Heres another attempt to write a story. Not sure again, where its heading. Thought of posting a paragraph and it turned out so. :)
Sitting on the railway tracks waiting for the train to arrive any second, she glanced at her wrist to check the time yet again. It was a long day for her and moment of seemed far away. Moving is never an easy task, and for the unorganized, impulsive and lonesome girl like her it was all the more difficult and tiring. It was all done in a day. The bags were packed, the rent was paid and keys were handed to the old caretaker Mrs. Puri. The 4 years of her life that she had spent under that roof with the sweet lady, an unconditional relationship had formed between the two. Mrs. Puri made few more attempts to make her stay back and start life with a new view. Hoping against all odds for god to accept her wish and let the impossible occur. Wiping away Mrs. Puris tears, giving a hug and taking a bow she left.
The choice that she had made was for the better of her life or worse still remained an unanswered question. The decision to move was taken out of desperation and need to get out of the place that had given her immense joy and equivalent pain. Time and again, she missed the chance to escape from the life she dearly loved and remotely hated. She knew now, there was no looking back.
The loud horn of the arriving train and hustling of people brought her back to reality. A faint smile formed on her dry lips. Picking up her hand bag and suitcase she stood near the white line of the platform. A coolie helped her put up the bag onto the train but refused to take money in return. Taking one momentary look at the platform she stepped forward.
Dragging the heavy bag, she reached her seat A31 and pushed her bags below the seat. It was night train; people had already occupied the other seats in the compartment and were fast asleep. Sleeping on a moving vehicle be it car, train or a place was not possible for her. But maybe today, her tired body would not fight back and let her drown into a slumber. The train picked up pace and the cool breeze rushed in from the open window making her skip a shiver. Pulling out a sweater from her hand bag, she heaved a sign of relief for sticking to her decision. One of her favorite song from the 90's "DTPH..Ek Dooje Ke Vaste..." replayed on her ipod nano and she closed her eyes. A minute passed and she felt silence creep over her but not for long. Memories of the city she just departed flooded her mind.
"Beta! Come in! What's your name? My darling you are fully soaked. The rains in this part of town are unpredictable, one would never know if it's going to be sunny or cloudy that day. Have a seat! I'll get you some dry clothes to change into. Would you care for tea or coffee?" Mrs Puri asked handing her a towel she picked from one of the kitchen drawers.
"Thank you madam! I am new in town but it seems it doesn't
matter, as you said even a native wouldn't know the weather of the day. Can I
get some tea if you please? Thank you again for offering me into your house at
this hour of the night. My names riddhima...gupta!" she answered back.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Part 1 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Riddhi..ma? That's a pretty name my dear. Does it hold a meaning to it? Here you go, the washrooms straight ahead on the left. These should fit you fine; these are my granddaughter's old garments. I keep them with me, as a memory of her..." Mrs Puri said to ridz with moist eyes and walked back to the kitchen.
After a few minutes, ridz stepped out wearing a pink long dress layered inwards down below the waist. Riddhima had never worn a dress before, she was not fond of clothes that would make her look any older than her current age..18. She went and stood besides Mrs Puri who was busy fishing for something in the top cabinets. Mrs Puri seemed to be in her late 50s so ridz politely offered for help.
Few minutes passed, they discussed further more about the weather in the city, which never sleeps; Mumbai as they called it. Riddhima in her happy moods was chirpy, loud and friendly. She would easily get along with anyone and everyone. On the other hand days of glory when short, she would be a stubborn, spoiled teen with a terrible temper.
"Um riddhima, what did you say your name signified? Old one like I am, I forget things simply. Please excuse my dire manners, but are you comfortable in that dress? It does look like it fit well. You look so pretty in it..just like my'sandy!" Mrs Puri conversed.
"Riddhima means 'full of love''mamma once told me'when I was born, surprisingly all the patients and staff members of the hospital had gathered around to see me'so she named me 'riddhima'. They all awaited my arrival and loved me even before I was born.
