Saturday, 1 July 2017

part 25 : Tera Mera Rishta By Sangeeta

Atul and Sapna came back to find Armaan in a stupor, lying on the living room floor with an empty wine bottle in his hand. They picked him up and carried him back to bed.

Next day, Armaan apologized to both Sapna and Atul but was still upset with Riddhima. He tried to find out about her whereabouts from her clinic in the neighboring hospital but they were unaware too. 

Over the next few days, he channeled all his energies to defend his case in front of the Licensing Board. They were going to hold their enquiry in a few days.


Armaan sat on a chair in the center of a the interrogation room. A number of distinguished, gray haired doctors, who were directors of the Medical licensing Board were bombarding him with several questions about his professional and personal life. Dr Shashank Gupta, as dean of the SMI was also present in the room. He had a smirk on his face when he saw Armaan in the "hot seat."

"Hmm…we see you are quite a reputable Neurosurgeon…in fact you have won many awards at your young age…Good!" said one of the directors.

"But, there is a charge from several of your colleagues and staff at the SMI, that you have engaged in a physical and sexual relationship with a patient of yours…is that right?"

Armaan kept quiet but then said, "actually, I can explain…she and I…"

"Please answer YES or NO, was Riddhima Sharma your patient?"

"No, her son is.." he corrected them

"Well…for all practical purposes that should be a YES!" said one of the directors

"Did you engage in a close physical relationship with Ms, err..Dr. Riddhima Sharma? YES or NO?"

"YES….I did" Armaan replied curtly.

"You understand, Dr Mallik that engaging in such a relationship is a violation of the doctor-patient relationship as per the licensing board of Medicine and your license can be revoked indefinitely, which means you can never practice medicine in this country!"

"I understand.." Armaan's voice cracked as he could see his lifelong dream shattering in front of his eyes. Dr Gupta was joyous, as one would be after winning a battle! Armaan gave him a dirty look and just swallowed his pride quietly.

"OK..our committee will now adjourn and send you our final verdict by certified mail in 5-7 business days.." the directors were ready to get up when a peon came in with a message. "Ok…andar bhej do…" said one of the directors.

The door opened and everyone saw a woman walk in towards the center of the room. Armaan had his eyes fixated on the ground, as he was feeling very humiliated and broken after possibly being stripped of his licensure and self-respect.

"Please sit down Dr Sharma…" said one of the directors. Armaan looked up when he heard the name and saw Riddhima sitting across from him. She was looking at him with moist eyes; he could not help feeling tearful himself…..his anger towards her suddenly melted…. She was too late, he thought.

"Dr Sharma…aap Dr Mallik ke defence mein kuch kehna chahti hain….please make it brief as we have other cases waiting outside….aap bataiye, aapka Dr Mallik se patient honey ke alaawa kya rishta hai….did he ever take advantage of you….I mean ….did you have an intimate physical relationship with him when your son was still his patient…..?"

"Jee….Dr Armaan Mallik ke saath mera rishta bahut intimate tha aur hamesha rahega….wo mere pati hain!" Everyone was shocked to hear that. Armaan was stunned at her response….. how was she going to prove that they were legally married because they were not!

"Dr Sharma….do you understand what you are saying…Dr Mallik is already married …unki shaadi ko 6 saal ho gaye hain…."

"Yes….I understand what I am saying….meri unsey shaadi ussey bhi pehle huyi thi….he is my husband and the father of our only son, Ishaan!" she said trying to hold her tears from rolling down.

"Do you have any proof of that marriage, Dr Riddhima Sharma?"

"Yes sir…." Armaan was shocked as he knew what Riddhima was talking about…their little ceremony at the temple in Madhupur …how could she ever prove that…??

Riddhima got up and summoned an elderly gentleman to come in side. Armaan looked at him carefully, he looked familiar….was he the priest from that temple?

"Sir…yeh wo pandit hain jinhoney hamari shaadi karwayi thi….aap chahey tho poonch sakthey hain insey…"

They questioned the priest, "Aap ke mandir mein tho bahut saare log aatey hain…aap ko theek se kaise yaad hai ki in dono ki aapney shaadi karwayi thi?"

"Babuji…aapney sahi kaha…hamare mandir mein bahut premi aatey hain , koyi ghar sey bhaagkar ya koyi aise hi hamare mandir mein shaadi karwaane aatey hain…mujhey in dono ka yaad hai…maine hi inki shaadi karwayi thi aur aashirwaad diya tha…main inhey kabhi nahin bhoola kyunki aaj tak yahi aise insaan hain jo apne pita ki aakhiri nishaani, unki ghadi mujhe dakshina ke roop mein de gaye the….dekhiye Armaan sahib ka aur unkey pita kaa naam ghadi ke peeche likha hai….." he took out the watch and gave it to the directors.

