Wednesday, 15 August 2018

part 17 : To Err is Human

"Aap log Dr Angad ko dekhne aa sakte hain ab…..inhein hosh aa gaya hai," a nurse walked out of the post operative area and informed his anxious friends. Kripa, with swollen eyes and a red nose stayed back as Armaan, Prithvi and Riddhima walked in.

"Kripa…kya tum nahin aaogi?" Riddhima turned and asked.

"Tum…tum log jao….main…main…baad mein," her guilt-ridden soul was unable to face him yet.

"KRIPA!" Riddhima grabbed her wrist and pulled her in. Kripa reluctantly followed them, preferring to stay behind the two taller persons in front of her.

"Riddhima…kyun peeche padh rahi ho uske? May be she does not really want to come," Armaan was perplexed at why Riddhima was insisting Kripa to come inside. Armaan was aware that Kripa had always given Angad the cold shoulder even though he knew his friend was crazy about her. May be she really did not care to see Angad….

"Armaan…stay out of this!" Riddhima glared at him. He just shrugged his shoulder and murmured, "jaisa baap…waisi beti! Mere ideas ki tho kadar hi nahin hai in dono ko!"

"Kaise ho Angad?" Prithvi was the first one to greet his co-intern. Angad nodded silently and forced a faint smile. He was still drowsy and disoriented from the anesthesia.

"We are all very happy for you… are a brave man," Prithvi smiled and squeezed his hand.

Angad peered through half open eyes and a blurry image of Armaan, Riddhima and Kripa at the foot of his bed caught his attention. He rubbed his eyes to get a clear view. Armaan and Riddhima smiled at him but Kripa averted his gaze to hide her sullen expression.

"Lagta hai ek ladki mere theek hone par khush nahin hai," Angad moaned softly; his cynicism intact despite his narrow victory over death.

'Yaar….aisi halat mein bhi tu apni zubaan chup nahin rakh sakta?" Armaan sat next to Angad, "how are you buddy? You scared all of us!" He patted his friend's hand.

"Thank god you are fine Angad," Riddhima sat at the foot of his bed, "and please be nice to my friend….agar aaj Kripa ne…" Kripa squeezed Riddhima's shoulder, signaling her to not say anything further.

Riddhima looked up at Kripa and understood she did not want to divulge anymore. Prithvi frowned at Riddhima but was pleased to see Kripa had stopped her before Angad would find out the truth about the blood transfusion. So far, neither the senior doctors, Rahul nor Armaan knew that Kripa had donated blood to save Angad. If he had not followed them to the blood bank, even Prithvi would be in the dark as to the identity of the anonymous donor.

"Hi Guys!" Rahul strode in arrogantly, "please don't disturb my patient….I need to look at his dressing and examine him."

"Tera patient?" Armaan was offended once again, "Angad mera dost hai…..I will take care of him now……ab yahan Dr Gupta bhi nahin hain tujhey defend karne ke liye."

"Dr Gupta knows who is capable and who is not!" Rahul retorted.

Riddhima was startled by the exchange of words between the two grown up men.

"Guys relax! Yeh kaise bachchon ki tarah ladh rahe ho?" Riddhima intervened.

"Hey guys…..let's all leave the patient alone….Angad is my responsibility….I am in charge here….now if you will please leave the room…in fact you guys should call it a night….we have a busy schedule tomorrow…..our nurses will take good care of Angad," Josh entered the room and sensed the tension between Rahul and Armaan. The interns complied and walked out. Rahul and Prithvi decided to go back to their house for dinner.

"Kripa…tum bhi kuch khaa lo," Prithvi placed his hand on her shoulder, "you must be exhausted."

"Haan Prithvi…..let me go back to our room ….it's been a long day." Gently, she pulled away from his grip.

"Let's walk back together," Prithvi offered.

"Ok!" She was a little dizzy and in a way glad that Prithvi had offered to accompany her.

"Armaan…your arm," Riddhima reminded him gently as they walked out.

"Oh….yes I guess…I should get it dressed properly," he replied.

