kisi ke baare mein bata rahe the.'

'Shilpa .. Usse bhi mera khana pasand atta tha.'

'Hamari Shilpa?' the definite change of tone did not go unnoticed. 'Riddhima upset lag rahi hai. Par kyu? Kya woh abhi bhi naraaz hai Shilpa se unn sab harkato ke liye. Par uss din toh achi tarah baat ki Shilpa ke baare mein phir ab itne gussa kyu Waise Riddhima hamesha se judgmental rahi hai aur uska nazariyaan badalna bahoot muskhil hai. Shayaad mujhe nahi batana chahiye ..

'Nahi US mein ek dost thi'

'Oh ..'

'Toh Sid ke zindagi mein wapis ladki aayi. Par kya yeh Shilpa sirf ek dost hai ya phir koi khaas.

It was a selfish thought which ashamed Riddhima but it still bothered her. Hearing another name from Sid aroused Riddhima's curiosity.

She tried hard not to probe for some time but when it came to Sid she was always such ' insecure, nervous, anxious as to where she stood in his life and so finally she questioned 'Lagta hai tum usse pasand karte ho?'

'Kya tum .. usse .. I mean Shilpa ko pasand karte ho?'


That affirmation jabbed a dagger through her heart. 'Uski zindagi mein saach mein koi hai. Par phir aaj tak akela kyu?'

'Toh phir shaadi kyu nahi ...?'

'Riddhima ..!!!' The pain on Riddhima's face told a story which he could not decipher well or he did not want to. This could not be true or was it? Whatever it was he did not want Riddhima to think of Shilpa and him in that sense. She was his best friend. 'Nah not in that sense.' She was his wife's sister, his sister, his support. 'Kabhi uss tarah uske baare mein nahi soch sakta.'

His answer affirmed one belief. 'Aaj bhi darta hai ki wapis wohi chot se? Maybe he is scared of risking his heart again to commitment? He could never move on due to the past deceptions he suffered. But he should have? Par usse settle ho jana chahiye. Usse bhi haq hai apni zindagi jeene ka, khushi paane ka kisika saath chahane ka ' usse sab pe uska haq hai jo main usse de na saki..' This thought was laced more with guilt and less with best intentions.

'Par tum bahoot close lagte ho toh phir..?

'Maine kaha na maine usse kabhi uss tarah se dekha hi nahi.'

'Par tumhe zindagi mein koi ..'

'Zindagi ka kya hai .. manage ho jaati hai .. aur ab mera kaam hi itna hai ki usme hi itna busy rehta hoon ki inn sab cheeso ke liye waqt hi nahi milta. Houston mein Shilpa aur main sirf jab hum share karte the tab khana banata tha main.'

It was an opportunity to disclose the truth to Riddhima but the pain in her eyes stopped him. He could not place a finger on why it was so. All in all he did not want her to endure any more. Some facts are best left untouched may be. Maasi's advice too was fresh in his mind. None of the facts should prejudice her decision. He was scared that knowing about Shilpa Riddhima would undertake Rohan's responsibility only due to guilt or to fulfill responsibility towards her sister's son.

The awkwardness had disappeared completely yet there was a certain restrain in Sid's behavior. He was not sure what to infer from Riddhima's behavior. There was no doubt that Riddhima took every opportunity to dote on him. The hurt in her eyes told another story when he spoke of someone special in his life. The confession too was adding to all this. Did she still love him? How could she? Maybe or maybe not. Whatever would be the case he could not encourage anything.

Sid was confusing Riddhima completely. Those darting looks, some tender smiles and some incomplete words in fact even his silence were teasing Riddhima making her desperate for ask that one answer. After all it was Sid. She was always such ' insecure, nervous, anxious as to where she stood in his life.

Yet Riddhima tried to behave completely at ease and hard not to probe on many topics fearing Sid withdrawing into his shell.

Both did not want to ruin what they had at present for anything gone by or come by and so their conversations covered all topics under the sun except one.

It became their aim to just live those moments together to the fullest as much as possible while trying to find some answers from each other's behavior which could decide their destiny.

It was Friday evening. Riddhima had been feeling lost and dejected since afternoon.

Sid's visit to Panchgani was impending. Sid would be away for the weekend which meant no more time with him for two whole days. To add to her misery when once Juhi purposefully probed of shifting base to India for the sake of Sid's friend, Sid had not given a promising answer which meant only one more week with Sid.

All this was weighing Riddhima down. She stood near the countertop preparing coffee when Sid received a call. Sid excused himself to take the call and Riddhima worded a silent prayer for Sid dropping plans of going to Panchgani.

She continued to brew coffee. Her attention was focused on the conversation that was taking place in the living room. She strained her ears to hear whatever she could manage.

