Saturday, 18 November 2017

PART 50: Ehsaas

Armaan knelt down beside Riddhima and turned her to her side. He checked her breathing and pulse, and called Muskaan in a panic. Muskaan was busy with a surgery. Armaan yelled at Muskaan's nurse in panic, "Dr Muskaan se kehna main Riddhima ko lekar Sanjeevani hospital pahunch raha hoon….it is an EMERGENCY!"

Riddhima had stopped convulsing and was limp and pale now. Armaan lifted her gently in both his arms and carried her to his car. He placed her carefully in the back seat and gave her a gentle kiss on her forehead, "main tumhe kuch nahin hone doonga Jaan….just hang in there….for the sake of our child."

Riddhima stirred a little, almost as if she had felt and heard him.

Armaan rushed her to the hospital, the same hospital where he had trained as a student and surgical resident. Muskaan had called him and reassured him that she would meet him outside the OT at the hospital. "Armaan….you know how risky this condition is? An emergency c-section is the only answer."

"I know Muskaan….I have seen several women and babies die when a mother has Eclampsia, but I am sure you will not let that happen."

(Eclampsia is a serious condition of pregnancy when a woman gets very high BP with convulsions. The only treatment is an emergent delivery of the baby.)

Riddhima was wheeled into the OT as soon as she got there. The nurse came with a consent form, "is par sign kar dee jiye….aap kya lagte hai patient ke?"

Armaan was about to speak as he held the pen in his hand, "main unka p…,"

"Yeh kuch nahin hain patient ke! Main Atul Sidi hoon….Riddhima ka bhai….I will sign the consent!"

Armaan looked up and saw Tamanna and Atul standing next to him. Atul glared at Armaan and took his pen out, and signed the papers. The nurse thanked him and went back to the OT.

Armaan and Atul stared at each other, none ready to speak to each other. Armaan finally broke the silence, "Atul….Riddhima is very critical….aise mauke par hum apne differences door rakhein tho behtar hai."

"Difference aur doori ki baatein tho hum sab ne tum se hi seekhi hain Dr Malik! If you have any affection left for my sister, just leave! Riddhima ka hashr (outcome) jo bhi hoga, wo hamaari zimmedari hai! She is no longer your responsibility!" Atul said sternly

Tamanna lowered her eyes, as Armaan's eyes pleaded with her instead.

Armaan just backed off and sat down in the waiting area like an ordinary person, anxiously waiting outside for their loved one being operated upon inside the OT. This was the first time he was not the person in charge in the OT, but just an anxious worried man outside the OT. He could now appreciate what all his patients and their families went through when uncertainty looms on their head. He carried the little statue of Ganapati, which Riddhima had once placed in their first car, in his pocket these days; he took it out and offered a small prayer in his mind, something he had not done in years.

A nurse came out again and announced, "patient ko anaesthesia de diya hai…wo operation ke liye tayyar hai….aap mein se ek janaa unke saath OT mein reh sakta hai, bachche ko dekhne."

Armaan jumped up; he wanted to be the first one to hold his flesh and blood. Atul intervened, "Tamanna Riddhima ki behen hai…..she will go inside Sister!"

Tamanna glanced at an eager Armaan; she wanted to let him go instead, but Atul's protective stance prevented her from sending Armaan inside.

Armaan's heart ached, as his tears flowed uncontrollably. Atul ignored Armaan's plight and called Padma, "haan maasi….main apne driver ko bhej tha hoon…wo aapko Mumbai le aayega…..main aur Tamanna yahin hain….aap fikr mat kariye, Riddhima ko kuch nahin hoga."

Armaan went back and sat on the bench. He buried his face in his hands and tried to hide his tears, "is se badhi sazaa kya hogi mere liye? Mera bachcha, aur main khud hi usey na choo sakta hoon, na dekh sakta hoon…..mujhse kitni badhi bhool ho gayi."

A little later, Muskaan walked out and smiled at Atul, "Congratulations Atul….tum ek 4 pound ke baby boy ke maama ban gaye ho!" she said it loudly as she had noticed Armaan sitting in the waiting room behind Atul. Armaan was ecstatic; he got up and wiped his tears. He could not hold himself any more and came forward, "Muskaan, how is Riddhima?"

Muskaan smiled again and touched Armaan's arm, "she will be alright…BP abhi bhi high hai, so they will keep her in the ICU for a day or two….but she should be out of danger soon." Muskaan smiled at Atul too and walked back to the OT.

Tamanna came out, all excited, "bhaiyya…..bahut cute hai mera bhaanja! I got to hold him for a few seconds, but they had to take him to the newborn ICU, as he is premature."

Atul hugged Tamanna and said, "Maasi ke aate hi mithai baantni hai! Chalo unhey phone karke bataa doon ki wo bhi naani ban gayi hain!" Atul purposely ignored Armaan while celebrating the arrival of his nephew with Tamanna. Atul stepped away to make the call.

Armaan approached Tamanna, who was trying to avoid eye contact with him, "Tamanna….kaisa lagta hai wo? Uski aankhein kis rang ki hai? Riddhima ki tarah saanwla hai, ya meri tarah gora hai? Baal kitne hain?" he barraged her with questions.