"Chalo main help kar deti hoon," she smiled and touched his arm. Armaan's anger at Rahul vanished in a puff as soon as Riddhima touched him.

"Jab itni khubsoorat doctor khud mere ghaav bharne ko tayyar hai tho patient naa kaise keh sakta hai?" he smiled and walked back with her to the emergency room.

Dr Gupta had just finished writing Angad's operative report; he walked out and was surprised to see his daughter walking towards the ER with Armaan.

"Riddhima!" he yelled from behind

"Oh…yes papa!" she froze in her steps and turned around.

"ER kyun jaa rahi ho?"

"Wo…wo papa….Armaan ko bhi chhot lagi hai….I am just going to dress his wound properly," Riddhima replied hesitantly.

"Wo tho koi componder ya nurse bhi kar sakta hai….why do you need to go?"

Armaan clenched his jaws in anger; he was sure Dr Gupta disapproved of him and was alwys finding an opportunity to humiliate him. Perhaps it was the sketch episode that had rubbed him the wrong way. Why did people say Dr Gupta was a very fair man? He wasn't-thought Armaan. Armaan had a sudden desire to sketch the ugliest portrait he had ever made- of Dr Gupta surrounded by horrendous leaches and centipedes!

"Wo…wo," Riddhima was stumped, caught between the man she loved and wanted to care for and her father, the man she worshiped and could not dare to disobey.

"Sir….yeh ghaav ek componder ke bas ki baat nahin hai," Armaan smirked, "I think I need stitches….only a doctor can do that….everyone else has gone back for dinner….so Riddhima is the only one who can help sir….unless you want to waste your precious time suturing my arm… you know sir……yeh kaam tho koi intern bhi kar sakta hai."

"Oh…ok…jao Riddhima….go ahead," Dr Gupta nodded and walked back.

"ARRMAAN!" Riddhima was appalled, 'mere papa ke saath aise kaise baat kar sakte ho?'

"Kya karta Riddhima," he stared into her eyes and said softly, 'tumhare liye main kuch bhi kar sakta hoon."

"Lekin Armaan….you need to be respectful to my father."

"I respect your father Riddhima…..but I don't want anyone coming between us," he smiled.

"Bilkul deewane ho!" she blushed.

"Koi shaq?" he came closer and gently removed the hair from her face, "I love you Riddhima….and I can do anything for you and our love….zamaane ko bhi thukraana padhe tho wo bhi karne ko tayyar hoon." He took her hand in his and kissed it passionately.

"Armaaan," she turned red and pulled away. Riddhima ran to the emergency room, her heart pounding against her chest. She was still trembling after his kiss; he knew how to render her defenseless and lose all self control.

"Yeh ladki sharmaana kab chhodegi? Hai….teri isi adaa par tho main qurbaan hoon soniye," he chuckled and ran after her. Riddhima had prepared the sterile tray in a quiet room in the ER to work on his wound. Armaan shut the door behind him and sat on the bed.

"Armaan….yeh darwaaza kyun bandh kar diya?" she asked.

"A patient is entitled to privacy Dr sahiba…..isn't it?" he smiled wickedly and peeled off his messy shirt.

"Shir….shirt kyun utaar rahe ho?" her eyes popped wide.

"Tumhein impress karne ke liye!" Armaan mocked at her, "chee chee doctor sahiba…aapke dimaag mein aise gande gande khayal kaise aa sakte hain? Aap doctor hain….patient ko aisi ashleel nazron se dekhna paap hai!" He pretended to be appalled.

Riddhima shook her head and relaxed. Armaan knew how to lighten up any situation, "sorry patient sahib….I just wanted to make sure you are not making a pass at your doctor." She chuckled.

"Arey nahin yaar….hamari aisi aukaat ki ek doctor se flirt karein?' he chuckled.