Maasi had called to check with Sid when he was due to come. Rohan's exams had started. She also wanted to know whether Sid wanted her to pick up Rohan from the hostel or not.

Sid planned to pack over the weekend and suggested that he could pick up Rohan late Saturday evening thus giving him time to prepare without any disturbance from the packing work that Sid intended to do.

She overheard Sid telling the person on the other end about leaving for Panchgani that very night thus giving him the entire morning to manage the work. Riddhima hopes crashed. All the energy drained and she let go of everything.

A crashing sound got Sid rushing to kitchen. 'Kya hua?'

'Toot gaya.'

' issues ..ek minute do mujhe..' returning his attention to the call 'Main aap se kal baat karta hoon.' The pale look threw Sid off balance for a moment. 'Sirf cup toota hai Riddhima.' he reasoned. It was more her dreams, her hopes that had broken than just a cup.

Reeling under the effect of the news she started collecting the broken pieces. Worried that she would hurt herself Sid rushed in 'Tum rehne do main karta hoon.'

Riddhima quietly with a sound moved away still dazed and stepped aside to stand near the countertop watching Sid sweep the broken pieces to thrash them away. Soon they moved to the balcony like the previous evenings to savor the after dinner coffee.

Both remained silent taking in what the other was feeling.

Brief glances thrown Riddhima's way had left Sid wondering if it was the effect of his leaving for Panchgani. He wondered what Riddhima wanted of him or herself and more importantly of their lives.

He had seen something in Riddhima's eyes in the past week which scared him more than perturbing him. He was scared to judge it wrongly like he had done before. Riddhima's confession also was not helping him as she now stood at the other side. Though she called herself Dr Riddhima Gupta but she was still Mrs Riddhima armaan Malik. 'Nahi yeh theek nahi.'

He was broken out of the trail of thoughts.

'Kitne dino ke baad aise time spend kar rahe hai na.'

'Salon ke baad Pehle toh duty ke wajay se time saath spend karne ko nahi mila aur phir waqt ne saath nahi diya.

Silence again descended as they both returned to ponder on their lives.

Sid was again struggling with his questions trying hard to get a clue which could lead him to a conclusion. He wanted to understand once what Riddhima wanted if not for anything else just for her sake. For that she needed to decipher what Riddhima wanted to say. 'Kya hai jo Riddhima mujhse kehna chahati hai? Kya poochna theek rahega?'

'Chup kyu ho? Kya soch rahe ho?'

That question provoked Sid. May be he should ask up front. They had already wasted many years of their lives contemplating. If only they would have talked it out things would have been different.

'Main sooch raha tha ki kya ..'

His question was cut off with the shrill tone of Riddhima's cell phone.

She quickly checked the phone to see if it was from the hospital.

'Ghar kab aa rahi ho?'

The disturbed look made Sid question 'Kiska message hai? Hospital se?'

'Huh ..Nahi Mumma ka..Nothing urgent anyways tum kuch keh rahe the?'

'Huh Haan.. der ho gayi hai chalna chahiye.'

'Shayaad bahoot der ho gayi hai ab'

'Kuch kaha tumne?

Kuch nahi .. chalte hai todhi der baad...pata nahi phir kab mauka mile'

'hmmm ..' The melancholic smile stamped Riddhima's thoughts with its affirmation.  

Part 99

It was a very melancholic moment. Riddhima felt the darkness engulfing her. She waved Sid off yet was finding it difficult to accept the fact that he would not be there. It was a matter of only two days which still seemed like an entire lifetime. This was making her more anxious cause in almost one week's time she would have to wave him a final goodbye whilst keeping no hopes of his return. How could she handle a lifetime without him when a moment without him seemed so torturous now? The only consolation she could seek was that he would be back on Monday.

As Sid's car disappeared round the corner, she dragged herself towards Gupta House with heavy heart where Padma awaited her with a disdained look plastered all over her face.

'Mumma!!!' Riddhima gasped realizing what played on her mother's mind and the reason behind her message.

'Riddhima ..' holding up her hand to stop Riddhima from talking further. 'Tum kapde badal lo main tumhe baad mein milti hoon. Baat karni hai tumse.'

Riddhima paced on the terrace nervously waiting for Padma. It was not going to easy. Padma seemed upset from quite a few days. Riddhima's late coming was always the case but the reason now was her escapades with Sid. She knew her mother was well aware of them. Padma looked at the nervous figure shaking her head disapprovingly.

'Tum jaanti ho ki tum galat kar rahi ho isliye itni bechaini mehsoos kar rahi ho.'

'Mumma' Riddhima was so lost pondering what to expect that she was startled by Padma presence and those words did not register with her.

