Armaan's birthday celebrations continue. Billy and Ananya surprise him.
(A/N: For explanation purposes. Armaan's birthday was on 23 Dec. The concert is on 25 Dec.)
"Aaj toh bohot thak gaye, Anjali cribbed as she fell down backwards on the bed after a long day at the hospital, the night before the concert. They had a lot to do today because of last minute checks for the concert. Also, it had been Armaan's birthday yesterday and they'd frolicked around the hospital the entire time, not really working as much, so they had to make up for that too.
"Haan, yaar, Anjy. Yeh Gabbar na, aajkal bohot torture karti hai, Muskaan agreed, lying down beside her. The girls were sleeping over at the Guptas tonight.
"Yaar, yeh Nikki kahaan reh gayi? Muskaan asked aloud after a few minutes. "Kitna khayegi? Hua nahi kya uska abhi tak? Bhukkad kahin ki! Nikki had demanded food as soon as the girls had reached home. The others who'd been too tired to sit and eat at the time had retired to Anjali's room.
"Oh, hello, Muskaan! Tu toh rehne hi de! Nikki replied as she entered the room with a plate full of pakoras. "Khud kya kam hai jo mujhe bol rahi hai? Aur waise bhi, mere paas toh excuse hai. Pregnant hu main. Tu kyu hamesha itna khati hai? Bhukkad? She asked.
Muskaan looked scandalized at that as Riddhima and Anjali laughed. "Oyye, Nikki! Tuna... Tu... Tu rehne de. Dimaag kharab ho gaya hai tera. Aur main waise bhi bol rahi hu. Mere khaane pe nazar mat laga. Samjhi? She answered.
This caused the girls to laugh even louder.
"Guys! Yeh sab chodo. Main soch rahi thi, I think hum sabko na, vacation pe jaana chahiye, Anjy announced. "Waise bhi jabse yeh concert ki preparations chalu hui hai, kaam itna hai ki humein toh relax hi karne nahi milta. Pehle hospital mein duties, patients, tests, paperwork. Fir rehearsals aur concert prep. I think we need a break.
"Haan, Anjy! Yeh bilkul sahi kaha tumne, Nikki agreed. "I think humein jaana chahiye.
"Baat toh sahi hai. Yaar, aajkal toh duties bhi itni pakau hoti haina, kya bolu ab main? Muskaan seconded.
"Lekin, Di, Dr. Keerti hum sabko ek saath leave pe jaane degi kya? Riddhima asked, as always, the voice of reason. "Agar hum saare ek saath chale jaayenge toh hospital mein kaam kitna badh jaayega, she said.
"Ridzy! Kisi aur ka kaam badhe toh badhe! Humein kya? Muskaan asked. "Humein toh humaari chutti se matlab hai!
"Muski! Tu aisa kaise bol rahi hai? Hospital ke baake doctors humaare colleagues hain. Hum apna saara kaam unpe kaise dump kar sakte hai? Aur waise bhi, main toh yeh bol rahi hu, ki mujhe nahi lagta ki Dr. Keerti humein jaane dengi, Riddhima explained.
"Arre, kyu nahi jaane dengi? Unhe pata haina, ki humne kitni mehnat ki hai? Humein bhi toh break chahiye. Aur waise bhi, humaare yeh so called colleagues' mein se koi humaari concert mein madad kar raha hai kya? Ek performance prepare karne bola, usmein toh sabne itne naatak kiye. Aur ab unka bhi choreography wagerah humein hi set karna pad raha hai. Toh isse humaara kaam kitna badh gaya. Unhone socha kya yeh sab? Anjy ranted.
"Haan, Riddhima. Anjy bilkul sahi keh rahi hai, Nikki said. "Humein thoda toh relaxation time milna chahiye. Aur waise bhi, ab toh aur band bajne waali hai. Yaad haina Dr. Keerti ne aaj subah kya kaha tha?
