Armaan needs his basket
Cunning and underhanded, Sona told him.
Armaan smirked. "I think the word you're looking for is resourceful and effective.
I m so in love with story even though AR scenes are not coming any soon.
I knw you have plans for the same.
Stress buster this ws fr me after office I tell you.
Busy schedule and I knw you wll understand this.
I wll catch up with both the story asap!
You knw I cnt wait to read them.
They are part of my favourites.
Favourites make time no matter where you are where you go.
You made me happy today and tomorrow is a holiday hopefully I wll read the parts and give you feedback haha just kidding you dont need that. You put the best efforts and I love that about you.
Till then wait fr my comments!
Yay this has been a lucky week for me. First two quick updates and now this. Arman and sona bond is so good. It's really good to see their interactions. Mr padfoot sounds like a cute dog (Is the name reference to Harry Potter). The bond of Tamana and Arman is really sweet. Btw where and why jaan disappeared? Would definitely like to know that.
(Tissue Warning. This is extremely sad.)
Bonus Track 2(A) : Armaan Mallik - The Chronicles of Time
This takes place immediately after the Armaan par sirf Riddhima ka haq hai' scene from the show.
Day One - Five
Armaan holds back during his conversation with Riddhima. Barely. But, once she's gone, all bets are off and the few tears that had leaked out of his eyes earlier give way to gut-wrenching sobs as he loses grip on himself and his knees give out, making him fall to the floor of the locker room.
Armaan doesn't remember how long he stays in there, crying. Time stops having meaning. He could have been there for minutes or hours or days and he wouldn't have realized. He's so lost. He never imagined his life would take such a turn and that the one person he loved the most would abandon him. Again. He doesn't know what to do now.
No, that's incorrect. He does know one thing. He knows he can't work here another day longer. It's too much. He doesn't have it in him to fake smiles and pretend as if everything is okay any longer. Because it isn't. And now, he isn't sure if it'll ever be. But, he can't stay in Riddhima's presence, so he has to leave.
With that decision in mind, Armaan musters up all the courage he has and gets off the floor. He wipes his tears and looks out the locker room because he feels as if someone's watching. But, when he reaches to the door, he sees no one and assumes it was just his deliriousness making him feel things. For a second he thinks that maybe it was Riddhima who was watching him but he dismisses the thought immediately. She'd already made her choice very clear tonight and though it warmed Armaan's heart to know that she still loved him, it didn't change anything.
Instead of heading back inside and making himself look more presentable, Armaan walks to Dr. Keerti's cabin because he needs to talk to her ASAP.
Dr. Keerti is reluctant to give in to his request because he's such a great doctor and having him at Sanjeevani has been a great addition to the team. Also, she can't just let anyone go on such short notice because they're doctors and they have a responsibility to their patients. But then, she looks at Armaan and takes in his disheveled state, the hunch in his shoulders, the way he refuses to look her in the eye. When she forces him to make eye contact, she's shocked to see the tear tracks on his face and the redness in his eyes. Taking it all in, Dr. Keerti doesn't see anyone but a broken man who needs to start looking after himself. And so, she agrees. She knows that it has been difficult for Armaan to cope in these last few months, but she's never understood how much. She can see how working here has taken its toll on him. So much that, the one person she knew to make the best out of a bad situation and make everyone laugh has forgotten to smile.
They spend the night talking. Dr. Keerti apologizes to him for not seeing it sooner, for not helping him in any way she could have, but Armaan dismisses her apologies. He brings her up to date on all his cases and she listens intently, proud of the amazing doctor her brightest intern has become. It's almost 5 in the morning when they're done, but she relishes it all, knowing this is probably the last time she'll ever be in his presence, because knowing Armaan, he must have plans to move as far away from here as possible. They both leave after a tearful goodbye. As Dr. Keerti walks away, she sends a prayer for Armaan's well-being and hopes that the people in his new home treat him better than the ones here.
Armaan is in a daze when he reaches home. He hasn't thought far ahead. Now that he's quit Sanjeevani, he doesn't know what to do. He is so lost. And he hates feeling that way. Armaan is a planner. Yes, he is, no matter what people seemed to think. He is always in control of his life and where it is going, a necessary side effect of his past. But now, he has no plans. And that scares him. He never thought that his life would ever take such a drastic turn.
