Friday, 10 August 2018

part 12 : To Err is Human

Haan tu hai….. haan tu hai
Meri baaton mein …tu hai
Meri kwaabon mein tu…. yaadon mein tu
Irradon mein tu hai
………Irradon mein tu hai……..   (song from Jannat)


The first month of their internship year was finally coming to an end. Most interns were exhausted and worn out after numerous sleepless nights, over night calls, taking care of sick patients, keeping up with the latest developments in their fields, memorizing facts and figures about their cases and above all working together with their team mates.

Armaan, Riddhima and Rahul had learnt to work together as a team with Riddhima playing the liaison between the two men. She had learnt to balance Armaan's over friendliness with Rahul's standoffish and supercilious behavior. If Armaan was chicken soup for her soul, Rahul was fodder for her intelligence and her zeal for knowledge. A cup of coffee with Armaan at the cafeteria was always balanced with a discussion about the latest article from 'Oncology News' with Rahul. She knew how to keep them both happy.

Armaan, heeding to Angad's advice, had not yet expressed his feelings for Riddhima. His rivalry with Rahul had a positive effect on his performance. Not only was he the most popular intern on the Oncology floor, thanks to his charm, wit and humor, but for the first time in his life, was enjoying being a doctor. The young cancer patients adored him and Minnie, his favorite patient, refused to get any treatments or tests without her favorite doctor at her bedside.

Dr Shashank Gupta, the Chief would surprise the interns by showing up at rounds and case presentations without any prior notice. He was most impressed with Rahul's in depth knowledge and ability to answer the toughest questions presented to the interns. Dr Gupta himself was very well read and up to date in his field. In Rahul, Dr Gupta had found an intern who could match his intellectual ability.

"Riddhima….you are doing a great job beta," Dr Gupta once mentioned to his daughter during her weekend visits at home, "par Rahul ki baat kuch aur hi hai….he is a sharp mind…very bright young fellow."

"Haan papa…," Riddhima lowered her head, a bit disappointed that her dad had not mentioned Armaan's name, "waise…waise….Armaan bhi bahut achcha doctor hai….everyone likes him a lot." She defended him.

"I am sure he is beta…..lekin main chaahta hoon ki tum Rahul ki company mein reh kar kuch seekh lo…..apne co interns se jitna seekh sakti ho, aur kisi se nahin…..Armaan se bhi dosti rakho….after all you all are in one team…..but always remember you are here to learn beta," Dr Gupta patted his little princess's head affectionately and left for work.

"Kya hua beta?" Padma entered the room, "kuch udaas lag rahi hai?"

"Wo…wo kuch nahin mom…..bas papa se baat kar rahi thi," Riddhima smiled back.

"Kuch tho chupa rahi hai mujhse?" Padma, who could read her daughter's emotions like the pages of a book knew something was bothering Riddhima. Although, Riddhima was her dad's pet and respected him more than anyone in this world, it was her mother who was closest to her emotionally.

"Wo …mom….papa bas mere team mates ke baare mein kuch advise de rahe the," she replied hesitantly.

"Jaanti hoon kya keh rahe honge….koi Rahul naam ka ladka hai shayad tumhare group mein… se kaafi impressed hain wo…..kya tu bhi us se impressed hai?" Padma asked.

"Mom…..aisi koi baat nahin hai….mere liye jaise Rahul…waise hi Armaan," Riddhima sighed as she knew where this conversation was leading to. Like all moms, Padma was worried about her daughter's future too. She had already hinted several times that internship was also a time to pick a possible life mate. Of course, marriage was not even on her mind at this point, but she was a bit upset that Rahul's name was more popular in this household than she would like.

"Ek baat yaad rakhna Riddhima…..tere papa kehte hai na ki dil humein kamzor banaata hai aur dimaag shaktishaali……magar zindagi mein ek faisla sirf dil se karna chaahiye," Padma kissed her daughter's forehead and caressed her face.

"Kaun sa mom?"

"Dil ka faisla!" Padma smiled back and left to finish some work in the kitchen. Riddhima could not help blushing at her mom's words of wisdom. She covered her face with her palms and whispered, "mom….you are the best……i will always remember that."

On the OB floor, the dynamics were a little different. Even though it had been a month since they had been working together, the lines were clearly demarcated- it was Kripa-Prithvi vs Angad!

Angad and Kripa were still at logger heads, although Angad never initiated any arguments or fights with her- it was always Kripa! He was content to just watch her from a distance and dream about her all night when he was back in his room. Kripa craved for his attention and incited a response from him on one pretext or another.