Tamanna glanced at Armaan and said softly, "jiju…bilkul Riddhima didi ki naak aur honth hai, rang aur aankhein bikul aapke jaise hain," she stopped herself from saying anymore, when she saw Atul approaching them.

Armaan walked away, hiding from Atul's gaze, as he did not want Tamanna to get into trouble.

Armaan slipped away and walked towards the familiar ICU of the hospital. He was so familiar with each hallway and elevator of this hospital, but today every thing looked alien and intimidating to him, just like it would to a stranger in this huge hospital. He stopped by the gift shop and bought a dozen red roses. He then took the elevator to the ICU.

He let himself into the ICU with his doctor's badge.

"Hello Dr Malik! Aapko bahut dino se dekha nahin.," one of the ICU staff members asked him

"Hello Sister Molly, main yahan patient Riddhima Malik ko dekhne aaya hoon. She must have just arrived from the Gynae OT"

"Riddhima Malik? Us naam ka patient tho nahin hai sir….abhi abhi ek Riddhima Gupta aayi hain…wo tho nahin hai?" Sister Molly asked

"Riddhima Gupta?" Armaan felt as if someone had slapped him hard on his face; a slap harder and more painful than the one Riddhima had given him.

He just nodded gently, "haan…wo hi."

"Wo wahan bed # 204 par hain sir…..aap unke doctor hain?"

"Nahin, main…main….bas ek well wisher hoon….thanks sister Molly."

Armaan went to Riddhima's bedside. She was still unconscious with tubes, catheters and monitors attached to her. He had seen several patients in such conditions before, but his heart broke at seeing his lovely wife so helpless and restrained by modern medical technology.

He placed the flowers at her bedside and touched her hand. It felt warm and soft, just the way it always was. He sat down beside her and bowed his head on her hand. He whispered, "ho sake tho mujhey maaf kar dena Riddhima…..main tumhara gunahgaar hoon…..main hamesha tumhara intezaar karoonga."

Sister Molly came up behind him, "Dr Malik….yeh Mrs Malik hain?"

Armaan looked up at the nurse with moist eyes and nodded.

"Koi baat nahin , sab theek ho jaayega." The nurse said

Armaan got up to leave, "Sister…promise me you will not tell her I was here….this is my humble request."

The nurse nodded, "don't worry Doctor….we nurses only do what a doctor orders!"

Armaan thanked her and walked out of the ICU. As he walked out, he saw the signs for the 'Newborn ICU," he could not control himself and decided to sneak inside the NICU.

He scrubbed himself properly and wore a surgeon's mask and gown before he went in. He knew he did not have the right to go in, as he had no newborn patients there, but his fatherly feelings could not keep him away from his only child.

He looked for his son's incubator amongst the sea of tiny incubators with tiny babies everywhere.

He finally saw an incubator with the name, "Baby Boy Gupta" written on it. This slap was even harder than the one he got in the main ICU.

That one sign on the incubator made him realize that he had lost everything in his life. He was a rich and famous surgeon in this city, with the richest clients, a mansion, multiple cars, multiple servants, a huge bank balance, but was still the poorest man on the face of the earth.

He walked slowly towards the incubator and opened it's doors. He saw a frail little, cute baby sleeping inside with a monitor and a feeding tube attached to him. He could not believe that this was his own flesh and blood….so tiny, but so innocent and adorable. He wanted to hold his son, but he knew he could not do it in this condition. He crawled his finger gently near his son's hand. As soon as his finger touched the baby's hand, the baby reflexly grasped his finger in his tiny hands. Armaan smiled through his tears and thought, "yeh meri zindagi ka sabse badha tohfa hai…..beta ab main tera saath kabhie nahin chodoonga…..your papa will always be there for you." Armaan took out the Ganapati statue from his pocket and placed it in one corner of the incubator, "jab tak yeh tere saath hain, koi tera kuch nahin bigaad sakta."

Armaan saw the neonatal specialist approaching them. He withdrew his hand and walked away from his son's bedside.

The little touch of his son's hand had made one thing clear to him- HE COULD NOT STAY IN MUMBAI ANY LONGER, HE WOULD MOVE TO RAMGARH AND BE THERE FOR HIS SON.

This song expresses Armaan's feelings as he walks out of the NICU:

"tera mera rishta' from "awaarapan"

tera yakin kyon maine kiya nahi, tujhse raah kyon juda
mujh pe yeh zindagi karti rahi sitam, tune hi di hai panah
tera mera rishta puraana - 3

hai kya tadap hai, hai yeh kaisi saza
tu kyun mujhe aaj yaad aa gaya
bechain din mere, bechain raat hai
kya main karu kuchh bata
yeh mere paanv hi khud meri bediyaan
uss se tu mujhe chhooda
tera mera rishta purana - 4
kya mujh mein hai shaks woh keh raha
aa aab main du karz tera chuka
aankhen hai nam meri, saasein chubhan meri
zakham huwa pir haara, dil ke viraane mein
mere phasane mein, tu hi toh har dum raha
tera mera rishta purana - 4
oh tera mera rishta purana – 2

…to be continued…

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