His room is another painful reminder of Riddhima. He can't bear to see her pictures on his wall anymore, and so, the first thing he does is remove them all. Yes, he hasn't removed them even after finding out that she is married. It is wrong of him, having pictures of someone else's wife strewn across his room and he knows that, but he couldn't bring himself to remove them before tonight. This room is his safe haven and if he wanted to have Riddhima's pictures on his walls, he would have them on his wall. No one ever visits him anyway, so it isn't like someone would find out.
Packing all of the mementos of his relationship with Riddhima takes him longer than expected, but it gives Armaan something to do and for that he is thankful. He boxes all the large frames on his wall together and the other little knick knacks and souvenirs in another. There is a lot of stuff, he realizes - photographs taken at various occasions, a few love letters that Riddhima had written to him, many love letters that he'd written to her but had never gotten the chance to give them to her, the godforsaken diary and comics that he'd thrown away in a fit of anger but later realized how important they were to him and gotten them back (well, the comics anyway. The diary had gone missing and Armaan had mourned it's loss for quite some time before Shilpa gave it back to him when she was leaving Sanjeevani), the broken remains of her payal (he knew that Riddhima had the kada and he couldn't find it in himself to ask for it from her), presents that she'd gotten him - a watch, a Superman keychain, a cute little basketball soft toy, a few items of clothing and games, the dog soft toy they shared and stuff like ticket stubs from movies they went to together, other little scraps of paper he didn't even remember what they were (probably bills from restaurants when they went on dates or something of the sort) and finally, his engagement ring - the one she'd made him wear just a few minutes before their lives had changed forever. He stacks it all neatly in the box and then closes it.
The finality of the end of his relationship settles in after that. He's closed all doors to her and the thought makes his chest ache. But, he knows this is something he has to do, and so, he does. He feels the beginnings of a panic attack not long after and he's not entirely surprised. He hasn't had one in years, but then, it figures that they'd come back now, when someone else has left him forever. He's forgotten how it felt, how small it made him, but he does his best to get over it. He takes deep breaths and focuses on happy memories. He tries to make plans for his new life. He even tries to sing. Nothing works. But, slowly, after what could have been minutes or hours, he starts feeling better. Completely drained by emotions, Armaan falls asleep, right there on the floor.
He wakes up a few hours later, screaming. He's had a nightmare and he doesn't even remember what about. He just knows that it was scary and he never wants to feel that way again. His whole body shivers but he somehow manages to get off the floor. He searches his pockets for his phone and calls the one person he knows will understand.
When Rahul's phone rings in the middle of the night, he knows something is wrong. He still wants to say f**k it and let the phone ring. He's had a long day. Dad had had his chemo this morning and it had been really painful. Rahul had sat with his mom, trying to comfort her, but she'd been a crying mess and he had felt utterly useless. But, when he sees it's Armaan, all thought is out of the window and he answers immediately.
Armaan has been calling Rahul on and off these past few months, mostly to vent about his bad days. Armaan had called him one day, many months ago, wanting to talk. At first, Rahul had wanted to bang the phone without listening to a word Armaan might have had to say, but his desperate pleading had made Rahul give in and he'd given Armaan one chance to explain why he'd been such a despicable human being and left Riddhima when she needed him most. Suffice it to say, Rahul was really shocked when he'd found the truth behind the shootout those months ago and when Armaan had expressed his desire to go back to Mumbai for Riddhima, he'd supported his friend completely. And then, when Armaan had called a few days later, telling Rahul that Riddhima was married, he was even more shocked. Since then, Rahul checks up on Armaan every few days and the two lean on each other for support in such tough times.
Rahul's heart hurts as he listens to his best friend talk, the heartache he knew was coming for him manifests worse than Rahul could have imagined. Rahul has been trying to convince Armaan to leave Mumbai, but being the stubborn mule he is, Armaan had constantly refused. But now, Rahul could sense it getting to much for Armaan to handle.
Rahul isn't really surprised when Armaan tells him that he's quit the hospital and that he spent the morning trying to box his stuff. But, it hurts when Armaan says he doesn't know what to do because he doesn't have any place to go to because he's obviously never living with his parents again. Rahul puts a kibosh on it instantly and orders Armaan to fly to New York.
Armaan laughs and thanks him for the offer, but refuses, saying that he couldn't impose. Armaan knows that Rahul is going through a difficult time too and he doesn't want to add to Rahul's worries. When Rahul insists that he would never be a burden, Armaan tells him about his panic attack. That stops Rahul short. It doesn't fit with Rahul's image of Armaan - the cool, calm and collected dude who lives life to the fullest. But, Rahul knows Armaan needs someone and at the moment, he doesn't know anyone else who might be able to support him. So, Rahul asks Armaan to sit tight for a couple days while he thinks of something.