Kripa was no doubt the most popular intern on the floor thanks to being the only woman- the only one who could empathize with the women writhing in labor pains, the most organized and efficient doctor on the floor. She had come as a breeze of fresh air to the staff on the OB floor. It did not take a rocket scientist to figure out how unpopular Dr Kartik was amongst the staff on the OB floor.

Prithvi had assumed the role of Kripa's assistant in every way. By the end of the rotation, Kripa had trained him well in handling deliveries, managing women with complicated labor and most of all resuscitating newborns. Angad tried to manage his own patients in his own way, still preferring to work solo. Interestingly, Dr Kartik had developed a fondness for Angad as he reminded him of his own arrogant ways. Angad on the other hand, could not stand Dr Kartik, partly because of his cavalier nature on the wards and his attitude towards his wife and women in general. Dr Kartik insisted on having Angad as his main assistant during all surgeries- C-sections and other gynecological surgeries.

Despite Dr Kartik's callous nature on the wards, he was a brilliant surgeon in the OR. Kripa knew that Angad wanted to be an Obstetrician in future, so she made sure he got maximum time in the OR with Dr Kartik. She would rather help women in labor and take care of their newborns on the floor. Another reason, she stayed away from the OR was somewhere in her heart, she wanted Angad to succeed and become a good doctor and this was his chance to prove himself in his field of interest. Despite their outward animosity, they both respected each other's skills and never felt a sense of competition or the need to outdo each other.

Prithvi just shuffled between the two camps, still trying his best to impress everyone around him. It was quite evident that Prithvi wanted to try his hand in surgery too but the moment he held the scalpel in his hands; he would start trembling and give up. Angad sensed Prithvi's discomfort in the OR and took it upon himself to 'train Prithvi.'

By the end of the month, Angad had managed to remove the scalpel fear from Prithvi and to everyone's surprise; Angad and Prithvi had become good friends thanks to their bonding in the OR.

In a way, Kripa was pleased that Angad had helped Prithvi gain some confidence with the knife. She wanted Prithvi to become self reliant so he would not cling to her like a vine around a tree. To her chagrin, the one person she wanted to hover over her, preferred to keep his distance instead. Perhaps, that is why she would pick fights with him over trivial matters- 'Angad….tumney yeh order galat likha hai…..Angad how could you do that? Angad…..Mrs Kapoor needs someone to empathize with her…..just not another drip of medicine…..Angad… could you be so heartless? Angad…Angad…Angad….'

Angad knew why she fought with him over frivolous and minor issues but he did not mind it either. Instead of complying with her orders, he made sure they squabbled and quarreled at length. Neither party gave in, and they would literally end up in each other's face over something so trivial that by the end of the argument, they would themselves forget the issue they were fighting on! The nurses and staff had started gossiping in hush hush voices over the explosive fights between the tall, dark and handsome man and the petite, fair and beautiful lady doctor.

"Dekhna in dono ka ek din bahut hot affair hoga!" Sister Martha, a veteran on the OB ward, commented one day when Angad and Kripa were nose to nose in an argument.

"Wo kaise?" a junior and an in experienced nurse asked.

"Dekho…..kitne kareeb hain ek doosre ke…..lagta hai jaise kiss karne waale hain…..yahi pehchaan hai… ladai mein bhi itna kareeb hona chaahte hain…..soch lo andar se kya chaate hain…he he he," the nurse's burst out in laughter.

Prithvi remained a confused spectator. He was pleased that both Angad and Kripa gave him due attention and helped him learn the practical aspects of Obstetrics but he could still not figure out why they bickered so much. Despite his internal turmoil about Angad and Kripa, he was sure about one thing- HE WAS MADLY IN LOVE WITH KRIPA AND IN COMPLETE AWE OF ANGAD! He could do anything to please them both.


At the end of each month, a ceremony was held at the auditorium to honor the best interns in each department. Dr Shashank Gupta personally handpicked his favorites for the month. The honored intern was awarded a medal and certificate that they could display in the locker room for the whole month till the next group was chosen.

"As you all know…..the best intern of each group is selected by me, the Chief Medical officer of SMI…..this honor is given to the hardest working, bright and capable doctor in each rotation….I am sure this will motivate all of you to perform better in the coming months…" Dr Gupta proudly announced.

"So here are the results….

The best Oncology intern goes to…..

Riddhima and Rahul anxiously waited for the result as Armaan stared at Riddhima who looked beautiful in her yellow churidaar suit without her lab coat across the room.

………………………………………………to Dr Rahul Arora!