Riddhima nodded finally, agreeing with what they were saying. It wasn't that she wasn't tired, because she was. There had been so much to do lately. And now, it was about to get worse. Dr. Keerti had announced that it was time to chose their specializations this morning.
This meant that the entire gang had to chose fields in which they wanted to specialize or if they wanted to continue practicing just the way they were. Of course, being the ambitious lot that they were, everyone wanted to move ahead and specialize in various fields of medicine. For that, they needed to handle a lot more cases. And complicated ones too, so that the panel could decide if they were competent enough to specialize in their chosen fields. They were all advised to handle all kinds of cases so that they could understand the intricacies and make informed decisions about what they wanted to do. Which meant more to do, more to learn, more to study.
"Okay, lekin Dr. Keerti ko convince kaun karega? Riddhima asked.
"Ek hi toh hai, humaare Dr. Shubhankar. Aur kaun? Anjy replied.
The girls looked at each other and laughed. "Right, Muskaan agreed. "Waise bhi Dr. Shubhankar ko lapete mein lena toh bohot hi easy hai.
"Okay, girls. Toh decided hai. Concert ke baad hum vacation pe jaayenge, Nikki concluded.
Everyone nodded. "Lekin, Riddhima added, "New Year ke baad. Mujhe Sanjeevani ki New Year party miss nahi karni, she pleaded. The New Year parties at Sanjeevani were very special to her. They'd always brought her closer to Armaan. Every time. And now, she didn't want to miss any of them. Ever.
"Haan, haan, Ridzy. Tu tension mat le, Muskaan said. "Sanjeevani ki New Year party toh humein bhi nahi miss karni hai. Kitna mazaa aata hai!
The girls cheered, happy with their decision and shared a group hug.
"Arre, tum logon ne abhi tak change bhi nahi kiya? Padma Mom asked as she entered the room. "Jao. Jaldi fresh ho jao. Main khana laga rahi hu.
A chorus of Yes, Mom/Aunty' rang through the room. The girls split between Anjy and Riddhima's bathroom and freshened up before moving for dinner.
"So, girls. Kal ke liye ready? Dr. Shashank asked as they ate.
"Yes, Dad! Anjali replied. "It's so exciting! Rehearsals mein bohot time laga lekin I'm sure ki aap sabko end result bohot hi achcha lagega. Hum sab ne bohot mehnat ki hai.
"Good! He said. "I'm very excited ki is baar tum sabne kya plan kiya hai. Last time ka concert dekhne ke baad toh aap sab se bohot expectations hai.
"Sir, aap chinta mat kijiye. Iss baar toh performances dekhkar aapke hosh ud jaayenge! Muskaan ranted.
Dr. Shashank just laughed. "And, Dr. Nikita, he said, turning to Nikki. "Kaisi hain aap? Riddhima ne mujhe bataya aapke aur Dr. Modi ke baare mein. Congratulations! He wished her.
"Thank you, sir. And I'm great. Sab mera bohot dhyaan rakhte hain, she answered. Dr. Shashank nodded happily.
After a hearty dinner, the girls made their way upstairs. Because it was a sleepover' they all decided to sleep in Anjali's room.
They all sat around the room, giggling till late at night before going off to sleep. Actually, only Anjali and Muskaan went to sleep. Abhi had called Nikki sometime earlier and he was taking a full report from her. How was she feeling, did she eat properly, was she comfortable? Etc, etc, etc. Nikki had moved to the terrace so she didn't disturb the others.
And, here, Riddhima was unable to sleep cause Armaan hadn't called her. It was their nightly routine to talk for sometime, however short, before they went to bed. These days, they'd be so busy with everything that they weren't able to meet, and even if they did, they weren't able to talk, just be Armaan and Riddhima, the couple and not Armaan and Riddhima, the colleagues. Since, it was too tiring to meet at some other place after the long day, they'd taken to talking on the phone. But, Armaan hadn't called her today. And Muskaan was snoring in her ear, making it even more impossible for her to sleep. Gosh, Riddhima felt bad for Rahul. He was the one who would have to live with Muskaan's snoring for the rest of his life. Hopefully, Riddhima added in her head.