Once he disconnects the call, Rahul makes arrangements to fly to Mumbai on the first available flight. He knows his parents need him, but Armaan needs him more and it'll just be a matter of a few days. He tells his mother that he needs to go help a friend and that he wouldn't be home for the next few days, but promises that Rohan or Jaanhavi would be there in case they needed something. After talking to her, he calls Rohan and Jaanhavi and explains the situation to them. They both agree to look after his parents in his absence. Rahul had met the two a few months ago when he'd joined the New York branch of Sanjeevani and they'd become friends instantly. He's never been more thankful for them.
The flight is the longest and time passes too slowly for Rahul. He needs to be with Armaan already. God knows what that man might be doing now. He's scared because Armaan has a history of not thinking clearly when Riddhima is concerned. He prays he doesn't reach too late. To distract himself, he plans. He decides that no matter what Armaan says, he's going to bring him to New York. Armaan will live with him. He could take some time to adjust to his surroundings and then join Sanjeevani. Rahul knows that Dr. Mehra, or Rahul Uncle as he insists Rahul call him, would be happy to have Armaan on board. It wasn't much, but it's a start and he hopes that this helps Armaan in even a small way. He knows it won't be easy for Armaan to forget about Riddhima, but he also knows that Armaan doesn't have another choice, because really, what else is he supposed to do? He sleeps on the flight because he knows he needs to be alert and present when he's with Armaan.
Armaan spends the next day and a half in a daze. He feels drained and tired. He tries to sleep, but always wakes up a couple hours later, drenched in sweat and screaming. The nightmares show no signs of leaving. He's also had a couple more panic attacks, but he manages. He feels hungry but doesn't have the energy to even call for takeout. So, he just lays there. No one comes to check on him, to make sure that he's okay and the reality hits him hard. No one here cares about him . They've all moved on in their lives and they don't need him anymore. The thought makes him cry and then wretch. He can't bring himself to get up from the bed, so he pukes on the floor beside him. Knowing that no one cares about you and wouldn't know if you died today, is a sobering thought and it makes him feel lonelier than he ever has. It also makes him feel unwanted. He claws at his chest, wanting this feeling to go away, but it stays, settling in deeper and deeper till he sees no way out of it. Which makes him sob.
That's how Rahul finds him. Curled on his bed, hands clawing at his chest and violent sobs wracking the room. For a second, Rahul is taken aback and doesn't know what to do. He's never seen Armaan this way. It makes him question everything he thought he knew about his closest friend. Taking a deep breath, Rahul moves towards him and immediately pulls Armaan into a tight hug.
Armaan is taken aback by the feeling and jerks away. He didn't know who he expected to see, but Rahul is definitely the last person.
"What are you doing here? Armaan asks, confused.
"You needed me, Rahul replies, shrugging. As if it wasn't a big deal that he flew to Mumbai all the way from New York because of one phone call. No one has ever done something like this for Armaan before. The loneliness flees his body in a flash, those three words erasing the feeling of being unwanted from Armaan's thoughts. He can't believe that Rahul came all the way just because he needed a friend. He can feel his sadness diminish, if only a little. And, he feels this newfound energy that was sorely lacking in the past couple days.
Armaan hugs Rahul tightly and a few tears leak from both their eyes. A few minutes later, Rahul pulls back and takes in his surroundings. He can smell something nasty in the room, Armaan looks absolutely haggard and could easily be mistaken for a homeless person if not for his branded clothing, boxes are strewn in the room and he's sure he can hear Armaan's stomach rumbling.
He decides to tackle one problem at a time. He helps Armaan out of bed and into the bathroom where he instructs Armaan to take a shower so he can feel human again. He then orders pizza from Armaan's favourite joint and cleans up the puke. It's disgusting and Rahul almost gags, but after seeing his dad in chemo, it comes easier. And, if he ever wants to be a successful oncologist, he's going to have deal with stuff a lot nastier than a little vomit. So, he cleans up and then he arranges the boxes in one corner. He opens Armaan's wardrobe and sees that it's still full which means Armaan hasn't packed anything. Armaan isn't in a state to do it, so Rahul knows he's going to be the one to pack it all up. He'll do that later, after eating.
Armaan comes out of the shower a few minutes later and he looks better. He also feels better. He gives Rahul a small smile, which Rahul sees takes a lot of effort and so, he smiles back and pats Armaan on the back.
