Two updates in a row! Happy reading!
Link to the previous update :
Riddhima was busy arranging all her important belongings into a suitcase, that she’d take along with her to the VR Mansion after the marriage.
Sushant kept watching her emotionally.
“This house would get so lonely without you.”
Riddhima shook her head sadly. On one hand, her father went on reiterating about how much he’d miss her once she left the house. And on the other, he kept refusing to her’s and Vansh’s request to shift at VR Mansion with them. Why did parents have to be so adamant?
“There’s a solution to that problem,” said Riddhima, hoping for a last minute change of heart. “If we all stay together under one roof, we wouldn’t have to miss anyone.”
Sushant sighed. “Riddhima, you know that this is not possible….”
“Why not?” she interjected. “Is it a sin for a parent to live at his daughter’s house after marriage?”
“Absolutely, not. But you should understand that it’s practically not possible in our case. If I and Ishaan also begin to live at VR Mansion, then when Ishaan finally gets married, would I bring his wife into the same mansion? How complicated would things get!”
Riddhima was getting irritated and it didn’t help much that the suitcase wasn’t shutting properly even after applying a lot of force.
“Ishaan has plenty of time to get married. And why to waste time pondering about something that’s going to take years to happen? We’ll see when the time comes.”
“This is what sets you youngsters apart from us. Unlike you, we take a decision only after looking at what consequences it can have in the future,” said Sushant. “Plus, staying at my daughter’s house after her marriage is something that my self respect wouldn’t permit me to do.”
“Why is it that a girl’s parents begin to question their self respect when they live with their daughter after her marriage, but a guy’s parents have no qualms about self respect when they stay with their son after his marriage? This is something beyond my understanding,” remarked Riddhima.
Not wanting to stretch this matter anymore, Sushant decided to divert the topic.
“Today, you will get married and go to your in-laws’ place. Usually a mother gives a lot of advices to her daughter before her marriage.” A sad smile crept on his face. “But since your mother is not with us anymore, I’d have to do that instead.”
Riddhima nodded, keenly listening to what her father was going to say.
“Never hide anything or keep any secrets from Vansh. When things start getting hidden between a couple, that is when their relation starts falling apart….” Sushant had a reminiscent look on his face as he remembered his own broken marriage.
Riddhima understood where her father was coming from. She held his hands and turned towards him hopefully.
“Papa, I know that what Mumma did with you was unpardonable. She got married to you through cheat and lies, broke your trust…..But now that she is no more with us, can you please forgive her?”
Riddhima saw Sushant flinching and realized that perhaps she had indeed asked a very difficult thing from him.
After an awkward pause, Sushant finally spoke up, “I’ve forgiven all the people who have wronged me. I forgave my siblings as well as your mother. However, I can never forget what Sunidhi did, how she betrayed me, how she was almost ready to put a bargain over her daughter’s life…..
“But I know that she is your mother. And it is obvious that you’d feel biased towards her. She was a good mother and did a lot for you and Ishaan, which cannot be denied.” He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “I want you both to always remember your mother in good light. Don’t let my feelings of dislike for her hamper the love that you both hold for her in your hearts.”
It was at that moment that she felt even more proud of her father. She realized that she was indeed blessed to have such understanding men in her life, be it her Papa, Ishaan or Vansh.
At Sinhas’ residence, everybody began to run helter skelter, when they heard the baraat approaching. Sushant and Ishaan deftly positioned themselves at the entrance to welcome the Raisinghanias.
Dressed in an off-white sherwani paired with a red turban to go with it, never had Vansh looked as regal and dashing as he did today.
He was soon escorted towards the beautifully decorated mandap, where the priest was already present there, chanting some hymns and putting the ghee into the holy fire.
Vansh was getting very restless. He had to visit Riddhima’s room at any cost. But how was he going to do that without anyone catching him red-handed?
He stopped one of the waiters, asking him to bring him a glass of water. When nobody was looking, he tumbled the water over his dress.
“I need to use the restroom to clean this up,” said Vansh, standing up all of a sudden.
Sushant intervened, “I’ll tell Ishaan to accompany you….”
“No, no! I’ll manage it by myself,” Vansh refused promptly.
After all, if Ishaan followed him around, how will he meet his sweetheart?
