Akanksha Rai please submit your ff,"Twist and Turns in Life" in Writer's Block

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

PART 3 : Ehsaas

Armaan was about to help Riddhima in the kitchen, when he heard Lovely's voice, 'Dr Malik…..aap ko Dr sahib bula rahe hain…."

"Oh…Ok…sorry…I can't help right now.." Armaan excused himself. Riddhima just shook her head, "Dr Malik, aap apne kaam se kaam rakhiye….zyaada taqleef karne ki zaroorat nahin hai…" she mumbled to herself

"kya bhun-bhun kar rahi hai?" Lovely asked, 'aaj Padma nahin aayi?"

"Nahin maasi….bas main khaana banaakar ghar hi ja rahi hoon….maa ki tabiyat kuch theek nahin hai…" Riddhima said

"Kya hua Padma ko? Phir blood pressure high tho nahin ho gaya?" Lovely looked concerned

"Maa ka tho aap jaante hi hain maasi….papa ke jaane ke baad wo apna dhyaan kahan deti hain?…" Riddhima said as she placed the pans on the stove.

"Tu hi zara uske saath zyaada raha kar….." Lovely patted Riddhima's back affectionately

"Maasi…..koshish tho karti hoon….ab yahan mamaji bhi tho akele hain….phir unka clinic bhi hai……yadi maa yahan apne bhai ke paas aakar reh lein tho sab problem door ho jaaye…" Riddhima sighed

"Padma nahin aayegi…..wo ghar uske pati ka hai aur wo ghar kabhie nahin chodegi…..tujhey hi dono ghar sambhaal ne honge….." Lovely sat down on a chair.

"mujhey koyi problem nahin hai….ab Dr Malik ke aane se mamaji ko meri clinic mein itni zaroorat nahin padhegi…." Riddhima said as she put the spices in the dal and sabzi.

"Main sochti hoon ki jis din teri shaadi ho jaayegi, tab Dr sahib aur Padma kya karenge?"

"Befikr rahiye maasi…..na meri shaadi ho rahi hai, aur na main kahin jaa rahi hoon…..jeena yahan marna yahan…iske siwa jaana kahan…" Riddhima started humming an old song.

"Arre Riddhima….tera gaana nahin suna itne dino se…..kya riyaaz karti hai aaj kal?" Lovely asked

"Maasi!…..Haan karti hoon!….SAPNE MEIN! Aap hi bataiye, time kahan hai mujhey?" Riddhima said angrily as she missed singing too. Her father was a classical music teacher and she had inherited his musical genes. She had no formal training but had an ear for music. She could sing any type of song in her sweet melodious voice, but lately had had no opportunity to show off her talent.

Armaan met with Dr Misra in his clinic. Dr Misra showed him around and explained him the daily routine. Attached to the clinic was a small operation theatre, where Dr Misra took care of minor surgeries.

"Sir….yadi patient ko major surgery chahiye ho tho?" Armaan was disappointed, as there was no canvas for the surgical artist in him to paint.

"Beta…tab wo ya tho paas ke government hospital mein chale jaate hain, ya phir bhagwan ko pyaare ho jaate hain….is sheher mein tho bas main hi hoon….jo mujhsey hota hai, main kar leta hoon…..baaki bhagwan par chhod deta hoon…" Dr Misra said as he sat in his chair.

Armaan was appalled and thought, "Why the hell did they send me here? Main yahan kya karoonga…..bilkul bekaar ho jaaoonga….what a waste of time!"

"Dheere dheere tumhey bhi aadat ho jaayegi yahan ki….abhi abhi Mumbai se aaye ho na….shuru shuru mein mujhey bhi bahut niraasha hoti thi, par ab 30 saal ke baad lagta hai, yadi main nahin hota tho Ramgarh ki halat aur bhi buri hoti…..My contribution is just a drop in the ocean, but somewhere I know that drop is enough to quench the thirst of at least someone!" Dr Misra said philosophically.

Armaan was not satisfied. He was very ambitious and had expected a lot more from this hands-on assignment in the small town. He shuddered at the thought of becoming like Dr Misra one day- an outdated and tired old man, who did not want to change with the times.

"Doctor sahib…Dr sahib!" a young man in his 30's walked in to the clinic

"Kya baat hai Abdul?" Dr Misra addressed the intruder.

