Ankahee Chapter 10

Posted by Shabia Walia on

#storiesbyshabiawalia

Ankahee

Episode 10

Randeep munched his breakfast hurriedly. He had to reach office early but the late night had got to him and he had ended up sleeping way past his waking time. He regretted it now. He was one of the first always to reach office. It gave him a head start to the day before the chaos began and gave him some much needed me time before he was barraged with people and their questions.

Nimmi walked in all dressed up professionally. Randeep gave her a smile. ‘Early start today?’. Usually Nimmi headed out only by 11 am as she had her own lifestyle store which exported furniture to various parts of the world. It was a successful business she had built almost singlehandedly with a few inputs from him. She was extremely good at what she did and their home was a reflection of that. Artistically done with the best of world artefacts, it was a dream home most could only wish for and Randeep had only Nimmi to thank for it.

‘Yes, a meeting in town post which I head out to the airport. Still a lot of packing to do.’Nimmi said pouring herself a cup of chamomile tea.

Randeep looked blank. Had she mentioned to him that she was travelling which he had forgotten?

Nimmi caught on to his confused look and offered, ‘The lifestyle show in Hong Kong Randeep, you forgot?’

Randeep said, ‘But wasn't it on the 15th weekend?’

‘It is the 15th weekend Randeep’, Nimmi said almost rolling her eyes for dramatic effect.

Randeep gave a sheepish smile. The last few days had completely left him shortchanged.

‘Can I drop you to the airport then, to make up for my silly mind?’ He offered playfully.

‘Shoo… don't patronise me now. You have enough on your plate. I will manage.’, she chided him.

She was brilliantly independent in many ways, a fact Randeep loved. He hated clingy damsel in distress type of women. He loved women who could take charge, decide for themselves and celebrated their independence.

He got up having finished his breakfast, moved to her and kissed her on her forehead. ‘Well then, to a great business trip Nimmi.’ He said gently. ‘Be safe and come back soon. Will miss you’.

She caressed his cheek and nodded. ‘Will be back in 4 days. You take care of your arm and don't work too much. Have some fun too’.

He smiled naughtily, ‘Rarely does any wife tell her husband this, giving too many liberties, eh?’

Nimmi laughed as Randeep gathered his blazer, laptop bag and phone. He gave her a last kiss on her cheek and headed out. She sighed as he left, grateful for all that life had offered her, even the few rough edges in her life. But this wasn't the time to reminisce about life. Hong Kong awaited her as she got up ready to take on the day.

It was almost half a day gone by before Randeep set his eyes on Ruhi. There was too much to do for both of them and there just wasn't any time to meet or socialise. She was the creative director and had to oversee a lot of things while he was the strategist laying out plans on how best to roll out the content. And today was a day to blend in that synergy.

It was only when the first launch of today went on air that he saw her huddled in the centre of the office with the team to catch a glimpse of the show on air. Only a television crew knew the joy and excitement of seeing their months of hard work finally make it to the screen. This was one such moment. As the show started there were claps and cheer and much gaiety all around. Everyone hugged each other and there were joyous faces, tired but relieved. He looked at Ruhi. She looked splendid in her cotton pants and summery top.

He made his way to the team and seeing him there was more cheer and claps. His eyes locked with hers as she smiled at him. There were no words but a silent acknowledgement of each other's contributions and hard work.

The day passed on quickly as all the three shows scheduled for today went on air without a glitch. Ruhi sat back in her chair as she kicked off her shoes and put her tired feet up on a chair. Her cabin was bright and happy with full length windows and she loved looking out as she massaged her tired toes.

The office was quite empty now as Ruhi had sent the creative team home to catch up on sleep and she herself looked forward to heading home soon.

‘Tired?’, Randeep entered with two cups of coffee and settled in a chair in her cabin.

She nodded in acknowledgement grateful for the steaming hot cup of coffee.

‘So far so good, isn't it?’, Randeep asked.

‘Yes, so far so good. Till the ratings jostle us into reality’, she made a wry face. She never understood how creativity could be measured in terms of numbers or art could be reduced to mere statistics.

‘Hmm.. let's not worry about that so soon. It will mar the joy of what you have managed so far.’ He chipped in.
She nodded in agreement. She looked at him, ‘Hope your arm not troubling you today?’

‘Not as much as yesterday thanks to some miraculous healing I received yesterday’, Randeep said.

She caught the naughtiness in his voice and remembered their hug on the beach.

‘Am glad,’ she said and asked him if she could leave early today. She had some friends coming in for dinner today when all she wanted to do was sleep. He nodded a yes. After all, she did have her own life beyond him and office and tv shows and ratings.

As he wished her goodbye and walked back to his office, he suddenly felt lonely. Nimmi had left in the afternoon and Ruhi had plans for dinner. He didn't want to spend the evening alone at home. But he did want to get out of office.

On an instinct he called his friend Sanjay and they made an instant movie plan. He would have loved to go with Ruhi but that would have to wait.

Throughout the movie he kept thinking about Ruhi and her ongoing dinner with her friends. Was Sohail a part of it? Or someone she loved? Why couldn't she invite him? Or maybe he didn't fit in?

Sanjay pointed out that Randeep had hardly seen the movie when Randeep couldn't remember significant portions of it. Randeep offered to go for dinner but sanjay refused saying his kids were waiting at home. He asked Randeep to join him but Randeep had no inclination.

As Sanjay drove away, Randeep was daunted by the thought of returning to an empty home. He never liked going to an empty home. It reminded him of his days in school when he returned home and there was no one because his parents worked. On an impulse, he decided something and headed for his car. The thought brought a smile to his face.

Ruhi had just finished dinner with her friends and had literally pushed them out from her home to grab some sleep. It had been a lovely evening where Ruhi had managed to put together a mean Khou Suey for everyone. Everyone had raved about it and Ruhi’s cooking skills, a gift she had nurtured from her college days. She was just cleaning up when she heard the doorbell ring.

‘Who could it be at this hour,?’ She wondered. She really wanted to call it a night. It was already past 11 as she looked at the clock.

She unlatched the door and opened it. It took her some moments to register who it was. She was shocked. Her eyes widened as she still couldn't believe who was standing in front of her.

It was going to be a long night.

…….to be continued

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