Sushant nodded while Vansh headed upstairs without wasting any second.
An anxious Riddhima was sitting in her room, all decked up as a bride. She had worn a heavily embroidered red coloured lehenga and a large chunk of Raisinghania family’s ancestral jewellery to go with it.
Despite her father’s protests, she had insisted that she’d do her own makeup without taking the help of any professional artists. She did this keeping in mind about Vansh’s demand of being the first person to see her.
Riddhima looked at her reflection for the umpteenth time. She saw a completely different woman staring back at her. Throughout her life, she had always opted for a simple and a minimal look, and today, she was finding it a bit strange to see herself in this new avatar.
Looking at the clock, she angrily grumbled, “Where is this Vansh? Why isn’t he here yet, to see me? How much more should I wait for him?”
“Riddhima! Are you ready yet or not?” asked Ashima knocking at the door. “Can you now at least let me take a look at you to make sure everything is properly done or not?”
“No!” Riddhima told her. “Vansh told me that he wants to see me first before anybody else does…”
Ashima mentally banged her head with a wall. “Vansh is comfortably sitting in the mandap. There’s no way he’s coming up to meet you. The pundit has even finished chanting all the hymns he knew, and now him and everyone else are asking for the bride to be called. Even Sushant Uncle has asked me at least a hundred times to check up on you. So stop this adamance, please.”
“Ashima, please! You are my best friend and you ought to help me. We’ll wait for another five minutes, okay?” Riddhima insisted.
“Fine!” Ashima gritted under her breath. “But after five minutes, I’m coming to take you to the mandap. No more excuses would do.”
Riddhima could hear the clinking of her heels fade away. Within no time, she heard a familiar, husky voice call out her name from outside.
Instantly recognizing his voice, she hurriedly opened the door and let Vansh inside.
As soon as he saw her, he was left awestruck. Okay, he knew that she’d look beautiful in any attire, no matter what, but this was something beyond his imagination.
“Do I look good?” she asked getting a tad too worried.
“You look like a fairy who has just descended from the heavens,” he said with his eyes fixated upon her only.
Riddhima smiled coyly. “And you look like a handsome knight who has just travelled all the way to meet me….”
Vansh chuckled softly, “Not bad sweetheart! I see that you’re taking thorough inspiration from me in regard of those cheesy pickup lines.”
Suddenly, Riddhima remembered that she wasn’t supposed to be acting all sweet with Vansh, after how he had put her in a fix and had kept her waiting for so long. She began scolding him.
He neared her and spoke in an unusually deep voice, “Today isn’t the night to complain. Rather it’s the night to show some love…..”
His words trailed off as he attempted to kiss her. But before he could do that, she placed her hand over his lips.
“Not now, or else my makeup will get ruined.” She looked away not wanting to meet his eye, as he kissed the hand covering his mouth.
As Vansh turned to leave, Riddhima stood on her toes and gave a quick peck on his cheek.
“I think that’s more than enough for now,” she said softly.
“But the truth being, that I can never get enough of you ever….” he whispered. “Don’t know how will I be able to concentrate upon the rituals instead of staring at you.”
She gave him a slight push. “Okay, go now. Everyone must be waiting down for us.”
Vansh finally left Riddhima’s room and was making his way through the long corridor, when he saw Ishaan and Raj show up around the corner.
“Jiju, what took you so much time? All of them have been asking for you…..”
Ishaan had not even finished his sentence and instead broke out into a fit of laughter. Raj soon joined him, too.
“What is wrong with you both? Why are you laughing like maniacs?” quizzed Vansh getting visibly miffed.
Ashima who happened to cross them on her way to bring Riddhima, saw Vansh and even she started laughing uncontrollably.
Vansh stood there utterly confused. Taking pity on him, Raj finally spilled out the beans to him.
“There’s a dash of bright red lipstick smeared on your cheek.”
Vansh’s eyes widened half in astonishment, and half in embarrassment.
“What is this Jiju? Couldn’t you control yourself for four more hours even?” Ishaan continued his favourite hobby of pulling his leg.
Vansh shot him a glare and quickly wiped the lipstick off his face.
With a smirk, he thought to himself, “Riddhima, you didn’t do this right. Now you see, what I’ll do with you tonight!”