Is sandy your granddaughter? Where does she live now? The dress fits me perfect Mrs Puri'infact..honestly..i've never worn a dress before..but I like this one so much..maybe ill go shop for some like these tomorrow'would you come with me?As I already told you am new here and not sure about the whereabouts? Please!" riddhima went on with her talks and didn't realize it was late in the night and Mrs Puri was skipping her sleep while listening to riddhima.
Mrs Puris daughter lived abroad, miles away from mumbai but she missed sandy greatly. Riddhimaz cheerful nature brought back memories of sandy and she got so lost in hearing riddhima talk about her family that even she lost track of time.
The wall clock rang a under toned bell indicating the time to be 1AM and both snapped out of their deep conversation.
Riddhima quickly got up from her seat and walked towards the window peeping outside she sighed. The rains had stopped and the roads appeared clear. Turning back she picked up the empty tea mugs and put them in the sink.
"Mrs Puri.. I can't thank you enough for letting me shelter in your house during the storm. The weather is much calmer now so I'll take your leave. It was really nice meeting you and I'll come visit you as soon as I get my living arrangements fixed. I'll get the dress washed and return it. I know its special to you." Saying so riddhima picked up her hand bag and took a few steps towards the door when Mrs Puri spoke.
"Riddhima..where are you going my dear? Its so late, I cant let you go out rite now. You said something about living arrangements...do you have a place to go to? Is someone expecting you there? Why don't you make a call and inform them that you'll stay over at my place for the night. You can leave in the morning."
"No Mrs Puri..theres nobody expecting me anywhere. I still haven't looked for a place to stay. I forgot to tell you, I am offered a job as a radio jockey on Radio MUST 107.8 FM'it's based on Mumbai Universitys entertainment roll...you must have heard about it on the regular radio. Its newly launched and we are still promoting it. So tomorrow morning I have to report back to the studio and before that I have to find a place to reside. I don't know anyone here but I talked to someone from the studio today and he gave me some apartments where I can check out for accommodation. The little time that I spent with you, I feel I've known you for a long time. I'll come visit you Mrs Puri but I better get going."
Riddhima took few more steps towards the door and she heard someone sobbing. It was Mrs Puri.
"Beta! Don't leave me'sandy left me years back'stay with me..in my house..as a paying guest'if you prefer'but live here'with me!" Mrs Puri spoke in a low murmur.
Riddhima gaped at the old lady's teary face, jostling with turmoil of emotions within her own self. Riddhima lived like an orphan even with both parents alive. Her parents resided in delhi. She shared the same house, but never the same life. Riddhima was close to her mother but even she would turn her back to riddhima on unwelcome occasions.
Riddhima knew, the few minutes less than a couple of hours crossed paths of two separate people who carried two similar wants. The need of love and being loved was essential in this newly shaped bond. Riddhima believed in miracles, but never hoped for one to happen to her, fearing the hurt of facing the bad side of reality. Today, she was ready to forget all the hatred she had collected inadvertently for her parents' coz she had found a new parent in Mrs Puri.
Slowly, closing on the gap between herself and Mrs Puri, she wiped away the tears that shimmered on the white, freckled but delicate skin. Mrs Puri looked up and smiled slightly.
"Mrs Puri'ill stay here...with you...but would you still accept rent from me'I wouldn't want to feel a burden on you when I rather feel blessed to have been showered with first rains of the monsoon. I certainly wouldn't forget to grave this date in my diary for lifetime. I never thought I would find someone who would love me without setting conditions or restrictions. My name means full of love'but I always thought maybe I should have been named 'Sajni'' which means well loved.....and maybe I would have justly been loved' Mrs Puri.. Do you also feel like the gods are dancing of joy?" riddima said to Mrs Puri and giggled cheekily.