There was applause in the auditorium as a beaming Rahul jumped up to receive his award. Riddhima was disappointed, not because she was not honored and Rahul was, but because Armaan was ignored by her dad. How she wanted her dad to recognize Armaan for his work, or did she really want Armaan to be accepted by her dad for her sake? Was an endorsement by her dad so important to her? Could she not like a person independent of her dad's likes and dislikes?

She sat back, dejected at Armaan's rejection. She shot a glance at Armaan from across the room and was initially stunned but then chuckled as Armaan smiled and winked at her. He always knew how to cheer her up. It was evident that he did not care about the award or the honor; he was more interested in watching Riddhima and her expressions. That endearing quality in him gave Armaan a special place in her heart. She was not sure whether it was love but knew no one else could take his place in her heart.

Armaan was pleased to see that Riddhima was disappointed at Rahul's recognition- that in itself was the reward for Armaan-an endorsement that she did not care for Rahul and her smile emboldened his resolve to confess his love for her as soon as possible.

Dr Gupta announced the other awards and finally…..

The award for the best OB intern goes to……..

Prithvi crossed his fingers. He knew he would never get the award- he was not good enough but he really wanted Kripa to win the award. Even though, Angad had helped him during the surgeries, he wanted Kripa to be recognized over Angad. May be there was an inner desire to see Angad defeated as he was still not convinced that Kripa hated Angad. He did perceive Angad as a possible threat in some ways and Kripa was the only one who could outshine him. Angad and Kripa sat quietly, Kripa biting her nails nervously and Angad staring at her beautiful long neck as she stared at the ceiling.

Ironically, Kripa wanted Angad to win the award just as he wanted her to win the honor. She knew OB was his dream career and he had excelled in the OR during the rotation- he deserved the honor more than her or Prithvi. Similarly, Angad wanted Kripa to win- she was after all the most hard working and smartest out of the three of them.

…………………………………………………to Dr Prithvi Bose!

There was a pin drop silence as the interns were shocked at the announcement- Prithvi Bose? The man who trembled at the sight of blood and a scalpel?

"Well Dr Bose has demonstrated that being a team player is the most important quality amongst the interns…..unfortunately his team mates ruined their reputation by their constant arguments and fights on the OB ward," Dr Gupta gave a stern look at the stunned faces of Kripa and Angad. Kripa and Angad glanced at each other- Dr Gupta was wrong! Even though, they fought like cats and dogs, when it came down to work, they always worked together as a team; Mrs Bhatia's case was a prime example of their camaraderie. Dr Gupta was basing his decision on his observation alone. One day when he had popped into the ward, he had caught Angad and Kripa in a heated discussion about a trivial matter. He had noticed that Prithvi was the only one at the patient's bedside at that moment. Dr Gupta's keen eye had also noticed that Angad preferred to work alone most of the time. Even though, Dr Kartik had praised Angad's skill in the OR and Kripa's on the OB floor, Shashank had been adamant as he could not stand doctors who were not team players.

Perhaps the one reason, Rahul and Prithvi were chosen by Dr Gupta would never be known to anyone else but him- Dr Gupta knew who needed the praise and who didn't. He was aware that although Rahul was a bright young man, the only way he would thrive would be by being rewarded and recognized in public. Prithvi lacked confidence and by rewarding him, he was trying to boost his confidence. This was Dr Gupta's way of encouraging the interns to excel in their work. He had no doubts about the caliber of the other interns but some just needed a bigger pat on the back than others.

Kripa, who had never hesitated to speak against injustice, got up from her seat and came forward, "Dr Gupta…I have serious objections to your decision….not that Dr Bose does not deserve the award….but Dr Angad Khanna in my opinion deserves it more as he is more capable than both myself and Dr Bose!"

"Dr Kripa Sharma…..I am sure Dr Khanna will get his due recognition one day when he has learnt to be a team player….you may now take your seat Dr Sharma!" Dr Gupta was not used to having his decision challenged but was pleased to see an intern speak up and demand a fair decision. With time, she would understand his decision.

Angad could not believe his ears. As far as he was concerned, he had won the highest honor- to be honored by Kripa…..even though she had called him names in the past, but her willingness to step forward in his defense had washed all those hurtful statements she had ever made against him. He wanted to walk up to her and hug her at that very moment. He saw her walk back to her seat. Their eyes met as he nodded gently in appreciation of her statement. With a faint smile, she nodded back, acknowledging his gratitude. The bond that they had formed during Mrs. Bhatia's delivery and on the rainy night had just strengthened with the unspoken words exchanged between the two of them….

Koi Aarzoo geet ga to rahi hai
Magar dheere dheere…….

