Sunday, 11 June 2017

part 14: Tera Mera Rishta By Sangeeta

PART 14: 

Armaan had a hard time staying focused rest of the morning. He barely paid attention to what his interns and residents were presenting to him at the rounds. He hurried through the rest of the rounds and looked at his watch, "I will be in my office….just page me when you are ready for me later….." 

Armaan reached his office and just stared at the blank computer screen…..why was she here?…..why was she still able to distract him so much? "Main usey bhula chukaa hoon….ab mere liye wo koi maayne nahin rakhti….then why am I so bothered by her presence here?" he shut his computer down and banged his fists on his desk.

A little later he was paged by the intern, "sir, the MRI on room 408 has been done…."

"You mean Ishaan Saxena? Patients have a name….ther ARE NOT ROOM NUMBERS!" he yelled at the intern and hung up. He had learnt to address patients by their name rather than room number from someone 6 years ago.She had taught him many things about life- one of them being BETRAYAL!

Armaan put on his white coat and walked towards the Radiology Center. He saw Sapna, who was one of the Radiologists at the SMI, in theRadiology reading room. 

"I need to see the MRI on Ishaan Saxena!" he said curtly. Sapna looked at him with the corner of her eyes and handed him the film. She knew it was best to stay out of Armaan's way when he was in a foul mood.As he checked out Ishaan's MRI on the computer system, he asked, "Sapna..…tum apni saheli sey tho mil li hogi?" Sapna sensed the caustic undertone in Armaan's voice.

"Haan," Sapna replied.

"kyon aayi hai wo yahan? Delhi mein bhi tho achhe Neurosurgeons hain," Armaan stared at Sapna angrily, "why the he** did she have to come here?"

Sapna stopped what she was doing and looked at him, "Who would not want the best for their child?"

"Hmm…he is what 5 year old?….she left this place about 6 years ago…..bilkul time waste nahin karti tumhari friend…….theek kehte the loguske baare mein…..she is a CHARACTERLESS WOMAN!" Armaan clenched his jaws angrily.

"ARMAAN! MIND YOUR LANGUAGE" Sapna raised her voice, "Agar uss ke liye kuch accha nahin keh saktey tho don't say anything. Why don't you treat her like any other patient of your's? Why does her character have anything to do with her son's illness?"

"Of course….of course Sapna," he smirked, "after all…. I am a professional too….just like her….……except in her case she has made sleeping around her profession!"

"ARMAAN! STOP IT OK? Tum jis ghamand sey yeh sab keh rahe ho naa… owe it all to her….understand….she is responsible for what youare today….." Sapna stopped as Riddhima had sworn her from saying anything about the past.

"I know…..I owe it all to her… anger, my mistrust for people….all my frustrations…..TO HER!" his eyes were red with anger, "lagta hai you have been in touch with her all these years……jhooth kaha tha tumney mujhsey…..haina?" Armaan's nostrils flared as he questioned her.

"Yes….." she lowered her eyes guiltily, "Aditya Saxena was my cousin brother."

"ADITYAAAA SAXENAAAA!" he laughed smugly, "All right…. so she married him right after leaving Mumbai….tum tho gayi hogi wedding mein….haina? Poor Adityaaaa Saxenaaaa had no idea what he was getting into…wonder if he ever saw her true colors," his sarcastic laughter continued as he turned to leave after reading the films.

Sapna could not hold herself; she followed him and said, "Armaan!"

Armaan stopped and looked behind, "kuch kaha Sapna? I am sure you want to defend your WONDERFUL friend….don't you?"

"Main bus yahi kahoongi…..Aditya bhaiyya knew her for the last 3 years only….he was very fond of Ishaan…..I can't say anything more…." She walked off in the other direction, leaving a stunned Armaan behind.

Armaan thought about what Sapna had just said and then took the elevator to the 4th floor. He always discussed results of tests and risks and benefits of surgery with the patients himself. He did not leave it to the senior residents or interns to do that - again somethinghe had learnt from someone in the past. 

He knocked on room 408, where he saw Riddhima sitting at Ishaan's bedside and pleading him to eat his meal, "beta….khaana zaroori hai….aapphir kal bhi nahin kha sakogey…."

"Kyon…kal kya hai?" an angry Ishaan asked.

"Wo..wo..kal aapki surgery hai beta…."