Her heart skipped a beat as soon as her gaze fell on his muscular and lean torso. She had never looked at a bare chested man from a woman's point of view. In the past, they had all been patients, but Armaan was different. She realized how handsome and attractive he was as he waited patiently for her to uncover his wound. Suddenly, she was overwhelmed with a sense of desire- a bodily experience she had never felt before. A twinge inside her felt sweeter than ever…..a sensation she had probably only experienced in the past while reading a romantic novel or watching an amorous scene in a movie.

Armaan shook her hand gently and gave her his arm, "ab meri muscles ko admire karne ki jagah….mere ghaav par dhyaan dogi doctor sahiba. Mujhey darr lag raha hai ki kahin meri doctor mujhey seduce karne ka plan tho nahin banaa rahi hai."

"Armaan…pleeeese!" She came out of her trance and cursed herself silently for getting distracted by his brawn and physique.

Soon, she was Dr Riddhima again and efficiently cleaned and took care of his wound. He did indeed need stitches which she carefully placed across the gash after numbing his arm with an injection of lidocaine (numbing medicine). Armaan kept his gaze on her lovely face as she worked on his arm.

"Kya dekha rahe ho?" she was conscious of his eyes on her.

"Yahi ki main kitna lucky hoon jo ek itni khubsoorat ladki ke kareeb hoon."

"You are a big flirt Armaan!" She chuckled, "kitni ladkiyon ko aisa bolte ho?"

"Ek time mein sirf ek ladki ko hi kehta hoon," he chided.

Riddhima was appalled, "yoooouuuu!" she glared at him, "you know there is a scalpel on the tray…..ab kisi aur ladki ke baare mein baat ki….tho zubaan kaat doongi tumhari!"

"Jealous?" he smiled, "I love that!"

"Chup chaap baithe raho! Let me finish my work…don't distract me."

"Hai….kitni berukh hai yeh doctor…..bahar se jitni naram hai…andar se utni hi kadak….aakhir ek patient ke dard ko nahin samajhti," Armaan pouted.

"Dard hua kya?" she asked as she cut the silk thread after the last suture.

"Jab dard aur dawa dono saath ho tho pata hi nahin chalta," He put his shirt back on and winced a little as the wound stretched a little.

"Kya hua?" she saw him flinch.

"Dard tho ho raha hai doctor sahiba," he whined like a little boy.

"Let me get you an aspirin," she cleaned up, removed her gloves and walked towards the medicine cabinet.

"Aspirin nahin," he followed her and grabbed her waist from behind, "ek kiss de do….sab dard theek ho jaayega."

"Armaaaaan….kya kar rahe ho?" she stiffened. He turned her around to face him and pulled her closer. The dirty tray of instruments fell down from her hands, the steel instruments clanging against the polished tiled floor.

He lifted her chin and bent down gently. His warm breaths bathed her face as he leaned closer. She shut her eyes, too overwhelmed by his proximity. They felt each other's hearts racing against their chests, their heavy breathing filling the quietness of the room. His lips brushed against hers slightly when the door to the room flew open.

"YEH KYA AWAAZ THI?" a burly nurse stepped in and noticed the instruments and tray lying on the floor.

Riddhima yanked herself away, embarrassed at being caught red handed. Fortunately, the nurse was focused on the mess on the floor. She kneeled down and cleaned up as Riddhima and Armaan tip toed out of the room as fast as they could. Hand in hand, they reached the open field between the hospital and the houses. They paused to catch their breaths.

"Arma…Armaaaan," she was still out of breath, "you will get us into trouble."

"I wouldn't mind it though….as long as we are both together," he winked at her and ran towards his room, "abhi meri dawa adhoori reh gayi hai….baad mein hisaab karoonga."

"No way!" she teased him and blushed all the way to her room.


Kripa tossed and turned in bed. Her bedside alarm clock glared 1 am. Riddhima was fast asleep on the other twin bed in their room. She was worried about Angad- he was all alone at the hospital. Even though, Dr Josh had reassured them that he would be well taken care of by the staff, she felt the urge to be with him that night, "aakhir uska koi apna hota tho uske saath hi rehta aaj raat." She got up, changed quickly into a churidaar suit, draped a shawl around her and checked herself in the bathroom mirror. Instinctively, she removed the clip from her hair and ran her fingers through her open hair. She was no longer confused; with a faint smile on her face, she picked her bag and walked out into the cool, breezy night. The moonlight guided her path towards the hospital as Angad's words echoed in her mind…..