She picked up her phone to call Armaan but then put it down. "Thak gaya hoga, she murmured to herself. "Haan. Bohot tired hoga. Isliye aaj call kiye bina hi so gaya hoga. Ab phone karke uski neend nahi bigaadungi, she decided.
Here, our hero had just climbed the pipe and let himself into Riddhima's room. He wanted to see her today. A simple phone call wouldn't be enough.
He entered her room and was surprised to find it empty. Where could she be at this time of the night? It was pretty late already. He had been waiting to come over because he knew the girls were all sleeping over today, so she would never meet him when they were awake. Of course she wouldn't. They would all know why she was making excuses to leave very easily and it would undoubtedly lead to another teasing session. Gosh, these people never stopped. It had been almost 2 years now since everyone knew about them, but they were still the center of attention and no one ever missed any opportunity to tease either one of them. Frankly, Armaan got really annoyed at times because of this, but he just kept his mouth shut because he knew that the teasing was just their friends' way showing how happy they were for the two of them. And, it didn't matter to him much, because of course, he was shameless and he never got embarrassed by anything they said. But, Riddhima was another issue altogether. She would always get conscious when people teased her about him and blush a brilliant red which, of course, would make people tease her even more.
Armaan smiled, thinking about how she looked when she blushed. She looked absolutely gorgeous, he thought, remembering all the times she'd blushed in his presence. But, then, quickly shook his head to focus. He was here to meet Riddhima! And, after the teasing session from his father who had caught Armaan trying to sneak out of the house, he was determined that he wouldn't go back without meeting her.
Not knowing where she was, he called her up.
"Kya kar rahe the? Kabse phone ka wait kar rahi hu, she said by way of greeting as soon as she picked his call.
Armaan laughed. Same old Basket. She would never change. And, of course, she'd never leave an opportunity to shout at him.
"Arre woh mom dad ke saath tha, Armaan replied, which thankfully appeased Riddhima and she got off her tirade. Riddhima had always encouraged Armaan to spend more time with his parents and sort their relationship out. So now, when it was finally happening, Riddhima was one happy camper. At times Armaan felt that she was happier than his mom at this newfound closeness between him and his parents and his mom was over the moon about it. He knew because she would never leave an opportunity to blab about how happy she was that Armaan was with them.
"Achcha, kya baatein ho rahi thi? Riddhima asked Armaan, bringing him out of his thoughts.
"Yeh sab chodo, tum batao. Tum kya kar rahi ho? He asked her in return.
"Main toh bas sone ki tayyaari kar rahi hu, she replied.
"Jhooth mat bolo, Armaan fired off.
"Jhooth? Maine kya jhooth bola? She asked him, confused.
"Tum koi sone wone ki tayyaari nahi kar rahi ho mujhe pata hai, he told her in a matter of fact tone.
"Armaan! Of course main sone ki tayyaari kar rahi hu. Itni raat ko aur kya karte hain? She asked him rhetorically.
"Achcha? Agar tum sone waali ho toh tum apne room mein kyu nahi ho? He asked her.
"Woh toh main aaj sabke saath Di ke room mein so rahi hu, she replied, going with the flow of the conversation.
A second later, she realized what Armaan had just asked her.
"Ek second. Tumhe kaise pata main apne room mein nahi hu? She asked him.
"Ummm... Woh... Woh... Main... Armaan fumbled.
"Armaan! Tum mere room mein ho? She asked him.
"Kya? Kuch bologe? Mere room mein ho kya? She asked again.
"Uh... Haan, Armaan replied, sticking his tongue out as he realized Riddhima hadn't been able to see him nod.