Ashima led Riddhima to the altar. On the way, she berated her for walking too quick and appearing too ‘confident’.
“Brides are supposed to lower their heads in shyness and take slow, nervous steps towards the groom.”
“I’m sorry, but I cannot pretend to be something I am not,” Riddhima murmured to her friend. “Besides, Vansh and his family like me exactly the way I am.”
Riddhima was made to sit beside Vansh, with both of them stealing glances at each other.
An emotional Sushant came forward and did the kanyadaan. When her father gave away her hand into Vansh’s, Riddhima started reminiscing all her previous moments with Vansh – the first time they met, the first time he came to her house, the first time she stepped into VR Mansion.
She smiled thinking about how she used to dislike him in the beginning, how they used to argue with each other over every single little thing, how he came forward to help her and her brother.
And then how he had forcefully got engaged to her, how she later got to know about his painful past, and how she started to develop a soft corner for him.
She couldn’t help but feel surreal about how over the time they started to grow close to each other, care for each other, and soon enough, fell madly in love with each other too.
Of course, their journey hadn’t been easy at all. They had had all kinds of troubles brewing up in their life – misunderstandings, trust issues, secrets, lies, mysterious happenings and quite a few enemies, too. But what mattered in the end was that they were together, making their love and relation much stronger and beautiful than before….
The priest instructed the couple to stand up, breaking Riddhima from her reverie.
Vansh and Riddhima exchanged garlands, after which they circumambulated the holy fire seven times. Later, he put the nuptial chain around her neck and applied vermillion in her head.
When the priest finally pronounced them as wife and husband, Vansh and Riddhima gazed at each other with uncontained happiness….
The priest spoke, “Now, the couple should seek their elders’ blessings.”
Vansh began to search for his shoes, but couldn’t find them anywhere.
“Your shoes are with us,” Ashima anmounced taking everyone by surprise.
She continued, “Did you think that just because Riddhima doesn’t have a sister, so there won’t be any shoe stealing ritual done? Then you’re absolutely wrong.” She pointed a finger at herself. “I am Riddhima’s best friend cum soul sister. So that makes me your rightful sister-in-law, as well as your half wife, aka, aadhi gharwaali.”
“What nonsense!” Vansh exclaimed.
“This is not nonsense. Unless, you give us some money, we won’t give you your precious shoes back, and nor will we allow you to take our sister with you,” Ishaan reiterated.
Vansh arched an eyebrow at him. “From when did you become my sister-in-law instead of becoming my brother-in-law?”
“From when, all the money conveniently started falling only into the girls’ laps,” Ishaan started cribbing.
“Dids, you always go on voicing your opinion on gender discrimination, right? So don’t you think it’s unfair that only the sisters of the bride get compensated with money when they hide the groom’s shoes away, and only the sisters of the groom get money to grant their brother the permission to enter his wife’s room?
Like, everywhere, the brothers and the men are conveniently boycotted from having all the fun!”
Vansh smirked, “If I want, I can take Riddhima from here with me, shoes or no shoes. And nobody can stop me even.
But….I don’t want to hurt your sentiments, so here is your money.”
Saying this, he pulled out two cheques from his pocket, and handed them over to Ishaan and Ashima each.
“Whoa, 2.5 lakhs! That’s huge. Thank you, Jiju,” Ishaan and Ashima beamed.
Riddhima was shocked.
“2.5 lakhs?” she repeated in a voice so loud, that everyone turned around to look at her.
“You are still a bride, though,” Sia told her softly.
Riddhima contained herself and said to Vansh, “Why did you have to give away such a large amount?”
“Come on! Usually a wife complains that her husband doesn’t spend enough on her friends and family. But you’re doing the complete opposite, wifey,” said Vansh. He began to speak in a hushed up tone, to prevent anyone from listening to what he was going to say next.
“Besides, I didn’t want any arguments that could lead to an unnecessary delay. Because you know right, how desperate I am to take you to my house?”
Riddhima felt like hiding her face behind a pillow because she was beginning to blush really hard and, what made it worse was that everyone was watching her. Vansh should control himself and shouldn’t say all such things at least in front of everyone.