'pehla haq mera hai….'

'lagta hai tum mere baare mein bahut sochti ho….'

'baaton se zyaada ishaare samajhti ho…..'

'yeh tho chori ki shuruat hai……kahin aisa na ho chor aap logon ki sabse keemti cheez hi chura le jaaye'

Armaan words after the locker incident echoed in her heart. He was right- Angad had stolen her most prized possession- her heart. He was not a mystery anymore; if there was anything she was sure about after her month at the SMI, it was her love for him. He had touched her both physically and spiritually like no man had ever done before. She recalled how her parents had been worried about her before she moved to Mumbai.

Suryabhan Sharma (Kripa's dad)- beta wahan mann lagaa kar padhai karna

Gayatri Sharma (Kripa's mom)- Itni door bhej rahe ho isey……suna hai Mumbai ke ladke bahut chaalaak hote hain…beti zara hoshiyaar rehna……kahin shaadi waadi ke chakkar mein mat padh jaana….

Kripa- Maa….aap fikr mat kariye….main wahan padhne aur seekhne jaa rahi hoon….shaadi karne nahin. She had chuckled and pooh poohed their concerns.

Kripa came back into present and looked up at the silvery clouds, "maa…aapne pyaar karne se tho nahin roka tha mujhey….main jaanti hoon aap dono ko bhi Angad bahut pasand aayega….thoda behkaa hua hai….akela jo hai….lekin hum sab ke pyaar se sudhar jaayega…..kabhie maine khud hi nahin socha tha ki aise aadmi ke saath bandh jaaoongi….aise meri zindagi ek ajnabee aadmi ke saath bandh jaayegi…..."

Please listen to this wonderful song to express Kripa's feelings – 'bandhne lagi' from 'naach' dhane_lagi/

Bandhne lagi yoon kisi se saath zindgi
Nahi nahi nahi nahi…..Kabhi nahi
kabhi socha na tha….

Bandhne lagi yoon kisi se saath zindgi
Nahi nahi nahi nahi…..Kabhi nahi
kabhi socha na tha…..

Do pal thokar rakhti hoon
Uski raahein takti hoon

Do pal thokar rakhta hoon
Uski raahein takta hoon

Yeh jeena ruke aur chal pade

Mil jaati hai yoon kisi ke saath zindagi…
Koi yahan magar yahan rahe kahan
Mil jaati hai….

She entered his room quietly and sat next to his bed. He was fast asleep from all the medications. A nurse entered to give him his next dose of painkiller, 'arre doctor aap?"

"Sweety?" Kripa was happy to see the friendly nurse from the blood bank.

"Raha nahin gaya aapse?" Sweety teased her.

"Wo…bas…neend nahin aa rahi thi….tho socha ek baar Dr Angad ko dekh loon," Kripa said awkwardly.

"Koi baat nahin…main kisi ko nahin bataoongi ki aap chupke chupke inke room mein aayi thi," Sweety giggled softly.

Angad stirred a little, the voices in the room disturbed his sleep, "kaun?"

"Sir main hoon….aapki dawa deni hai," Sweety replied.

"Hmmm….theek hai," he drawled and fell asleep.

"Lao…main de deti hoon….tum jao….aaj raat main yahin hoon," Kripa took the syringe from the nurse and shooed her away.

"Ok doctor," Sweety smiled and left the room.

Kripa caressed his arm gently and injected the medicine into the IV in his hand. His arm flinched slightly as the medicine stung his veins. She massaged his arm with her warm hands and squeezed his hand to comfort him. Angad surprised her by tightening the grip on her small hand in his large palm.

"K…Kripa?" he moaned. She was startled that he recognized her touch.