"mere bete ko dekh lee jiye…aaj subah se bahut pait mein dard hai…..ab tho chal bhi nahin paa raha hai…"

"Theek hai le aao….yeh Dr Malik hain….wo dekh lenge tumhare bete ko….." Dr Misra got up from his chair and patted Armaan's shoulder, "he is all your's son!…..main lunch karne jaa raha hoon…"

Armaan received the 10 year old son of Abdul and examined him, "iske kuch test karne honge Abdul…jaise Xray, ultrasound, khoon ki jaanch……"

"Test? Dr sahib hamare paas kuch paise nahin hai…." Abdul got worried

"Phir humein pata kaise chalega ki tumhare bete ko kya hai?…" Armaan said angrily.

"Kaun se test karne hai Dr Malik?" Riddhima walked into the clinic

Armaan looked at Riddhima quizzically and thought, 'isko kya pata?"

"Aap bataaiye….main aapko estimate deti hoon…." Riddhima looked away and said matter-of-factly

Armaan named a battery of tests needed. Riddhima did some mental calculation, "Abdul bhai…in sab tests ke kareeb 7000.00 rupees lag jaayenge…."

"Rs. 7000?" Abdul almost had a heart attack.

"Abdul bhai, aap zara bahar intezaar kariye…..please…." Riddhima helped Abdul out into the waiting room and came back, 'Dr Malik, kya test karne zaroori hain?"

"Who are you to question me? Tumhey the medicine ka ABC bhi nahin pata hoga….you are just a…" Armaan said arrogantly

"JUST AN ENGLISH TEACHER! YES, I DON'T KNOW ABC OF MEDICINE, BUT I DO KNOW KA, KHA, GHA (HINDI ALPHABET) OF MEDICINE! Dr Malik, main yahan mamaji ke saath kayi dino se kaam kar rahi hoon, itna zaroor jaanti hoon ki yadi accha doctor ho tho usey hamesha 7000 rupees ke test karne zaroori nahin hote…..shayad aapke medical college mein sirf kitaabon par zyaada dhyaan diya gaya tha, mareejon par nahin! Main Dr Misra ko bulati hoon!" Riddhima felt offended once again by this arrogant city doctor and this time she was able to suppress her tears.

Armaan just stood there, clenching his fist and jaw. He had not come here to be lectured by a mere 21-22 year old English teacher!

"Haan….Armaan….so what do you think?" Dr Misra came back wiping his hands with a towel.

Armaan was disgusted to see that Dr Misra was still chewing on his lunch as he examined the 10-year old boy.

"Hmm….Dr Malik, this is a straight forward case of appendicitis…jao Riddhima beti Abdul se keh do yeh dawaaiyan le aaye….aur Dr Malik ke liye operation theatre tayyar kar do…..he will perform his first surgery today…." Dr Misra scribbled something on a pad and gave it to Riddhima.

Armaan felt a little humiliated, 'Sir…..how can you be sure?….kam se kam ultrasound tho karwaana chahiye…."

"Beta ultrasound Ramgarh mein nahin hota…uske liye paas ke ek sheher mein jaana padhega…tab tak is bachhe ki haalat aur kharaab ho jaayegi…." Dr Misra explained

"But you could be wrong sir!" Armaan challenged the older physician

"Sure…Dr Malik…no one is perfect…remember we are not God…we are doing our best under the circumstances" Dr Misra left the clinic to finish his lunch.

Armaan felt trapped; he had no choice but to prepare for the surgery. Lovely and Riddhima helped get the boy ready. Armaan was surprised to see that Lovely not only acted as his assistant but also as the anesthesiologist during the procedure. Armaan was pleasantly surprised to see that Dr Misra's diagnosis was right on.

Dr Misra joined them midway through the operation. Riddhima had left for her house by then.

Dr Misra was pleased to see Armaan's skill on the operation table; he gave him a appreciative nod as he joined him. Armaan's eyes smiled above his mask as if saluting the older doctor for his accurate diagnosis.

Looked like the ice between the two doctors had melted. Armaan was beginning to acknowledge that experience was as important as knowing state of the art techniques and skills. Dr Misra was reassured that his town was in good hands now…….

After the surgery, Armaan politely informed Abdul, 'tumhara beta theek ho jaayega…1-2 din mein chutti kar denge…."

Armaan was famished after the surgery. He suddenly remembered that Riddhima was nowhere to be seen. He looked around, but was disappointed as she had already left.