Finally, it was the time of bidaai. Riddhima could feel herself getting overwhelmed with emotions, but she knew she had to remain strong and keep a brave face on. However, her voice gave away what she was going through at that point of time.
“Papa, just because I’m not there around, doesn’t mean you won’t look after your health or take your medicines on time. Okay?”
Sushant silently nodded and hugged his daughter tightly, not wanting to ever let her go away from him. He didn’t know what to say at this time, and simply just kept shedding tears.
“Papa might be upset that you’re leaving, but I am not!” said Ishaan. “Now I’m going to capture your bedroom and make it mine. I can do whatever I want without anyone constantly nagging at me to study everytime. There will be no one to disturb me by asking me to hand over the items from the topmost shelves and racks. I really am not going to miss you, Dids.”
Ishaan’s face reddened as he turned his face away.
Hugging her brother, Riddhima’s voice cracked up. “I’ll give you a tight slap in front of everyone, if you say another word even.
Take care of Papa, not that you’d just be engrossed in your own world. If anything happens to him, I swear I won’t leave you.”
When Vansh approached Sushant, he blessed him and said, “Usually, a father requests his son-in-law to keep his daughter happy forever. But I won’t tell you this. Because I trust you enough, and know that you’ll love and take care of Riddhima, no matter what.”
Vansh became very sad. It pained him immensely to see tears in Riddhima’s eyes.
“Papa, the offer for you and Ishaan to stay at VR Mansion with all of us is still open. Please think about it, once again. At least, for Riddhima’s sake.”
“I’m sorry, beta. We’ve already spoken enough on this topic, let’s not waste our time doing that again,” said Sushant.
Vansh took Riddhima by her hand, leading her into their car. With tears streaming down her face, she waved her family a final goodbye through the window.
When Riddhima entered the bedroom, she was pleasantly surprised to find it beautifully adorned with scented candles and her favourite flowers – red roses. Wherever her eyes ran ran, all she could see were red roses. Red petals scattered on the bed, strings of reds hovering around the bed, large bouquets of red flowers in the corner…..
“Why aren’t there any white lilacs around? Aren’t they supposed to be Vansh’s personal favourites?” queried Riddhima.
“Because nothing is more favourite to Bhai than you yourself,” teased Sia. “And that is why, he wanted all the decorations to be as per your tastes.”
Riddhima tried to hide her smile.
“Oh! So you’re getting shy now!” grinned Sia. “But before that, let me do your touch up. Your makeup got almost worn off because of crying so much.”
Sia did not pay any heed to Riddhima’s pleas, and immediately started fixing her makeup. Soon, Nandu barged into the bedroom.
“I’m very confused! Please, help me out, nah.”
“What happened, Nandu?” Riddhima asked.
“Now that you’ve got married to my Papa, what should I call you? Mumma, Mummy, Mom, or Maa?”
Riddhima giggled and pulled Nandu’s cheeks. “You can call me anything you want, I won’t mind.”
“Okay, I shall call you Mumma, then,” said Nandu excitedly. “Riddhima Mumma, can I sleep with you and Papa today?”
At this, Sia started laughing like anything while Riddhima sat there rendered speechless.
“Why don’t you ask your Papa about that?” Riddhima told her instead.
“Bhai would never agree to that, even you know that well Riddhima,” Sia continued to laugh.
After Nandu had left, they heard the sound of approaching footsteps.
“That must be Bhai. Wait, let me stand at the entrance of the room. I won’t let him in unless he gives me some money. He gave 2.5 lakh rupees each to his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, now I wouldn’t agree without taking at least 5 lakhs from him.”
Riddhima almost choked when she heard that. “Five lakhs? Don’t you think that’s too much?”
“Nah, not at all. And don’t worry, Bhai will give that money to me in an instant. After all, he can do anything to get close to you. Aaahhh!”
Sia let out a scream as a heart-shaped pillow landed on her head.
“Don’t waste all these heart-shaped pillows on me. Keep some for Bhai, too,” Sia winked and hurried out of the room, before she could get hit by another pillow.
With everyone out of the room, Riddhima finally could heave a sigh of relief. This heavy costume and jewellery was making her feel very irritated, and so she decided to take them off.
She stood in front of the mirror, taking off her jewellery, one by one. However, she was finding it difficult to undo the hook of the heirloom necklace.