The directors scrutinized the watch and returned it back to the priest- it read 

"Do you have any witness to this marriage, Dr Sharma?" they asked

"Yes, sir" Riddhima pointed at the door and everyone saw Sapna entering the board room.

"Sir, I was posted with Dr Mallik and Dr Sharma at that time and I was a witness to their marriage" Sapna was of course not present at the temple due to her father's illness but she justified the lie as she had practically seen them live like a married couple and she was would do anything to support their love! No one knew that Sapna had to leave Madhupur dur to her father's illness; as per the records of the Medical school, Sapna was still present in Madhupur at that time.

"Dr Sharma…phir aap Dr Mallik sey alag kyon ho gayi thi….phir Dr Mallik ney bhi shaadi kar lee baad mein….do you have an explanation?" the Board Director asked

"YES I DO!" Riddhima glared at Dr Gupta and told them the truth about how he had forced her to leave the SMI forever, just so his daughter could marry Armaan in exchange for a position in the Neurosurgery program. Dr Gupta was obviously flustered at the accusation; he got up to defend himself, "how can you believe a woman like that…..she is a liar and characterless person…she was thrown out of our college…."

Before he could complete his sentence, Dr Karthik Pandey and Dr Jain from the SMI came forward, "That is not true sir…we were forced to lie about Dr Sharma so that we could keep our we are revealing the truth as Dr Mallik is a very respectable and valuable member of our team and we could not see him getting destroyed by Dr Gupta's schemes again!"

Armaan was pleased to see the support from his colleagues. He nodded his head in gratitude and wiped his tears.

"After hearing everyone's point of view, the board of directors will sit down and review this case again….till then Dr Mallik may be allowed to practice surgery but under probation." The Board members all got up and left.

Shashank was red with anger…he came up to Karthik and Dr Jain, "I can't believe it….you are taking his side…you know I am the Dean!"

Karthik replied, "Dr Gupta, we are tired of your devious ways…I think we are all ready for a change…" he smiled and walked towards Armaan. Karthik and Dr Jain shook hands with Armaan , "Good luck son…..we could not remain silent anymore," and left.

A humiliated Dr Gupta stomped out of the room.

Sapna hugged Riddhima and then went up to Armaan, " Armaan maine kaha tha naa…have faith in Ridz" she squeezed his hand and then left them alone.

"You were right Sapna," Armaan smiled tearfully.

Armaan and Riddhima stood alone in the room for a while. Finally, she took a step towards him, "main jaanti hoon tum mujhsey naaraz ho…main bina bataaye phir chali gayi…par tumhey bataati tho tum mujhey akele nahin jaane dete…aur tumhara aise mauke par Institute chhod ke jaana tumhare case ke khilaaf ja sakta tha…iss liye….," she paused to wipe her tears, " aur…aur…phir mujhe panditji ko dhoondney mein thoda zyaada time lag gaya…warna tho main pehle hi wapas aa jaati…..and then I had to convince Dr Pandey and Dr Jain to speak the truth…..I …I am sorr" Armaan put his finger on her lips as she started sobbing.

"I don't need any explanation Riddhima….mujhey tum par kabhi shaq nahin karna chahiye….I know whatever you do, you have my best interest in it….main hi pagal hoon jo kabhi tumhare pyaar ko samajh nahin pata…hamesha tumhey galat samajh leta hoon…." He hugged her passionately and buried his tears in the thick of her hair.

They walked out of the boardroom, arm in arm. "Riddhima tum ghar jao…main apna saaman lene jaa raha hoon…" he kissed her and waved goodbye as she left with Sapna.

Song in background: "pyaar ki rahein hoti hai mushkil" from 'Bewafaa"

Pyaar ki raahein hoti hain mushkil
Chalte chalte milti hai manzil

Pyaar ki raahein hoti hain mushkil
Chalte chalte milti hai manzil
Dil ka kehna hai pyaar kiye jaa
Har ek pal dil se jiye jaa

Haan, maine maana ishq khuda hai
Maine maana ishq khuda hai
Sab se judaa hai, sab se judaa hai
Haan woh judaa hai, sab se judaa hai

Mera dil jis dil pe fida hai
Mera dil jis dil pe fida hai
Sab se judaa hai, sab se judaa hai
Sab se judaa hai, sab se judaa hai

… be continued….

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