Sunday, 12 August 2018

part 14 : To Err is Human

 asmaani rango ho…..
                   ………………….pyaar ki boond ho
                    …………………roshni ho, dhoop ho
                   ………………….chaahto ki gunj ho….

"Welcome…welcome….kaisa raha aap logon ka safar?" Dr Josh Fernandez greeted the new interns as they stepped off the bus.

"Thanks sir," each intern greeted their new senior doctor and shook his hand.

"Meet my wife and life…..Dr Simone Fernandez," Josh placed his arm around a tall, beautiful pleasant woman in her mid 20s.

"Hello!" they all replied back.

"Let's get settled and then we will show you around our little campus," Josh led the way through a narrow graveled pathway towards a single story building a few yards away. The building had an old sign- 'SANJEEVANI COMMUNITY CENTER'

The interns walked past the building, their medical home for the next 2 weeks to a small stand alone house across a beautiful garden. Spring had certainly blessed the surroundings of the community hospital with lush greenery, flowers, tall trees, chirping birds and colorful butterflies fluttering everywhere. The faade of the old hospital building was very deceptive. No one could imagine how beautiful and serene the surroundings were if one never went past the old brick and cement structure.

"Wow Riddhima….yeh jagah tho jannat ki tarah hai," Kripa exclaimed.

"Haan Kripa…papa hamesha is jagah ki bahut tareef karte hain….the credit goes to both Dr Josh and Dr Simone….in the last 2 years since they have been here, they have worked hard to make this place attractive and habitable."

"Ok interns," Josh opened the door to the small house across the garden, "this is our little cottage….we have two spare rooms here… the two women….err…Kripa and Riddhima can stay in one….and the other room will be occupied by Dr Shashank Gupta and his wife tomorrow."

"Papa-mama aa rahe hain?" Riddhima was shocked.

"Yes…Dr Gupta loves this place….wo aur Padmaji 3-4 din ke liye aa rahe hain….I am sure they would love to see their daughter in action," Simone smiled. Riddhima was not sure that was a good idea. She was actually looking forward to having some fun with Armaan, but now she would have to be on guard. Armaan frowned at the thought too; he recalled how uptight Riddhima would get each time Dr Gupta even walked past the hallways or ward at the Sanjeevani in Mumbai.

"Aur hum log?" Rahul asked, "kya hum chhat par soyenge?" He was irritated that the women were always given preference when it came to shelter and comfort.

Josh chuckled, "hey that might not be a bad idea…ha..ha…don't worry young man…we have a separated guest house… has two rooms….Ghanshyaam!" He yelled for his servant, "zara….saare gents ko guest house dikha do."

The four men followed Ghanshyam obediently, a little disappointed that they would not be under the same roof as the women.

Armaan made sure Angad shared one room with him. There was no way he would stay with the obnoxious Raool or the shy Prithvi for two weeks. He was pleased to see that one end of the guest house faced Dr Josh's house. Armaan checked into the room with the window overlooking the doctor's home, "Hey Angad….aaja…yeh hamara kamraa hai."

"Oye….tujhey yeh room kyun milega?' Rahul protested, "why should you get to decide?" Rahul was unhappy that he did not have the first say.

"Dr saheb….doosra kamra better hai…wahan se jheel bhi dikhti hai," Ghanshyam pointed to the other door.

"Mujhey paani se darr lagta hai," Armaan pouted, "a…agar main us room mein raha tho raat bhar uloo ki tarah jagaa rahoonga!" Angad was amused at the two men fighting for a room. He knew why Armaan wanted the room facing Dr Josh's house- their window faced the bedroom window where the women were staying; the very thought of catching a glimpse of Kripa through the window sent a flutter in his heart too. Angad knew Armaan was a great swimmer and was just lying to stay away from the other room.

"Mujhey bhi paani se darr lagta hai!" Angad added. Rahul rolled his eyes, 'whatever you guys….chal Prithvi…..hum jheel waala kamraa le lete hain." A disappointed Prithvi followed Rahul to the room across the hallway. Prithvi was still upset about the coconut issue- how heartlessly Kripa had told him, "oh…sorry Prithvi….Angad ne mujhey naariyal paani de diya….main aur nahin le sakti." And now Angad was staying in the room where he could see Kripa day and night- why was he being edged out by them? Were they upset about him getting the best intern award?

As Armaan checked out the scene outside the window, Angad patted his friend's back, "hmm….tho saamne waali khidki ke chaand ko dekhne ke liye yeh room liya hai….paani se darrne ka achcha bahana lagaaya hai bachoo!"

"Mann mein tho tere bhi ladoo photo rahe hain boss!" Armaan smiled, "just imagine….aadhi raat ko…..halki halki chaandni mein…..hum dono yahan khade ho….aur wo dono us khidki se humein chup chup kar dekhein… romantic…aaahhh," he sighed.