                                      Meri zindagi mein tu aa to rahi hai
                                      Magar dheere dheere ……..         &n bsp;   (from Shaurya)

Prithvi was pleasantly surprised to receive the honor but disillusioned and disheartened by Kripa's statement. He was convinced that even though Kripa said otherwise, she liked Angad more than him. What he did not appreciate was that she was a fair-minded person and if needed, could defend Prithvi with equal fervor.

The interns walked out of the auditorium after the ceremony. Kripa and Riddhima whispered their dissatisfaction at the results but walked out silently. Armaan and Angad were both in seventh heaven as being recognized by their lady loves was their biggest achievement of the past one month, Dr Gupta's choices be damned!

They followed Riddhima and Kripa back to the locker room, humming and singing a new song to themselves…….

Zara si dil mein de jagah tu
Zara sa apna le bana
Zara sa khwaabon mein saja tu
Zara sa yaadon mein basa
                                     Mein chaahun tujhko
                                     Meri jaan bepanah
                                     Fida hoon tujhpe
                                     Meri jaan bepanah (from Jannat)


After the month long rotation, all the interns looked forward to the favorite rotation of the year- the two weeks at SANJEEVANI MEDICAL CAMP! The camp had been a popular rotation amongst all interns in the past and this batch looked forward to it with equal enthusiasm.

The camp was held in a small town, 100 km from Mumbai called SANJEEVGARH! It was a small town with a community hospital run by the SMI and it's doctors. Josh and his wife, Simone, alums of the SMI ran the place with the help of a handful nurses, compounders, interns and residents. At one time, two groups of interns were posted at the center. It so happened, that Riddhima and Kripa's group were both assigned to the camp at the same time.

Riddhima and Kripa were excited about being together at last. They decided to pack their belongings in Riddhima's room.

"Kripa….maine suna hai is camp mein bahut masti hoti hai…..wo Dr Josh yaad hai? Hamari interns ki party mein DJ the na….wo aur unki wife is camp ko chalaate hain."

"Sach? He seems like a nice man…..I remember part time DR and full time DJ," Kripa chuckled as they packed their bags.

"Imagine we will all be together for 2 weeks…..I am so excited," Riddhima was lost in Armaan's thoughts.

"*cough*cough*…..excuse me meri jaan…..yeh WE kaun hain? Kahin Armaan ki baat tho nahin kar rahi?" Kripa teased her.

"Oh come on Kripa….we are just friends," Riddhima defended herself.

"Chalo dushmani se dosti tak tho pahunch gaye ho tum dono….aage aage dekhte hain kya hota hai," Kripa sighed and held her heart with her palms.

"Kripa ki bachchi! Apni baat kyun nahin karti? Angad ko kaise defend kar rahi thi aaj auditorium mein……aur us din baarish mein? Bheega badan jalne lagaa……," Riddhima chuckled, "Tu bhi koi doodh ki dhuli nahin hai," and slapped her friend's back playfully.

"Yeah right! I was just defending the DR Angad Khanna….not the MAN Angad Khanna!" Kripa retorted, "jahan tak mera sawaal hai…I will just enjoy the blossoming romance between my best friend and her artist."

"My artist?" Riddhima was puzzled. Kripa smiled and held Riddhima's sketch in both hands, "yeh kya hai Ms Chupi rustam? Chup chup ke wo tumhari tasveer banaata hai….aur tum kehti ho we are just friends?"

"Krrrripaaa!" Riddhima blushed and snatched her portrait, "Ok baba….he is kinda cute," she paused and then ran away into the hallway, "actually….cute…handsome….adorable…..funny….and…and….."

"Samajh gayi Riddhima," Kripa laughed and ran after her friend, "…and you are falling for him…haina?"

Riddhima covered her face with her elbow and nodded shyly, "kisi ko bataana nahin Kripa."

"Nahin batoongi promise….lekin pehle Armaan ke dil ki baat ko jaan na bhi bahut zaroori hai…yeh kaam tu mujh par chhod de…..let me make sure he is also serious about you….you know his reputation…..I will not let him play with your emotions….OK?" Kripa hugged Riddhima and kissed her forehead, "meri saheli pyaar ke rang mein kitni sunder lag rahi hai….it's a wonderful feeling…isn't it?" Kripa ran away to her room. She bit her lip as she realized what she had just said.

Riddhima looked up and reflected on what Kripa had just said, "it's a wonderful feeling…..that's right Kripa…..lekin tumhein kaise pataa?" Riddhima snapped her finger and smiled, "Ms chupi rustam…tho tum bhi is feeling ki shikaar ho chuki ho!"


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