"Armaan! Tum na... Poore pagal ho! Riddhima exclaimed, exasperated.
"Haan, hu. Tumhaare pyaar mein, Armaan replied.
"Armaan! She screeched before cutting the call and making her way to her room.
Armaan smiled and settled himself on Riddhima's bed, knowing that his Basket was on her way to see him.
"Armaan! Aisa koi karta hai kya? Tumhe pata haina ki aaj sab ghar pe aaye hai sleepover ke liye. Toh tum kyu aaye? Riddhima asked as soon as she entered her room.
Armaan smiled on hearing her chatter. Basket was so... Basket! She was never going to change. And Armaan loved that. She was still the same Riddhima he'd fallen for all those years ago and yet, she was so different. And he was just as in love with her as he was back then. More.
He sighed and shook his head, getting up from the bed and moving towards Riddhima. Without saying a word, he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close to his body, effectively shutting her up.
Just to make sure she did actually shut up, Armaan placed a hard kiss on her mouth.
"Kya yaar, Basket! Armaan whined, breaking the kiss. "Bas poora time kya karte rehte ho? Koi naya dialogue nahi hai kya? Tumhe toh pata hi hai ki main kya kar raha hu! He said, tightening his hold on her to emphasize his point.
"Arre, Armaan! Tum kyu yeh karte rehte ho? Dekho ab agar kisi ko pata chalega toh sab mujhe bohot chidhayenge! She complained.
"Par I was missing you na! Armaan pouted cutely.
All of Riddhima's complains faded away when she saw him looking so cute and adorable.
"Tumna... Bohot hi cute ho! Riddhima laughed, pulling his cheeks. "Ekdum chotu baby ki tarah. Ek kaam karte hai, aajse na, tumhe baby hi bulaungi.
"Basket! Armaan shuddered. "Ek toh kitni baar kaha hai. Mujhe cute mat bulaya karo. Main hot, handsome aur dashing hu. Cute nahi! Aur waise, yeh baby waali baat pe hum discussion kar sakte hai, he completed, pulling her closer and nuzzling her neck.
"Armaan! Riddhima giggled, smacking his arm. "Tum kabhi nahi sudhroge na? She asked rhetorically. Armaan just shook his head, not moving back from her neck.
"Waise, he began talking after a few minutes of silence, "tumne toh mujhe bataya hi nahi.
"Kya? Riddhima asked him.
"Yehi ki tumne mujhe miss kiya ya nahi? Armaan questioned.
"Maine toh tumhe bilkul bhi miss nahi kiya, Riddhima replied, teasing him.
Armaan pulled back immediately and had a scandalized expression on his face.
"Hawww, Basket! Tumhe sharam nahi aati? Hone wala pati hu tumhara! Little respect! He ranted.
Riddhima blushed when she heard him refer to himself as her future husband. It was the first time he'd referred to marriage in such casual conversation since his return. It made her ecstatic that Armaan was moving in a positive direction when it came to marriage. Maybe someday soon, he'd be ready and then, finally, both their dreams would come true.
"Oh, hello, madam! Kahaan kho gayi? Poocha maine tumse kuch, Armaan snapped his fingers in front of Riddhima bringing her out of her thoughts.
"Ab main tumhe kaise miss karu? Hospital mein roz toh milte hai. Lunch saath mein karte hai, coffee peete hai, rehearse karte hai aur din mein 1-2 baar toh tum mujhe fire escape mein kheech hi lete the, Riddhima teased.
"Basket! Armaan whined. "Tumhe pata hai main woh nahi bol raha tha.
He pulled back from Riddhima and turned away from her, crossed his arms over his chest and pouted.
Riddhima laughed. No matter what he said, Armaan was a cute baby. "Achcha baba, nahi pareshaan karti tumhe, she said, hugging him from behind. "Aur maine tumhe bohot miss kiya! She added, kissing his back. Armaan smiled on hearing this. But, of course, he had to get back at her.