Her heart skipped a beat when she heard the door open and Vansh entered inside. Keeping her back to him, she continued to struggle with the necklace.
Soon enough, she felt Vansh hug her from behind and breath into the fragrance of her hair.
“So, Mrs. Riddhima Vansh Raisinghania…..” he mumbled.
“Uhm, it’s actually Mrs. Riddhima Sinha Vansh Raisinghania,” she corrected him.
“Well, don’t you think that name sounds too long enough?” mocked Vansh.
“You got a problem with that? However, I prefer it that way. I don’t like the idea of doing away with my maiden name….” she huffed.
“Okay, okay my extremely feminist wife,” he said giving up. “You win and I lose. Is that fine?”
Riddhima began to laugh due to the ticklish sensation when Vansh buried his nose in her neck.
She shoved him lightly. “Have some patience, Vansh. Let me change into something comfortable at least.”
In order to feign his annoyance towards her, Vansh started sulking.
“Now, stop standing there simply making a face. Come here and help me take off this necklace please,” she scolded him.
“Of course, I’d do that happily,” smirked Vansh coming closer to her.
When he finally removed the necklace, he was taken aback at what he saw.
“What’s wrong, Riddhima? Why do I see rashes around your neck?”
“Oh that’s nothing. Actually, wearing heavy jewellery doesn’t suit me so….”
“So what was the need to wear it then?” asked Vansh getting half angry and half concerned.
“Nani had given it to me with so much love. How could I refuse, then?” she tried to reason out.
“No one would have said anything had you shared your problem with us.” Vansh made her sit on the bed and brought an ointment for her.
“It’s just a rash….” Riddhima tried to say but was shushed up by him.
After she let him apply the ointment, Vansh asked, “Where else have you got the rashes on?”
He began inspecting her hands and legs. Riddhima laughed out loud at his funny antics.
“You may make how much ever fun you want of my love. But remember, I’ll duly take all my revenges.” His words sent butterflies in her stomach. “But before I do that, first you need to close your eyes.”
“Why though?” she raised her eyebrows.
“It is supposed to be customary for the husband to gift his wife on their first night,” said Vansh. “So, I want you to close your eyes before you can see what I got for you.”
Riddhima obediently did as she was told to, and soon enough, she could feel two envelopes being slipped into her hands.
She finally opened her eyes and had a question mark on her face. “Don’t tell me that you’re giving me cheques too, just like how you did with Ishaan and Sia.”
“Why don’t you see it for yourself?” he said with a glint in his eye.
When Riddhima opened the first envelope, she found two tickets to Fiji.
Vansh spoke, “We will be heading off for our honeymoon two days later. You always wanted to visit a quiet and private place with beautiful beaches? Fiji perfectly fits that description.”
Riddhima was delighted. “Oh Vansh, what am I going to do with you? Why are you so sweet and thoughtful?”
“Praise me how much ever you want, but first have a look at the other envelope,” said Vansh.
Riddhima found some property papers in the other envelope. She was confused. “It says that you are planning to demolish the outhouse and build a brand new villa over there.”
“Yes, that’s what it says. I know that you’re upset at the thought of staying away from Papa and Ishaan. And we all know how adamant Papa is. So, I made up this plan.” He further explained, “Look, Papa has a problem in staying at VR Mansion. But I don’t think he’d have a problem in living at a house right beside us. And just so that his self respect doesn’t get hurt, we can even ask him to pay the rent.
“This whole thing should actually take around a year, but I spoke to the engineers and convinced them to get this villa built there in about 2-3 months. This way, you’d get to stay closer to your family, as well as, Papa’s sentiments would also not be hurt. What do you say?”
Riddhima almost started tearing up at this heartfelt gesture of Vansh. Every woman wishes for a husband who not only loves her immensely, but also loves and cares for her family, too.
She flung her arms around him and cried, “Thank you so much for thinking so much about my family….”
“Hey,” he cupped her face. “Isn’t your family, my family too? Besides, some intelligent person had told me that one needn’t thank his loved one.”
“I need to change my clothes,” Riddhima said after sometime.
“Go ahead, then. I’m all for it,” he flirted.
She lightly smacked him.
“Hey, what wrong did I say, anyways? We are married and I’m your husband!”