"Thank you beta! I have no rights on forcing you to stay here but I've been living in this big house all alone for 6 years now. I miss sandy all the time and I sincerely prayed to god everyday, that she comes back to me someday. She might not come but I know god sent me you'a reason to love. I'll remember to say a special thanks to god tomorrow." and Mrs Puri teased riddhima too.
Mrs Puri was now 'Pu' for riddhima and she her name was not shortened to 'ridz'. Just as easily and strongly the two ladies bodies, the same manner their shared the deeps and lights of theirs lifes with each other.
"Pu see the time'its 2:05AM...you shouldn't be up this late, go and rest or else Mr Puri will come and haunt me in my dream'" ridz said while heading towards the room that Pu had directed her.
"Pu we have to go shopping tomorrow after my meeting 'you'll come with me na' please" ridz said folding her hands and bowing down a little...
"Rima..first get some sleep'and who did you say you left your luggage with? When are you going to pick that up'during your meeting?...go on now.." Pu switched off the high lights and let the candles in the corner of the room dim themselves.
Early next morning''Pu heard ridz scream''
"Excuse me'madam'excuse me..ticket please'" a thick unfamiliar voice awoke riddhima up from her reminiscence. It was the TC collecting the passenger tickets.
After the conductor left, a tear rolled down riddhimas left eye. She blamed it on the cold wind that was grazing her face but she couldn't deny the pain that rejected to loosen the grip on her heart. She felt the twinge like she was being squeezed amid two heavy rocks.
"Rima!! Are you okay my darling'??" Pu rushed to ridz room but didn't find her there. Worried she walked up to the adjoining balcony and disappointed yet again called for ridz' "Rima beta..where are you?" she walked out of ridz room and crossed the bathroom on the right and stopped. Peeping in she saw ridz staring at a corner of the wall where a cockroach lay silent. Instantly pu let out a laugh...in between her low giggles she said' "You remind me of sandy yet again..heh'she would hold her breath and go numb just like you rima..haha..come on out now, ill shoo it away for you.." Puz hardship since she lost Mr Puri in a car accident had made her overcome all her worries to find a way around all the dealings of the house. She no longer feared the small roaches and other pests which hardly ever nested in her house.
Sighing in relief and embarrassment she went back to her room to get ready for work. Standing near the wardrobe she stood confused about picking out clothes, choosing most appropriate attire for her work whose basic requirements didn't necessitate a direct conversation but still called for a feel of a face-to-face conversation. Thinking about the incident that occurred minutes back, ridz memory recollected a moment in the past at her friends' house. The incident was greatly similar; she was stuck in a dilemma as such with a lizard crawling on the side wall of the backyard. "Aah! Katie'help..this..this..gluey lizard..make it go naa.." shed said..and her best friend had come to her rescue. With a broom hit inches away..Katie had startled the lizard and they both saw it run for its life. Ridz giggled a little and couple seconds later she was sober again.Brushing away the memories that would never repeat in the present day she decided on a casual green top paired with denims and left the room.
Last nights talks still fresh in ridz mind, she finished her breakfast and paced to the wall in the house where Mr Puris picture lay hanging. Her eyes rooted at the wall picture, she said a silent prayer. Unaware of Pu standing behind she turned around swiftly to see Pu blink her eyes and wipe her hands on them. No talks were made, no questions were asked. Both smiled and nodded in agreement of the unsaid.
Ridz left for her radio station giving a quick hug to pu which left her dazed. Whatever was the reason why it had rained so heavy last night in the off season, pu was only overjoyed to have ridz knock specifically on her door. A strong believer in god and fate she knew there was a reason for the happenings, but the reason held no significance.
Ridz reached the station five minutes to 9'Am. She talked to her coworker and filled him on the details about her stay at Mrs Puris house.
"You are one lucky girl..riddhima..its complex to find good people who rent out their places, am surprised you found one so easily. Well, lets get to work, Harry waiting for you in the office, we start in 10 minutes." saying that Dhav carried on with his work while ridz made her way to the boss's cabin.