"Bachao! Bachao! Yeh ladki mere saath batameezi kar rahi hai! Madam, aapke ghar mein baap bhai nahi kya? He ranted melodramatically.
"Ugh! Armaan! Tumse toh baat karna hi bekaar hai! Chale jao yahaan se! Riddhima blasted at him pushing him away.
Armaan laughed. He turned around and pulled her to him.
"Basket! Main mazaak kar raha tha! He tried to pacify her, but Riddhima kept looking away.
"Basket! I'm sorry! He said cutely, holding his ears, but Riddhima still didn't budge.
She tried to move away, but at the last second, Armaan put his arms around her again, not letting her leave.
"Achcha suno, he whispered close to her ear, making her shiver.
"Kya hai? She asked him rudely.
"I love you, he whispered against the skin of her cheek before placing a soft kiss there.
Riddhima blushed on hearing his random declaration of love and she smiled.
"I love you, too! She replied, kissing his chest as she buried her face there, hugging him tight.
They spent some time together, talking about everything and nothing, hugging and kissing, just enjoying being together before Armaan left for the night.
Riddhima made her way back to Anjali's room, smiling wide as she remembered her time with Armaan. She opened the door quietly and tried to sneak in.
"Toh aapke loverboy chale gaye? Nikki asked Riddhima, startling her.
"Nikki! Riddhima whisper shouted, putting a hand over her chest as her heart thudded.
"Kya? Nikki asked her.
"Aise koi daraata hai kya? Riddhima questioned. Nikki laughed on hearing this.
"Tu topic mat badal. Armaan gaya kya? Gaya hi hoga, warna tujhe chodta thodi, Nikki said.
Riddhima blushed. "Arm... Armaan? Armaan kahaan aaya? Main toh... Main toh... Haan, main paani peene gayi thi, Riddhima stuttered.
"Chal, chal. Bahaane mat bana, Ridzy. Mujhe pata hai Armaan aaya tha. Jab main terrace pe thi toh maine usse pipe chadhte hue dekh liya tha, Nikki explained.
"Oh, Riddhima smiled sheepishly while blushing causing Nikki to smirk.
Nikki patted the space next to her on the bed and gestured for Riddhima to sit.
"Yeh Armaan na... Poora paagal hai, she told Riddhima who nodded.
"I know, Riddhima replied.
"Ek baat bata, aise pipe se chadhke kitni baar milne aata hai? Nikki asked, causing Riddhima to blush even more.
"Hafte mein 3-4 baar toh aa hi jaata hai, Riddhima replied quietly, but truthfully.
"Hayye! Nikki exclaimed, hitting Riddhima's shoulders with her own. "Ek pal ki bhi doori bardaash nahi hoti!
"Nikki! Riddhima exclaimed, embarrassed.
"Arre, Ridzy! Isme sharmaane ki kya baat hai? Achcha haina. Armaan toh tujhse ek minute bhi door nahi reh sakta. Waise, yeh new development hai ya pehle se hi janaab aise the? Nikki asked.
Riddhima hid her face in her hands.
"Armaan toh hamesha se hi aisa hai, she replied. Nikki laughed.
"Yeh Armaan na, sachme joker hai poora. Kisi din Dr. Shashank ne pakad liya na, fir pata chalega usse, Nikki commented.
"I hope woh din kabhi nahi aaye, Nikki! Riddhima replied.
"Kyu? Unse milne ki badi bechaini hai aapko bhi, Dr. Riddhima Gupta? Nikki teased.
Riddhima blushed. "Aisa kuch nahi hai. Lekin tune socha kabhi agar Papa ko pata chalega toh kitna awkward hoga? Ek toh itni mushkil se Papa ke saamne Armaan ki image theek hui hai. Firse kuch gadbad ho gayi toh? Aur upar se mujhe bhi Papa se daant pad sakti hai.