"Don't get your hopes high…..un dono ko hamari shakal se hi nafrat hai," Angad chuckled.

"Not mine buddy!" Armaan winked, "Riddhima loves me and my face!"

"She said so?" Angad was surprised.

"Zubaan se tho nahin….aakhon se haan!" Armaan smiled and sighed again.

"You are a gonner buddy!" Angad slapped his back again, "chal…let's go back…Dr Josh is waiting for us." He smiled to himself as he recalled Kripa's stunned expression when he had blurted, "mera haq pehle hai!" Did she really hate him as much as he craved for her?

Armaan walked back to put his bag away, as Angad stood still at the window for a few minutes, still thinking about the coconut incident.

Kripa and Riddhima settled into their room, excited about their new home and hosts, "kitne achche log hain Dr Josh aur Simone," Kripa placed her bag in the closet and walked to the window. She took her hair brush out and unclipped her ponytail. She parted the drawn curtains and opened the shutters to let in some fresh air. As she jerked her head slightly to comb her thick tresses, her eyes fell on the man staring at her from the window facing their room. Angad waved at her, unable to take his eyes off her face. He had never seen her with open hair before; there was no doubt in his mind that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever met. Kripa averted his gaze and hid behind the curtain; her heart pounding against her chest. She could sense from his gaze that he was besotted and attracted to her. She drew the curtains, "let's go Riddhima….Dr Josh is waiting for us."

Kripa peered through the window one last time and was shocked to see Angad signaling her to leave her hair open.

Angad's statement, "mera haq pehle hai" was unsettling enough, now his love-struck gaze had disturbed her peace even more. "Aise kaise dekh raha tha mujhey? Kya sach much haq bantaa hai uska? Aur main apne baal baandh kar rakhoon ya khule…..usey kya haq hai mujhey bataane ka? Hey bhagwan…yeh kaisi duvidha mein daal diya hai mujhey….aakhir ek insaan mere chain ko kaise cheen sakta hai?"

The interns gathered in the lobby of the hospital for their orientation. Angad walked in with Armaan and froze in his steps on sighting Kripa with her hair left open. He smiled and took a few cautious steps towards her, "lagta hai zubaan se zyaada ishaaron se baatein samajh aati hain tumhein?"

A startled Kripa looked up and touched her hair, "wo…wo….meri hair clip raaste mein gir gayi thi."

With a smirk on his face, Angad walked ahead and joined the other interns. Kripa was upset at herself and at Angad, "yeh mujhey baar baar jhooth bolne par kyun majboor karta hai? Mujhey jhooth se kitni nafrat hai…aur is aadmi ke chakkar mein kya kya kehna padhta hai mujhey! Aaj ke baad hamesha baal baandh kar rakhoongi!" She tied her into a bun and returned his smirk back to him. Angad just smiled and scratched his head, "naadaan ladki!"

Dr Josh and Simone gave the interns a tour of their small 50 bedded community hospital.
"Even though we are a community hospital….we have a lot of facilities here…..Xrays….CT scan…..operating room…..lab……blood bank… name it…we can take care of most medical emergencies in this tiny place…..aur kuch zyaada complicated hota hai…wo hum Mumbai bhej dete hain."

Kripa was very impressed with the hospital- that would be dream place for her to work in the future. A small underserved town, two dedicated doctors….a small but well equipped facility…..yeh sach much jannat hai mere liye…..

"How does the hospital make money?" Angad had to ask that question and ruin her mood.

"Hmm…good question…well….we are a charitable hospital….most people in Sanjeevgarh are poor and cannot afford expensive treatment…..of course SMI funds us and our salaries…..the patients don't pay a penny!" Dr Josh beamed proudly.

"Tho aap logon ka guzaara sirf SMI ki salary se ho jaata hai?" Angad looked around at the modest surroundings.

"Well Dr Angad…..Simone and I love what we do….waise bhi humein zindagi mein zyaada nahin chaahiye…..we have a small home…..and we have each other," Josh hugged his wife and kissed her forehead.

Angad did not reply but thought, "abhi badhi badhi baatein karte hain…..naya naya josh hai shayad…..kuch saalon mein jab bank balance khaali hoga…tab future ki sochenge….I am sure they will quit and go back to the real world!"

Kripa was most impressed with Dr Josh and his answers. He was definitely her role model now. Dr Josh was a lucky man- he had an understanding and loving wife, a person who dreamt what he dreamt- could she ever expect to find a life partner like him? On an instinct, her gaze fell on Angad's face but suddenly remembered how different Angad was from her idol Dr Josh. She shut her eyes and shook her head, "why am I even thinking on those terms?'

"And of course ….we have our common passion….music!" Josh grinned, "Simone and I spend a lot of time composing and singing…tho waqt ka pataa hi nahin chalta."