Three.Two.One.Go ridz saw the tech man show her the signs.
"Goodmorning Mumbai!You are listening to 107.8 FM'you're talking to ridz this morning, your most much loved RJ Pia is out on vacation, climbing the rocks of K2 and am here to keep the show on..stick around'make a few calls..cuz am here to keep the entertainin mode on'lets start our day with my personal favorite "Tu meri dost hai" from the latest movie..Yuvvraaj'
After an hour Dhav checked wit ridz if she was doing okay. It was her first day, she was nervous but everyone on the station was supportive towards her and soon she was back on track playing another song.
"'you just heard the euphoria number'lets see who our next caller is'hello..good morning'" after hearing no reply she asked again'"..do you hear me..who am I talking to? How's the mood of my caller today'is there a name I can address..hello?" she continued asking on the phone'but the caller remained silent for several long minutes. She hung up'thinking it got disconnected'another one on the wait'she answered.. "hi! Enjoying the day so far'you're talking to ridz..what song can I play for you today..no worries try me out..i think I might have your track.." The caller kept silent yet another time. Ridz ignored it and hung up again. This continued throughout the day..it became a strange event. At times the caller would speak a word or two and hang up. Although every time the voice toned different'it lingered on in her mind'she grew accustomed to it..a sense of awkwardness broke into sweats on her body. Who is this person..? This is my first day at work..and nobody knows me here..maybe they were random calls'or maybe it could just be bad reception from the persons side'but what if someone was intentionally making those calls..maybe to tease me? Is this some prank? I can't think straight..forget about it for now ridz'I should talk to Dhav...but he's done for the day..i'll have to wait till tomorrow'ignore the thoughts for the time being ridz..
Her shift was over'she'd played the last request of the day'another of her favorites' "Pehla Nasha.." ..Phew! That wasn't too bad'I think I can manage this..that course I took in Chandigarh'its all from the hard work then..it was a tough one to crack..but am glad I was able to convince dad to let me do it.... "Aah Ms Gupta'have a seat'it's your first day..I wanted to clarify some things..regarding your work here. The basic requirements for one to be a RJ in my company include..clear voice, diction, ease and fluency. You need to be able to have good general awareness, willing to learn the changing rules of the entertainment industry, the right flow of words with the accurate pronunciation and fair presence of mind. These are an absolute must because you as an RJ are to represent a radio programme and it is in your hands with your performance for the establishment and continuity of goodwill of the radio station. I might come as a harsh self to you today but be assured you will see it change depending on your work but my essentials remain the same and that is 'most entertainment for one and all'. Do I make myself clear? her boss Ray said finishing his mini introductory speech. Dhav had warned her about him, but he had also advised to stay cool and reply in a friendly manner. She let her guard down and said.. " I have it all registered in my head and will try to keep the focus and work to the best of my level. I prefer Riddhima Sir." He gave her a blank look for a few seconds that began to shake ridz inner strength but soon he smiled at her, shook hands with her and quipped back'"Its Ray for all in my company Riddhima." and ridz left his office smiling and ready to jockey a show. I'll stick to my word Ray..i won't let you down..she thought recalling the talk with Ray and she head out home.
Reaching home in the evening, ridz was surprised to see the house bright and lively. Ridz had a lot happening all day, adjusting with long hours of work on her first day, eerie silent caller and the new place kept her mind occupied on her way back home. Unfamiliar with the routes, she even missed the bus stop and had to catch a cab. If the stalker wasn't enough...thoughts of Delhi kept recurring in her mind'even though she didn't think of home much, she missed her friends from school. Taking up work was a pretext to escape the place which was like an open cage to her. The doors of the cage were never closed but her clipped wings betrayed her wish to fly away. Her eyes moistened seeing her new house well lit up, and today she had no such need to run away anywhere. She wanted to stay, feel the liberated air and live the moment'she was happy and content. All her stress from the day vanished in no time. As a flash of reflex she smiled unconsciously and stepped inside.