Nikki laughed on hearing Riddhima's rants. "Tu bohot zyada hi darrti hai, Ridzy. Itne saalon mein Dr. Shashank ko pata nahi chala, toh ab bhi nahi chalega. Tu tension mat le!
"Tu meri chod. Apni bata. Aajkal toh humein time hi nahi milta, Riddhima said.
"Hmmm, Nikki agreed. "Baat toh sahi hai. Lekin abhi na, mujhe bohot bhook lagi hai. Maggi hai kya? She asked Riddhima.
Riddhima giggled. "Chal, banaate hai. Actually, main banaungi, tu mujhe tere aur Abhi ke baare mein batana. Nikki agreed instantly.
They moved to the kitchen and Riddhima started moving around, gathering stuff to make a nice veggie and Chinese maggi, just the way she knew Nikki liked. Nikki looked at her and nodded in approval.
"So... Riddhima started.
"What? Nikki asked coyly.
"Nikki. Riddhima reprimanded.
"Arre, baba. Bata rahi hu. So impatient, Nikki laughed.
"You know, Ridzy, pichle kuch months mein na, Abhi bohot badal gaya hai. Itna zyada caring ho gaya hai. Matlab, pehle bhi tha, lekin ab toh kuch zyada hi. Mere khaane, peene, sone sabka itna achche se dhyaan rakhta hai. Kabhi kabhi toh bilkul Dr. Shubhankar jaise behave karta hai, she laughed.
"Dr. Shubhankar? Riddhima asked, confused.
"Haan, Nikki replied. "Har baat ko badha deta hai. Kitna panic karne laga hai. Khud bhi doctor hai, sab pata hai usse, lekin woh first time dads hote haina, jo har cheez ka tension leke baith jaate hai? Waisa bann gaya hai.
Riddhima laughed. "Par bohot pyaar karte haina tujhse. Aur tum dono ke beech pehle hi itne issues the. It's obvious ki woh thode overprotective toh honge hi. Teri aur baby ki fikr hoti hai unhe, she explained.
Nikki nodded and was quiet for sometime, musing on what Riddhima said.
"Waise, Riddhima said, breaking the silence. "I don't know mujhe tujhe batana chahiye ya nahi, lekin bata deti hu.
"Kya? Nikki asked confused.
"Abhi na... Actually woh tumhaari har appointment ke baad mujhse alag se milne aata hai. Just to double check if everything is okay. Aur bohot baar uska phone aa jaata hai, kuch confirm karne. Bohot hi zyada excited hain woh, Riddhima told Nikki.
"Awww! Nikki cooed on listening to Riddhima. "Mujhe nahi pata tha ki woh aisa hai.
Riddhima smiled at her. They talked about some random nonsense till the Maggi was made and then Riddhima served it in two plates for both of them.
Nikki started hogging immediately. They were still eating when Muskaan came into the kitchen.
"Kameeno! Tumko sharam nahi aati? Mere bina kha rahe ho? She shouted at the two of them. Nikki and Riddhima looked at her and started laughing.
"Muski, tu toh so gayi thi na? Fir yahaan kaise? Riddhima asked her.
"Woh toh yeh Maggi ki smell se meri neend khul gayi. Aur bhook lagi thi toh main aa gayi khaane, Muskaan explained.
"Chal de ab mujhe, Muskaan demanded from them.
"Chal hatt. Main apni nahi deti, Nikki fired back.
"Nikki, zaalim. Apni dost ko bhooka maaregi kya? Muskaan asked her.
"Abbe, tujhe Maggi khaane ka itna shauk haina, toh khud jaake bana le. Meri Maggi pe toh tu nazar bhi mat laga. Mujhe bohot bhook lagi hai. Yeh toh main hi khaungi, Nikki said.
"Lekin, Nikki! Dena yaar. Aisa kyu kar rahi hai? Muski whined. They started bickering back and forth before Riddhima intervened.