"I remember sir…..hamare interns ki party mein bhi tho aap aaye the," Riddhima smiled at Josh.

"Of course young lady….and I still remember the dance you and Rahul performed on….muaah…you are the best!" Josh gave them a flying kiss. Rahul was pleased to get the recognition and added, "sir….I just won the best intern award in Oncology…..abhi sirf 1 mahina hua hai mujhey…..I am already at the top!"

With a squint in his eyes, Josh smiled sarcastically, "bhai aisa haal raha tho SMI ke saare medals ek aadmi ko hi mil jaayenge! Dr Rahul please spare some for your colleagues too!"

Armaan laughed aloud heartily- Josh was his man! He really looked forward to working with him. Rahul stepped back sheepishly and cleared his throat, "of course sir….jo deserve karega…wo hi jeetega!" He glanced at Armaan and Riddhima through the corner of his eyes, unhappy at Armaan's mocking laughter and Riddhima laughing along with Armaan at Rahul's expense.

"Ok…guys….now that we have seen the hospital…why don't we have lunch at our house….our beloved cook Malti bai has made a delicious lunch for us….then we will have our chronic care kid's camp," Josh announced.

"Chronic care kid's camp?' Prithvi asked.

"Yes Dr Prithvi….once a week we have a clinic for young kids with chronic conditions… diabetes, asthma, mental disorders etc etc….we will all meet in the yard….this is an open air clinic where all of you will get to interact with these cute little kids….draw their blood…..check them out….give them their shots and medications…..and also have fun with them……got it guys? Now let's disperse for a couple of hours…"

Prithvi nodded and made sure he walked out with Kripa, 'Kripa….kitne achche hain Dr Josh aur Simone…..kitna pyaar karte hain ek doosre se….so dedicated."

"Haan Prithvi….I really admire them," Kripa smiled back.

Angad overheard them and shook his head, "yeh bewkoof kahin apne aur Kripa ke khwaab tho nahin le raha? Kahin Kripa ke dimaag mein aisa faaltu idea na bhar de!"

"Kaash main bhi aisa doctor ban sakoon….aur aisi jagah kaam kar sakoon….bas ek samajhne waale saathi ki zaroorat hai," Prithvi smiled at Kripa, who returned his smile but stepped away from him, startled at his statement. That is exactly what she was thinking but Prithvi was certainly not the companion she was dreaming about.

To his delight, Angad noticed that as Kripa stepped away from Prithvi, her long hair fell on her shoulders as her bun came apart in that process.

Armaan walked behind Riddhima and gently brushed her arm with his fingers, "kya soch rahi ho?" He whispered in her ear, "abhi lunch mein kuch der hai…chalo thodi der jheel ke kinaare chalte hain."

"Armaan pleeeese," she whispered back, 'sab log kya sochenge."

"Kuch nahin sochenge…please chalo na," he insisted.

"Clinic ke baad chalenge," she elbowed him gently.


"Promise!" she smiled.

The interns were served a wonderful home cooked meal at the Fernandez's dining room. They all crammed around the wooden dining table and stuffed their plates after a long morning.

Armaan sat next to Riddhima and placed his hand on her thigh. Riddhima stiffened as soon as she felt his fingers crawl on her thigh sensually. She tried to move away but Armaan did not budge, his touch weakening her resolve. Finally, Riddhima stepped on his foot with her sharp heels to dissuade him from flirting at the dining table.

"OUCH!" Armaan jumped up as the sharp heel dug through his foot. He had purposely taken off his shoes and socks off before sitting at the table as he had planned on playing footsies with Riddhima, but instead she had bruised his foot so heartlessly!

"Kya hua Armaan?" Everyone looked at his anguished expression.

"Chipkali!" he cried, "ek chipkali kaat gayi mujhey!" He glared at Riddhima who felt sorry for hurting him.

"Oh…zara Simone ek bandaid de do Armaan ko," Josh ordered.

"Aap rehne deejiye ma'am….main de deti hoon….mera first aid box mere bag mein hi hai," Riddhima got up to leave for her room.

"I think…I will just go with her," Armaan hobbled out of his chair. Josh and Simone looked at each other and smiled at the dj vu feeling- wasn't it a few years ago that a similar thing had happened with them during their courtship days- Josh himself was quite a prankster and Simone had finally succumbed to his charm after many such pranks.

"Lagta hai chipkali ne bahut oonchi heels waali sandal pahen rakhi hongi," Josh chuckled.

"Sir…aapko bahut experience hai chipkaliyon ka," Angad washed off his food with a gulp of water and replied.

"Bhai….ghaat ghaat ka paani pee rakha hai humnein," Josh laughed as Simone stomped on his foot under the table.

"Ouch!" Josh laughed and massaged his foot, "zamaana badal gaya lekin Sanjeevgarh ki chipkaliyan nahin badli hain."