"Kyon hai surgery?…..Main wapas ghar jaana chahta hoon……Aditya papa ke paas," he started crying. Riddhima hugged him and put him on her lap,'beta…hum jaldi ghar jaayenge…promise….aapke roz sir mein dard hotha hai naa….surgery ke baad bilkul theek ho jaayega," she hugged her son tearfully.

Armaan's heart melted on seeing the tender moment between the motherand son. He did not notice a tear had just escaped from his eyes too, arare reaction from his body. He cleared his throat and blinked his eyesto hide his emotions, "May I come in?" he knocked.

Riddhima got up and placed Ishaan on the bed again, "yes…please…come in" as she adjusted her saree pallu and wiped her tears. 

"I just wanted to go over the MRI results once again and discuss the risks involved 
with surgery tomorrow and get a consent," he spoke like a professional and took out his pen for her to sign.

"I trust you Dr Mallik." She hesitated to say "Armaan" as she knew her voice would give away her emotions if she addressed him by his firstname, "I know you will do the best for my son….you don't need permission for anything….kahaan sign karnaa hai….?"

Armaan sighed and gave her the pen. He stared at her bare wrists andfingers. He recalled that Riddhima was always fond of jewelry and even during her Surgery rotations always wore a bracelet and ring on her fingers. How he wanted to see those wrists with some colorful bracelets or bangles once again. He stared at her face as she bent over to sign the papers. She was as beautiful as ever, perhaps even more since she had become a mother, he thought.

Armaan became a little conscious as he kept staring at her; he looked away and for a change, saw a smile on Ishaan's face. Armaan smiled back and thought, "smiles just like his mom….that smile which canlight up any dark room with it's brightness…." He shook his head as he was getting distracted again, "Thanks Riddhi….oh sorry….Dr Saxena," and took the papers back from her. Riddhima could tell that it was probably as painful for him to address her by her first name just like it was forher to call him "Armaan."

"Please call me Riddhima, main yahan ek maa ki haisiyat se hoon, ek doctor nahin hoon," she said softly.

Armaan just nodded and then looked at Ishaan.

Armaan raised his hand in a 'high-five" manner and was surprised to see Ishaan reciprocate back with a big smile, 'HIGH-FIVE!"

Riddhima smiled at last, "Thanks…for making my son smile….jab se Aditya…."

Armaan looked at Riddhima , "I am sorry to hear about your husband."

Riddhima just looked down and remained silent.

Armaan pinched Ishaan's nose playfully, "beta, apni mom kaa kehna maan naa….eat your dinner…Ok…I will see you tomorrow…." and left with a smile on his face, something even Armaan had not done in ages. As he walked out he could not help thinking about Ishaan once again, "aisa kyahai iss ladke mein…..aisa lagta hai usse pehle se jaanta hoon….why do Ifeel attracted to that boy?" 

That night Armaan could not get any sleep. He kept tossing and turning in bed. Anjali was fast asleep as always; she often was asleep when he got home as her medications made her drowsy. 

He got up and walked to the balcony. He stood there for hours thinking about the day gone by….Riddhima's sudden re appearance….Ishaan……his smile…..his eyes….his conversation with Sapna…..why was he getting so disturbed by their presence….could Ishaan be his son…??? 

NO WAY….he thought given Riddhima's track record….anything was possible. If Ishaan was my son….why would she hide such a big secret from me? His mind was a confused bundle of questions.

That night, Armaan's eyes, which had been bone dry all these years, suddenly flowed incessantly as he stood in the dark for hours…….

This song sums up Armaan's feelings that night:

"aadat" from "kalyug" 
juda hoke bhi tu mujhmein kahi baaki hai
palkon mein banke aansu tu chali aati hai
juda hoke bhi

waise zinda hu zindagi bin tere main
dard hi dard baaki raha hai seene mein
saans lena bhar hi yaha jeena nahi hain
ab toh aadat si hai mujhko aaise jeene mein
juda hoke bhi tu mujhmein kahi baaki hai
palkon mein banke aansu tu chali aati hai

saath mere hain tu har pal shab ke andhere mein
paas mere hain tu ujale savere savere mein
dil se dhadkan bhula dena aasan nahi hai
ab toh aadat si hai mujhko aaise jeene mein
juda hoke bhi tu mujhmein kahi baaki hai
palkon mein banke aansu tu chali aati hai

ab toh aadat si hai mujhko aaise jeene mein
yeh jo yaadein hai - 2
sabhi kaatein hai - 2
katado inhe - 2
ab toh aadat si hai mujhko be contd..

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