"Guys! Stop! She shouted.
"Muski, tu Nikki ko pareshaan mat kar. Yeh le meri kha le. Mujhe waise bhi bhook nahi lagi hai, Riddhima said, passing her plate to Muskaan.
"Thank you, Ridzy! Tu hi meri sachchi dost hai! Muskaan exclaimed, attacking the food. Riddhima shook her head fondly at Muskaan.
After she'd eaten a few bites, Muskaan asked. "Waise, kya baatein chal rahi thi?
"Kuch nahi. Bas Armaan aur Abhi ki baat kar rahe the, Nikki replied, her mouth full of Maggi.
"Yaar! Tum dono kitne boring ho. Bas har baar apne boyfriends aur husbands ki baat karte rehte ho! Muskaan said, annoyed.
"Ab tera boyfriend nahi hai toh main kya karun? Hota toh bhi uski hi baat karti na, Nikki replied in the flow of the conversation, not realizing what she'd just said.
Muskaan instantly shut down, her expression mollifying.
"Nikki! Riddhima exclaimed.
"Shit! Sorry, Muskaan! Mera woh matlab nahi tha! I'm so sorry! Nikki explained.
"Chod na, Nikki. Waise bhi tune kya galat kaha. Main tum dono ki tarah lucky toh hu nahi, Muskaan replied.
"Muski! Riddhima exclaimed, moving forward and pulling Muskaan in a tight hug. "Aisa nahi hai. Lucky toh tu bhi hai, bas tujhe thoda brave banna padega.
Muskaan scoffed. "Kiske liye brave banoo? Us Rahul ke liye? Woh toh problem dekhte hi bhaag jaata hai. Bohot brave bani hu uske liye. Ab aur himmat nahi hai mujhme, Muskaan said, opening up for the first time since coming back. Nikki and Riddhima looked at each other helplessly.
"Muski... Aisa nahi hai. Mujhe pata hai ki tere aur Rahul ke beech mein problems hai aur mujhe yeh bhi pata hai ki Rahul ne bohot galtiyan ki hai tumhaare rishte mein, lekin jab tak tum log baithke baat nahi karoge, toh solution kaise niklega? Riddhima asked.
"Baat? Kya baat karu main? Jab jaa raha tha mujhe chodkar, ro rahi thi main. Kitna explain karne ki koshish ki ki mujhe nahi farak padta uski problem se. Adopt bhi toh kar sakte hai hum. Aur artificial insemination ka bhi option hai. Lekin woh toh meri baat sunne tayyar hi nahi tha. Bas saamaan baandha aur chalta bana. Ek baar bhi socha usne ki mujhe kaisa lagega? Muskaan asked them.
"Muskaan, mujhe pata hai ki Rahul ne sahi nahi kiya, lekin... Riddhima started to say only to be cut off by Muskaan.
"Lekin kya, Ridzy? Pehle bhi jab Rahul ko achanak sab chodke US jaana pada tha, main uske liye ruki thi. Tab bhi kaha tha usse, ki main wait karungi. Aur jab woh waapas aaya toh yeh sab? Kyu? Muskaan questioned.
"Muski, dekh main jaanti hu tu sahi hai, lekin ek baar meri poori baat sunegi, please? Riddhima asked.
Muskaan nodded halfheartedly.