Angad, Josh and Simone laughed aloud as Kripa, Prithvi and Rahul watched them with puzzled expressions.

"Armaan tum yahan?" Riddhima was shocked to see Armaan in her bedroom, "main bandaid wahin le aati….I..I am sorry I hurt you….I did not realize I was stepping so hard."

"Koi baat nahin…..pyaar mein tho na jaane kitne dard sehne padhte hain….ek sandal kya cheez hai?" Armaan winced and sat on the bed.

"Bahut dard ho raha hai?" she asked apologetically and sat on the floor next to his feet.

"Ahhh!" Armaan pretended, "khud examine kar lo na doctor sahiba."

"Lao…apna pair mujhey do," she ordered.

He complied and placed his aching foot on her thigh. She caressed his foot with her long and frail fingers, "yahan tho koi ghaav bhi nahin hai Armaan," she was surprised.

Armaan was on cloud nine as her fingers crawled all over his foot, "kuch ghaav dikhte nahin hain doctor sahiba," he bent down and looked into her eyes. Riddhima looked up and gazed into his loving eyes, "kahin hairline fracture tho nahin ho gaya?"

"Tum aise hi mujhey chooti raho tho fracture bhi theek ho jaayega," he drawled amorously.

"ARMAAAN!! YOU!!!" She jerked away his foot, "nautanki baaz!"

"RRRIDHIMAAA!" He grabbed her wrist, "dekho tumhare choote hi sab theek ho gaya….you are a wonderful doctor…mere har marz ki dawa hai tumhare paas."

"Armaaan …pleeeese!" she blushed and hid her face on his lap, "bilkul deewane ho tum!"

"Haan hoon," he lifted her chin with his finger and gazed into her eyes, "tumhare pyaar mein bilkul diwaana ho gaya hoon…..jab akela hota hoon tho lagta hai har jagah tumhari mehfil hai…aur jab bheed mein hota hoon….tho tumhare bina apne aap ko akela mehsoos karta hoon."

"Armaan!" she hid her face in his palm and kissed it softly, "mera bhi kuch aisa hi haal hai." The gentle brush of her lips against his palms transposed him into a dreamland. He was about to grab her and return her kiss as she slipped away swiftly back to the dining room.

A mesmerized Armaan kissed his palm and tasted the feel of her lips on them, "I love you Riddhima….."

He followed her back to the dining room, in a state of hypnosis, dreaming about them as this song plays in the background… (one of my favs)

"Aisa deewana hua hai yeh dil" from "Dil maange more" (thanks w2w3x4- I hope u don't mind…u did a great job with this VM and I could not help including it here)

Tanhaiya Mehfil Bani
Tum Jo Mile Manzil Mili
Aaisa Deewana Hua Hai Yeh Dil Aapke Pyaar Main - 2

Tanhaiya Mehfil Bani
Tum Jo Mile Manzil Mili
Aaisa Deewana Hua Hai Yeh Dil Aapke Pyaar Main - 2

The interns laid out tables, chairs, ice boxes, needles, syringes, medicine boxes outdoors in preparation for the chronic care kid's clinic. Armaan helped around absent mindedly, keeping his one hand in his pocket the whole time. He could not afford to contaminate Riddhima's kiss by touching anything else……

Mohabbat Hi Mohabbat Hai
Mere Rubru
Tamanna Main, Nigahon Main
Hai Bas Tu Hi Tu
Becahainee Main Aahe Bhare
Rab Se Tujhhe Manga Kare
Aaisa Deewana Hua Hai Yeh Dil Aapke Pyaar Main - 2

Na Subaho Ki Khabar Hai Sanam
Na Sham Ka Pata
Khayalo Main Hai Chaya Hua
Tumhara Nasha
Oh Deewangi Hai Iss Kadar
Mujhko Nahi Apni Khabar
Aaisa Deewana Hua Hai Yeh Dil Aapke Pyaar Main – 2

Riddhima returned his furtive and loving glances as she helped Simone and Kripa sort out the files of the patients who were going to attend the clinic.

Angad kept an eye on Kripa. She had tied her up into a ponytail again after struggling between loose and tied up hair all afternoon. Although, she had been chatting with Prithvi or Riddhima, the confused state of her emotions had reflected in her hair dos. Angad was pleased that he had such an effect on her emotions, "iska matlab wo meri taraf khinchi aa rahi hai….lekin apne aap ko rok kar rakhi hai… jaane aisa kya karna padhega mujhey jo uske dil ki baat hamesha ke liye zubaan par aa jaaye?'

Tanhaiya Mehfil Bani
Tum Jo Mile Manzil Mili
Aaisa Deewana Hua Hai Yeh Dil Aapke Pyaar Main – 2

Soon, there was a line of young kids holding their parent's hands in the yard as the interns took their places.

…to be contd……


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