"Wo…wo Riddhima kahan gayi?" Armaan hesitated

"Dr Malik, Riddhima apne ghar bhi tho jaayegi.." Lovely intervened

"Oh…wo yahan nahin rehti?" Armaan sounded disappointed. He did not know why, but he was kind of missing her. He remembered how rude he had been with her in the clinic. He kicked himself for losing his temper in front of her.

"aisi kya baat hai uss ladki mein jo main usey kuch bhi bol deta hoon?….abhi tho pehla din hi hai….theek se jaanta bhi nahin…par aisa lagta hai usey barson se jaanta hoon….." He pondered with his own feelings.


Armaan woke up and came downstairs. The breakfast was laid neatly on the table. He looked around and saw no one.

He went to the kitchen and was hoping Riddhima would be there, "hmm kahan gayi? Kahin meri baaton se naaraz tho nahin ho gayi? I should apologise"

"Kisey dhoondh rahe ho Dr Malik? Wo tho subah ka nashta banaakar school bhi chali gayi….aap so rahe the shayad…" Lovely gave Armaan a teasing smile. She could see that this city doctor was showing unusual interest in Riddhima….why not? She was very beautiful, well mannered, cheerful, and most of all very good at heart!

"Oh…Lovelyji aap?" Armaan felt awkward that Lovely had caught him looking for Riddhima everywhere.

"School ki chutti 3 baje hoti hai…" Lovely dropped a hint and left.

Armaan worked in the clinic all day, but kept staring at the wall clock all day.

Finally, at 2.30 in the afternoon, he left the clinic and asked Dr Misra, "Main soch raha hoon ki thodi der bahar jaakar sheher dekh loon…"

"Haan…haan hao….chaho tho car le jao…" Dr Misra gave him the keys

"Thank you sir" Armaan stepped out and saw a Rose bush outside the house. He plucked a red rose and put it in his shirt pocket.

Armaan drove through the horrendous traffic of Ramgarh, 'kaise chalaate hain yahan log gaadi? Riddhima kitni aasaani se car chalaa leti hai yahan…..I have to admit she is an amazing woman…..ghar aur bahar dono ke kaam itni aasaani se kar leti hai…."

He finally arrived at her school at around 3.15, but was disappointed to see that everyone had left by then, "kaash yahan ki sadakein better hoti tho main time se pahunch jaata"

He did not know where she lived, so he turned around to go back to Dr Misra's house.

He was hoping to see Riddhima at home, but she was still not there.

Lovely walked out of the clinic with some papers and saw Armaan looking for Riddhima everywhere, "Hmm…..lagta hai abhi tak mulaqat nahin huyi….jao oopar tumhare kamrey mein hai…"

"M..Mere kamrey mein kya kar rahi hai?" Armaan acted surprised

"Dhobi ke kapde aaye the…tumhare room mein rakhney gayi hai…." Lovely gave him a smile and went back to the clinic.

Armaan ran upstairs as fast as he could.

There she was.

"Oh….tum tum…yahan kya kar rahi ho?" Armaan acted as if was not expecting her there.

"Sorry…..mere resume mein shayad aapke kapde rakhna nahin likha tha…" Riddhima said curtly and turned around to leave

Armaan blocked the doorway, "Main tumhare school gaya tha…"

"Dekhne ki main sach much teacher hoon ya nahin?" Riddhima asked sarcastically

"Lagta hai abhi tak naaraz ho…" Armaan took the droopy rose from his pocket, "yeh tumhare liye…lagta hai yeh rose bhi meri tarah sorry keh raha hai…"

Riddhima had a faint smile on her face as she saw the drooping flower, "mujhey aaj tak sirf mere students ne hi phool diye hain…aaj pehli baar teacher se phool mil raha hai…."

"Main teacher nahin hoon…..shayad abhi bhi student hi hoon…..," Armaan came closer  and gazed into her eyes, "aur hamesha student hi ban kar rehna chahta hoon….sirf tumhara student…."

Riddhima blushed at his comment, and ran from his room. She had never been spoken to like that before; something in his voice and eyes said that he meant what he had just said……she could still feel goosebumps on her skin as she recalled his words.

"Main jaa rahi hoon maasi," she ran as fast as she could and left for her home.

Armaan was still frozen at his doorway, "yeh mujhey kya hua achanak? Maine na jaane kya kya keh diya Riddhima ko?…..kahin wo phir se bura na maan jaaye?…but why do I care?…..why does it bother me if she is upset with me?…..aakhir wo kya kagti hai meri?"


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