"Nahin….wo kyun aayegi yahan?" he muttered softly, 'sister…..aapka haath bilkul Kripa jaisa hai…..she doesn't like me sister……but…but I do….I ….I wish I could tell her how much I like her…..wo meri soorat se bhi nafrat karti hai……pata hai sister….wo mujhey bahut sataati hai…..lekin mujhey uski har baat pasand hai……bahut khubsoorat hai wo……raat bhar uski yaad mein so nahin paata…..kaash aaj wo mere paas hoti…..par wo…wo mujhey apna nahin samajhti sister……she will never come…" His voice cracked, his eyelids heavy from the influence of morphine (strong pain killer given after surgery) running down his veins.

Kripa's eyes welled up; she remained silent but did not let go of his hand. She hated herself for being so hateful towards him. Under the influence of the strong painkillers, a cool and pure stream of his inner most thoughts and desires had melted away from the glacier of his conscious mind. How she wished she could express her inner feelings so easily. Her heart ached to let out her suppressed emotions, "ab main kabhie apni baaton se tumhara dil nahin dukhaaongi Angad…..yeh nafrat nahin…sirf pyaar hai….aisa pyaar jo nafrat ki aadh mein itne din chupa raha….lekin aaj ke baad is pyaar ko chupne ki koi zaroorat nahin hai," she whispered but he was fast asleep, the morphine had taken it's full effect now.

"Main jaanti hoon Angad…..shuru se hi hum dono mein ek doosre ke liye aakarshan tha…shayad issiliye hum ek doosre se kabhie door nahin hona chaahte the….kitna ladhte the,' she smiled tearfully as she recalled all their fights and arguments. She took her seat next to his bed but held onto his hand all night. Soon, she had dozed off too, her hand still snug in his and her head on his shoulder.

She woke up with a startle as the morning rays peered through the half drawn curtains. The frown and squint on his face from the sunshine made him uncomfortable. Kripa got up to draw the curtains but he held onto her hand, "sister…." He moaned, "mujhey pyaas lagi hai."

"Can you stop calling me sister?" she finally blurted out.

"Tum?" Angad opened his eyes in disbelief; his hand still twined with hers.

"Haan main…..and I am not a SISTER…..and definitely NOT YOUR SISTER!" her feistiness was back along with his consciousness.

"Tum raat bhar mara haath pakad kar baithi thi yahan?" he asked hesitantly.

"Kya karti…..tum chhod ne ka naam hi nahin le rahe the," she pulled away at last and walked towards the window to draw the curtains.

"Main nahin chhod raha tha? Mujhey tho hosh bhi nahin tha….hosh mein tho tum hogi," he was pleasantly surprised and rubbed his fingers to feel her sensation once again.

"Bimaar aadmi ko pareshaan nahin karna chaahti thi main," she replied.

"Aaj clip phir kho gayi kya?" he smiled as her thick hair fell on her shoulders when she reached for the curtain drawstrings.

She smiled with her back to him and turned her face half way, "lagta hai hamesha ke liye kho gayi hai."

"Bechari clip…ab usey koi naya ghar dhoondna padhega," he tried to get up but winced as the wound on his abdomen tugged painfully.

"Clip ko bilkul afsos nahin hai…..tho tumhein kyun ho raha hai?" she chuckled and walked back, "lete raho Angad……dard hoga!" she ran back to him and supported his back with her arms.

He lay back on his pillow and smiled at her, "log theek kehte hain ki jo sabse zyaada dard deta hai….wo hi sab se badhi dawa bhi deta hai."

"Shayari bandh karo……ab Dr Josh aane waale honge…..zyaada bak bak mat karo…..mujhey bhi kaam par jaana hai," she adjusted his head comfortably and stroked his forehead affectionately.

They gazed into each other's eyes as her fingers brushed against his forehead. There was no pretence of hatred or revulsion in them; it was just pure love and desire for each other. They both knew at that moment that they loved each other….there was no need for words or confessions anymore…….their unspoken emotions had spoken volumes…..they were there for each other…..nothing else mattered…..not even the footsteps of the approaching doctors and nurses on their morning rounds…….

……… be contd……….


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