Padma did not believe in beating round the bush. Coming straight to the point she questioned 'Tum Siddhant ke saath kya kar rahi ho?'

'Mumma..aap jaisa sooch rahi hai waisa kuch nahi hai.'

'Mujhe maloom hai aisa kuch nahi hai. Jaise tumhe laga ki main soch rahi hoon waisa aur log saach mein aisa sooch rahe honge. Kya iske baare mein socha hai?'

'Mumma ..'

'Tum jaanti ho ki issi fikar ke wajay se Shashank ki yeh halat huyi hai phir bhi.'


'Kya tumhe andaza hai ki kya asar pad sakta hai sab pe; tumhari reputation pe Sanjeevani ke reputation pe ya phir

'armaan pe?'

'Main armaan ke baare mein soch bhi nahi thi. Par ab jab tumne yeh baat uthai hai toh haan armaan pe bhi. Woh tumhara ..'

'Pati hai. Jaanti hoon. Yeh rishta sirf kagaz per eh gaya hai aur ab main uske baare mein decision le chuki hoon.'

'Kya Siddhant yeh baat jaanta hai?'


'Isliye woh..'

'Mumma please. Sid ke baare mein main kuch sunna nahi chahati. Sid ko beech mein laane ki zaroorat nahi hai.'

'Sid ko tum beech mein leke aayi ho. Tumhi ne bulaya usse na aur isiliye woh Shashank ke waqt yaha tha.'

'Maine Sid ko nahi bataya. Aur bataya hota toh bhi usse woh sab karne ki koi zaroorat nahi thi. Par usne bina kisi ke pooche, bina kuch kahe sab kuch kiya jo armaan ko karna chahiye tha.'

'Siddhant ne jo kiya woh apni jagah sahi bhi hai aur main ehsanmand hoon uski. Par jo tum kar rahi ho woh kya hai. Kya hasil hoga? Tumhe nahi lagta ki Siddhant iska galat matlab nikaal sakta hai aur ..'

'Nahi Mumma Sid kabhi bhi galat nahi sooch sakta. Yeh aap bhi jaanti ho. '

'Par tumhari inn harkato se tum uski jhooti umeed baand rahi ho.'

'Sid ne mujhse kabhi koi umeed na rakhi kabhi na ab rakh raha. Hamesha sirf meri madat ki hai aur aaj bhi woh sirf meri madat karne ki koshish kar raha hai .'

'Aur tum usse iske badle mein kya de rahi ho? Mujhe lagta hai ki tum sirf ek mrigtrishna ki taraf bhag rahi ho. Sid tumhara kal tha. Woh kal jo tum khud apni marzi se peeche chod aayi. Tumhara aaj armaan hai. Aur ab waqt aa gaya hai ki tum phir se armaan aur apne rishtey pe dhyaan do. armaan ka ghar chod dene se kuch hasil nahi kiya. Sirf problem create huye hai. Aur Siddhant ke saath milna julna inn problems ko badha dega.

'Nahi Mumma main aisa kuch nahi hoga. Sid aur main sirf dost ki tarah milte hai.'

'Woh milta hoga par tum nahi .. Khair main sirf itna kehna chahati hoon ki tum aaj ke halato ko samjho. Tumhara aur Siddhant ke raaste alag hai. Siddhant ko apni zindagi jeene do aur tum apni jeeyo. armaan ke saath! Siddhant ko apne banaye dal dal mein mat kicho. Tum aaj usse kuch nahi de sakti siwai mayushi aur dard ke alava. Isiliye keh rahi hoon ki armaan ke saath jo rishta hai usse sambhaal lo yahi theek hoga sab ke liye.'

'Par Mumma ..'

'Main aur kuch kehna ya sunna nahi chahati Riddhima. Aage tumhari marzi.' Padma left Riddhima with her thoughts and walked away.

What Padma had said was quite true. The situation was still too messed up. But she could not ignore her feelings anymore. She too was seeking an affirmation. Maybe she could at least give it one try to undo the tangled relations. She found peace that at least both Atul and Padma had not forced a decision on her or had tried to manipulate the situation. She did not know what future held in store for them but as now she just wanted to hold on to the hope that what they had managed to mend would pave the path ahead towards a better future. The silence of the night seemed to sooth her frayed senses.

Little did she know that this was just the silence before the storm which  awaiting which was threatening  to upset all that she had worked for.

Right now all she wanted to do was relive those quiet moments with Sid not giving a single thought to what Padma had said.

But there was someone who was pondering on them keenly strategizing to find a quick fix. That person had some ulterior motive in this. Now, it was important to act and so that person rushed away to put the plan in action.