"I ordered pizza, he announces, just as the doorbell rings. Rahul knows it's the pizza guy, so he goes to answer the door, but realizes he only has US Dollars which definitely won't work. Armaan seems to draw the same conclusion because he picks up his wallet and heads for the door.
"It's hot! Armaan jokes as he and Rahul sit at the dinner table to eat.
Rahul watches as Armaan takes the first bite, the first time Armaan is probably eating in days, and smiles in satisfaction as he hears the little moan Armaan makes in appreciation of the food. Any other time, Rahul would have teased Armaan and asked him to keep the sex noises at a minimum, but today, he finds an odd comfort in it.
They share the pizza and Rahul asks Armaan about the dark circles under his eyes.
"I've been having nightmares, Armaan answers. "I don't ever remember them when I wake up, but I have them and wake up screaming.
This breaks Rahul's heart even more and he just aches to do something, anything to make Armaan feel better, but doesn't know what. So, he tells Armaan that he's coming to New York with him.
"You're coming with me. To New York, Rahul declares, taking Armaan by surprise.
"I can't... Armaan tries to say, but Rahul cuts him off.
"You can and you will. I don't trust you to take care of yourself right now. You need someone to help you through this, Armaan. And I want to. You're my best friend. It's the least I can do, Rahul promises.
Armaan doesn't say anything after that because he knows that Rahul is right and he does need someone and if it's going to be anyone, he actually prefers Rahul, because Armaan knows that Rahul understands. Rahul knows Armaan better than anyone, except maybe Riddhima. But then, he remembers everything that happened and decides that Riddhima doesn't know him at all.
Rahul packs after they're done eating and Armaan helps him for sometime, before Rahul orders Armaan go take a nap. Not wanting to fight, Armaan agrees. He descends into slumber, and this time, he sleeps for a longer period before waking up from a nightmare. It's better because Rahul is there, soothing him and assuring him that it was just a dream and that he's here and it will all be okay. Armaan doesn't know why, but he believes Rahul.
The next day is full of stuff to do. Armaan cancels his credit cards, closes his bank account and even turns in his cell phone numbers. He donates all his furniture apart from a few pieces he likes, which will be shipped to New York later and then put in storage till he gets a place of his own. Rahul suggests that he put the house on the market, but Armaan isn't ready for that yet. So, he decides to keep this flat, and also the bungalow he'd purchased, the one he thought he and Riddhima would live in after marriage. Maybe someday he'll sell them, but today, he can't. So he doesn't.
While he's doing all this, Rahul packs Armaan's bags - clothes, books, electronics and calls his mom to tell her that they're going to be having a house guest for sometime. She immediately starts asking Rahul a thousand questions about how to decorate Armaan's room and what kind of food he likes and listening to his mom talk makes Rahul feel instantly better. She hasn't even met him yet, but he can tell that his mom is going to love Armaan like her own.
When Armaan makes it home in the evening, Rahul has a meal prepared. All of Armaan's favourites - aloo parathas, chicken tikka and dal makhani. Armaan smiles at the obvious efforts his friend is making to cheer him up and appreciates Rahul's presence in his life so much more. They share a hearty meal, Armaan eating more than Rahul had seen him in the last day, even if he wasn't able to finish an entire paratha. But, it's progress and Rahul will take anything he can get.
When night falls, Rahul and Armaan load all of Armaan's bags - 2 suitcases, a duffel and the two boxes full of Riddhima's stuff - in the back of a cab and make it to the airport.
Armaan spends most of the flight reading Superman while Rahul catches up on sleep with his head resting on Armaan's shoulder. Armaan smiles at his sleeping form, happy to provide this comfort to him, no matter how small, after everything Rahul has done for him in the past 2 days.
When the plane lands at the JFK Airport, Armaan feels that this only the beginning of good things to come and smiles. The rest of his life is about to begin. And, with Rahul by his side, he knows he'll be okay.
Ahhh. This was physically painful to write. But, it is important for me to show both Armaan and Riddhima's journey during the 'lost years'. So, there'll be many such posts for both of them.
This is only shows the first few days, but we've got 7 years to cover. This won't turn into a novel it's own, I promise. I'll post snippets, covering all the landmark days in both their lives. And they won't all necessarily be from A or R's perspective. Maybe there'll be stuff form other characters too, but I'm not sure of that so I won't promise anything. :)
I hope you guys liked this.
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