“But I don’t feel comfortable enough to do that,” said Riddhima.
“Okay, okay. I’m going to the washroom to get freshened up. Till then, you can change here, in the room itself.”
Riddhima utilized the time that Vansh was there in the restroom, and quickly changed into something casual and comfy.
She could hear the rain begin to drizzle outside and excitedly ran into the balcony to bask in the beautiful weather. She put her hand out in the rain, trying to hold the drops in her hands.
When Vansh saw Riddhima enjoying the rain, he felt rapturous.
Ek Baat Kahun, Kya Ijaazat Hain
Tere Ishq Ki Ab Toh, Aadat Hai….
As soon as Riddhima felt Vansh near herself, she turned around to face him and sprinkled some water over him. But he remained unfazed. He continued to inch closer to her, pinning her against the railing of the balcony.
He slid a finger across her face and all the way down her neck. Without any warning, he scooped her up in his arms. She willingly put her arms around his neck and kept looking at him lovingly, while he carried her into the room.
Vansh lay her on the bed and sat beside her, gazing at her in awe. Riddhima spread her arms, beckoning him to come closer.
Not wanting to keep any distance between them, Vansh reciprocated her gesture and wrapped his arms around her. Even though, the weather was getting chilly outside, but their embrace was enough to keep them warm.
Mujhe Milta Sukoon Teri Baahon Mein
Jannat Jaisi Ek Raahat Hai….
A sudden knock at the door brought them out of their ecstacy.
“Who must it be at this time?” Vansh asked getting furious.
“Must be Angre,” said Riddhima casually.
Vansh got up to open the door. “I’m hundred percent sure that it can’t be Angre…..”
Vansh was shocked to see that it was very much Angre, indeed.
Vansh turned around to see Riddhima, and he found her eyeing him annoyedly.
Vansh stepped out of the room, closing the door behind him.
“Are you mad? How dare you spoil my wedding night!”
“Sorry Boss, but it’s very urgent. Please, let us discuss about it in the study.”
Vansh felt like he could murder him right then and there, but he also knew that Angre wouldn’t disturb him without any reason. There must be something really important.
Riddhima couldn’t believe it. Her husband had left her right in the middle of making love to her, and this made her feel very angry.
“I knew that when I’d marry Vansh, I’d have to compete against the many women who yearn for his attention. But never knew that my biggest competition would be Angre himself,” she grumbled to herself.
Just then, her phone began to ring. Finding an unknown number flashing on her screen so late at night, she began to feel weary. But nonetheless, she picked it up.
“Hello! Who’s there?”
No response again.
She suddenly heard a male voice crackling through the phone.
“Listen, if you think that you’d be able to scare me by making such random calls, then you’re surely mistaken, Mister. I’ll get your call traced and get you booked under Cyber Crime….”
Riddhima became absolutely numb when she heard that voice.
“Kabir!” she gasped.
Kabir chuckled, “I’m happy that you remember my voice even after so many years.” His voice suddenly grew painful. “I heard that you got married to Vansh. Why did you do that? Why didn’t you wait for me?
No problem, I’m finally out of this hell called mental asylum. And the first thing I’ll do is to come over and meet you. No matter what, I’ll get you because you are only mine…..”
Suddenly, Riddhima felt a tap on her shoulder. She jumped up in startle and dropped her phone in the process.
“Relax Riddhima, it’s me!”
When Riddhima saw that it was Vansh, she seemed to calm down momentarily. But soon Kabir’s words began to ring in her ears again, causing her to tremble with fear.
Throwing herself in Vansh’s arms, she frantically tried to find some comfort.
Ideally, she should have told him all about what had happened, but she was afraid that Vansh might take a wrong step in the process, and maybe go as far as to even kill Kabir. And she didn’t want that.
“Please, don’t leave me, Vansh….”
But Riddhima had no idea that Vansh was one step ahead of her, like always. He had already sent his men to finish off Kabir’s chapter for once and all. When he had promised that he wouldn’t let any trouble to befall his Riddhima, he had meant each and every word of it.
Caressing her hair, he said, “I won’t leave you ever. I promise you, sweetheart.”
This was the last chapter of this book. The epilogue is also ready and will be posted by tomorrow.