"Tere aur Rahul ke beech jo bhi hua, main samajh sakti hu ki tum dono ke liye mushkil hua hoga. Rahul ko toh maine dekha hai, har pal tadapte. Woh yeh sab karke khush nahi tha, Muski. Kitna roya hai woh, yeh naat toh main hi jaanti hu. Bohot takleef hui usse, sirf iss baat se nahi ko usne tujhe chod diya, par iss baat se bhi ki woh tujhe kitna dukh pohoncha raha hai. Usse pata hai ki tu usse kitna pyaar karti hai, samajhta hai woh yeh sab. Lekin woh nahi chaahta tha ki uski wajah se teri zindagi adhuri rahe. Hum sabko pata hai ki tujhe bachche kitne pasand hai. Aur jab Rahul ko pata chala ki woh tujhe bachche hi nahi de paayega, woh bohot darr gaya tha, Muskaan. Bohot stress mein tha woh tab. Khud ke kabhi bachche nahi honge iss baat se zyada usse is baat ki tension thi ki woh tujhe bachche nahi de paayega. Usse darr tha ki abhi toh tu dil se sochkar usse rok legi, lekin kahin aage jaake iss wajah se tu usse nafrat na karne lage. Apna decision regret na karne lage. Isliye usne tujhse break up kiya. Jab main wahaan thi na, toh Rahul bas saara din tere baare mein baat karta tha. Muskaan aisi, Muskaan waisi. Zabaan nahi thakti thi uski teri baat karte karte. Uski takleef mujhse dekhi nahi jaati thi. Toh maine usse samjhaane ki bohot koshish ki. Par woh nahi maana. Usse lagta tha shayad adopted bachche se woh itna attach na ho jitna khudke bachche se hota. Phir, ek din toh mujhe uspe itna gussa aaya na, ki kya batau. Tab maine usse mera aur Di ka example diya. Main bhi toh adopted hu. Lekin kya koi Papa ko dekhke kahega ki unke liye main aur Di alag hai? Balki sab toh yehi kehte hai ki Papa Di se zyada mujhse pyaar karte hai, humesha mujhe favour karte hai. Dheere dheere usse baat samajh aane lagi ki shayad main sahi keh rahi hu. Aur jab usse realize hua, toh usne tujhse contact karne ki kitni koshish ki Muskaan. Phones, messages, emails. Milne bhi aaya tujhse, lekin tune toh uska chehra bhi nahi dekha. Kya woh sahi tha? Riddhima asked.
Muskaan was a little shocked to listen to Rahul's side of the story. Of course, she'd only been thinking about herself. She'd never stopped to think how the news must have affected Rahul himself. How his whole life must have turned upside down when he found out. And yet, Muskaan had never taken a moment to talk to Rahul about it. To ask him how he was feeling. To tell him that it would all be okay and that he shouldn't overthink it. As soon as she'd found out, she'd started seeking commitment from Rahul because she was afraid that he'd leave her. She was so drowned in her own fears and insecurities that she never stopped to consider his. It was all about her, her, her and never him. Was that right? No, of course not. Both of them were in the relationship together and his feelings mattered as much as hers did, but she'd never thought that way.
On top of that, she'd always thought that Rahul was living the high life after they'd separated - partying and drinking and being happy. She never thought that he'd be sad and inconsolable about the break up as well. After all, he was the one who'd broken up with her. He was the one who didn't want this relationship. But, somewhere down the line, she forgot that he didn't break up with because he didn't love her anymore, he broke up with her because he thought he couldn't give her what he wanted.
She, at least, had the liberty of hating him, calling him names for what he did to her, but Rahul didn't even have that because he was the one in the wrong. He'd only felt pain and anguish. And she'd overlooked that. How could she have been so heartless? She claimed to love Rahul, but when he needed her support, she hadn't been there. Yes, Rahul had decided to break up with her, but what had she done? She never questioned his decision, she didn't fight for them, she didn't try to convince him otherwise, other than stating that she didn't care if he couldn't have kids. Had actually given it her all? Had she tried to stop Rahul, to make him understand? No. She hadn't. And that had been her mistake. She should have pushed harder, fought more. But she didn't. And here she was, blaming everything on him, when she had made her own mistakes.
These thoughts made Muskaan question everything she knew about her relationship with Rahul. It was time she actually re evaluated things and handled the situation maturely like an adult, instead of playing the blame game.
Yes, Riddhima had given her a lot to think about.
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