"Pu..where are you auntie..I am home..and you left the door open..should I close it?" ridz questioned still standing near the door her glance flickering and gliding from one wall to the other, amazed at the wall hangings, streamers and balloons. Is it puz birthday today? I don't even know..how silly of me'I should have asked her about it in the morning'but why would such a thought occur to me'anyways where is she now?..I really am lucky to have found this place..shes so kind to me'she didn't ask me much questions about my background or ma parents'and I didn't have to think twice to tell her anything..i didn't have to put up a pretense in front of her'thank you godji!..i don't know what deeds I did..to have been blessed by you so readily..but I'll always be thankful to you..this has to be the best thing ever'yes..it's no less than a gift'
Pu answered back from the kitchen.."In the kitchen rima..no..leave the door open..am expecting guests..freshen up if you wish to..they'll be here in half an hour or so.."
Ridz walked towards the kitchen and stood next to Pu. "Pu auntie! Can I ask you something?" ridz asked with an innocent face. Pu was icing vanilla batter on a double layered chocolate cake. She nodded her head without looking up. "Umm..the house'the decors outside..and this cake..whats special about today'is it your birthday?"' Hearing ridz, Pu smiled instantly and replied'"no my dear..its not my birthday but yes.. today is special..my granddaughter is home and am just rejoicing my happiness...ive waited for this day since as long as I can remember..and finally its here..i realized it calls for a celebration..don't you agree..now.." she smiled and looked up to face ridz. Ridz knew who she was referring to as granddaughter. Pu had told rids'she reminded her of sandy..and now Pu took ridz as her own..It was still new to ridz..she was never the one to be taken cared of by an older one'but she was loving every bit of it..it made her feel so extraordinary..
As anticipated by Pu'ridz
hugged her and said... "thank you auntie..today is certainly a day to commit to
memory till last of existence..this is such a pleasing surprise..and am so
happy..do you need help with anything?.."
"Yes beta..i need you to do something for me'go change..i bought you a dress'its lying on your bed'would you.. wear it..if you like it..i took the liberty of buying it for you..umm..i hope you don..." ridz interrupted her...knowing that pu was hesitating and uncertain about her reaction.. "luv you auntie..you're the best'I don't have many party clothes'never had the chance or the need to buy cause'umm..it's so late already'i'll go.." saying so she quickly dashed towards her room..hoping pu didn't catch her uneasy expressions. In delhi..ridz was never allowed to go out to do anything for fun..by her own wish'everytime she'd ask for permission from her mum'she'd just say.. "Not today riddhi..i need your help with something today'maybe next time.." and the time never came'ridz never got discouraged by it..she always had her way out..loop holes around things'she said that to Katie all the time'"Whoever made that word..must be one able human..i wish I could meet him..and maybe I could date him too.." little joke it was..between the two.
"Hmm..not bad ridz..this fine dress does make you look good'owing to the fact its not your color.." she said to herself..i need to stop stuffing my wardrobe with blacks and greys..i ought to be more colorful than that'shame on me..allrite now hurry up..pu must be waiting'it's time you realized your age..and act like one lady..pull up your socks and head out..
Ridz took one last quick look
at the mirror touched her hair and walked out to the common room.
There were three women seated on the couch making conversation with two men seated on the chairs and near the door stood Pu talking to an old man and a young girl..who ridz guessed couldn't be more than 16' No..no escape ridz..face it..you'll live..don't drama collapsing now..sily girl..that girl looks familiar'now don't they all..but shes a cute one..she reminds me of someone..if I just knew who..smile ridz'puz staring at you..
The moment Pu saw ridz enter the room...she wheezed a puff of air lightly. Ridz was dressed in a navy blue dress that touched her skin just below the knees. She was wearing light blush, her lips shimmering with gloss and hair let loose. It was the dress or ridz persona that made her look so remarkable'pu couldn't make up her mind but a smile broadened on her face and on an impulse she embraced her in a light hug and kissed her forehead. Pu was overwhelmed with mixed emotions..but pushing all others down..a sense of satisfaction beat them all..
"You look beautiful my dear'you have to take me shopping tomorrow like you promised'you need more dresses more of these..come here..i'll introduce you to Mr Puri and my close friends.." she said and ridz obliged willingly. Take a deep breath..calm down'
"Rima..this is Anu..shes Mr Roy's granddaughter'she graduating from high school this year'and Mrs Suzi is my close friend from college'we had a common class in the 2nd year'and here we are today...." pu went along talking about all'
Ridz mingled with the elderly with such ease..that left both herself and pu surprised'both for their own different reasons. Ridz in her home town would avoid social gatherings whenever she could..she always dreaded saying something inappropriate to others which might offend them or simply not liked by them so would shy away. Today, no such thoughts crossed her mind and she simply let herself be natural. Pu couldn't come to terms with the knowledge..that ridz was so polished in her behavior and manners even with new acquaintances. I hope am not talking to much'think Pu might object...Am I too loud or maybe too fast..maybe I need to sit back and relax a little...what might they be thinking about me..ohh Lord!..are you with me?...pray be so. It seems like I just cracked the mute spell I was under..these people'Puz friends..is it them or is it me?...don't think too much ridz'be cool..Puz smiling at you'that's your sign..
"Yeah! I moved here from Delhi..am jockeying the MUST 107.6 FM..just started work today'what are your plans after graduation?...have you decided on your college?..." Ridz found a new friend in Anu..they gelled well'it was nice after all to have young company between all the oldies'
The night boomed as time passed. Pu's friends confirmed no signs of discomfort with ridz of any sorts. They were surprised as much as Pu was at the young one who was a natural at making easy conversation. They were aware of Pus loneliness and when Pu told them about ridz they were happy for her. Seeing ridz now they were only glad, Pu had found her granddaughter in ridz. Ridz behaved like she was part of them all and had known them since long. They shared jokes, laughed together and even fought back some tears. Like Mrs Puri they all had seen days of sorrow, but today they were no tank spills.
Over the dinner table everyone took turns in sharing their lives and background. Ridz kept dodging her turn, she was happy and she wanted to end the night just the same.
"Where was this from..Pu auntie..Mr Puri looks so sweet in that white jacket..when was the first time you both met..tell me auntie'" pu showed them her photo album from her young days..her friends gave in and filled in stories from Mr Puris time'another round of laughter broke in the circle. After dinner, ridz helped pu serve the cake pu had baked.
Ridz was about to grab a bite when the door bell rang'
"I'll check.." ridz put the plate aside and stepped towards the door. Who could it be at this time? Maybe another of Pu auntie's friends is here'ridz thought. She opened the door to face a tall guy stood his back facing ridz... playing with his blackberry..
"Hi! Can I help you?.." ridz asked and she felt a rush of
adrenaline when the guy turned around and looked up to her...
"Hey! I am here to pick up Anu and Dadu...am Armaan.." he spoke to ridz who was still staring at him...no wonder i didn't like Delhi..never came across guys like him...those steel grey eyes..its giving me gooseflesh i know..and did he just say something...huh ..what?..whats wrong with me...just ask him to come in now..didn't even hear what he said..shoot! he must be in his early twenties right...i bet he is..i've never been wrong about my guesses..what does he do..did i even reply back? ohh no..
"umm...yah..come on in..Pu...i mean Mrs Puri..shes here..yaa.." she replied back..taking a long look at him..she turned and walked back to the room...him following behind...
ps: umm yahh..still learin!lol Hope you like it! :) comments and criticism both work grt!!
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