Wednesday, 1 August 2018

part 3 : To Err is Human

The interns were given a tour of the various departments and services available at the SMI. Perhaps the realization that they would all be spending a good part of their lives in the hallways and rooms of the hospital over the next year, even Angad and Armaan intently listened to all the directions given by the senior doctors.

Kripa and Riddhima stayed on guard; they were aware that this faade of seriousness on Angad and Armaan's faces was probably short lived and perhaps a prelude to some big mischief baking in their minds.

"Kripa…dekho kaise shareef ban rahe hain ab," Riddhima whispered.

"Yeh sab nautanki hai Riddhima…..main aise gunde mawaali logon ko acchi tarah samajhti hoon…..sirf impression jamaa rahe hain," Kripa whispered back.

"Waise….humein kisi ko impress karne ki zaroorat nahin hai…..log humse waise hi impressed hain," Angad whispered back into Kripa's other ear. A startled Kripa looked behind and saw the smug expression on both Angad and Armaan's faces.

"Lagta hai humein miss kar rahi thi dono," Armaan leaned sideways and whispered into Angad's ears, "yeh dono bhi kuch kum nahin hain."

"Samjho jo bahar se seedha ho…wo andar se utna hi tedhaa hota hai." Angad chuckled.

"Riddhima," Kripa looked at her friend and then glared at Angad, "aur kai log bahar se tho tedhe hote hi hain….par andar se bilkul MAKKAR hote hain!"

"Makkar?" Angad raised his eyebrow angrily, "aur tum tho bilkul doodh ki dhuli ho na? Squeaky clean…huh?"

"Haan hoon…..tumse tho zyaada saaf dil rakhti hoon… insaan sirf paise ki puja karta ho….wo makkar nahin tho aur kya hai?" Kripa retorted back.

"Aur tum? Tum jaise log sirf apni puja karte ho…..apne khokle adarshon ki puja karte ho…..they mean nothing in real life…….your so called ideals are just a piece of BS!" Angad snapped back.

Angad and Kripa were face to face as if they were opponents in a boxing ring rather than getting ready to serve humanity. Their eyes were glued to each other in intense fury. As they stared at each other, for a moment they became oblivious of the crowd they had managed to attract around them- other interns, hospital ward boys, nurses, pharmacists- they all froze in their places as they watched the duel in the middle of the corridor.

Prithvi was taken aback by Kripa's ability to face the tall, well built man on their very first day at this new place. He knew he would never have the courage to argue with anyone even if he felt strongly about an issue. Prithvi hated confrontations and arguments. He wanted to pull Kripa away from Angad's wrath but could not muster the courage. He was relieved when Riddhima finally tore Kripa away from the situation.

Armaan placed an arm around Angad and pacified him, "forget it yaar…..we can resume this discussion later on."

"EXCUSE ME…..IS THERE A PROBLEM THERE?" Dr Kartik looked behind as he sensed some commotion in the back.

"No sir….let's keep going," Riddhima answered and placed her arm on Kripa's shoulder.

"Ok….let's go to the scrubbing area and lockers… all will have lockers there….that's where you can store all your books, change of clothes and your instruments," Dr Kartik led the way to another floor.

"Kripa….kyun mooh lag rahi thi uske?" Riddhima asked softly, "they are rascals….just ignore them."

"Riddhima….tum jaanti nahin ho…..greedy people like him have tarnished the image of our profession…..and also," her voice became a little heavy with emotion, "and perhaps killed so many innocent lives….I can't stand people like him."

Riddhima was a little stunned by Kripa's emotional confession. Something in the past must have shaken her petite friend's trust in people like Angad. Wonder what it could be? She felt sorry for Kripa and even though they had just met a few hours ago, felt a strange connection with her. As time went by, she would try to find out more about Kripa's past and her reason for hating money hungry doctors.

Armaan and Angad were a few feet away and missed the conversation between the women.

"Achha yeh bataa….teri family mein aur koi doctor hai kya?" Armaan tried to lighten up Angad's mood after his spar with Kripa.

Angad had a sardonic smile on his face, "doctor tho nahin….haan shayad mareez bahut honge meri family mein." He hated talking about his nonexistent family; a family he never knew nor ever saw. What he had heard from Naina aunty is all he was aware- his mother died after being repeatedly abused by his alcoholic dad when Angad was barely 2 years old. Shortly thereafter, his dad supposedly died in a police raid committed at an illegal alcohol joint.

"Achha tu bataa….teri family mein koi doctor hai?" Angad distracted Armaan's attention from himself.

The interns were back in an elevator now.

Armaan stepped in next to Angad and smiled, "meri family mein sirf doctor hi doctor hain…mareez koi nahin hai." The two men laughed aloud as the other interns chuckled.

"Arre….tumhare dad tho famous Plastic surgeon hain na?" Atul, another intern who knew Armaan's family from his school days asked.

"Yes….of course the GREAT DR ABHIMANYU MALLIK!" Armaan mocked. Dr Kartik was stunned as Abhimanyu had been his colleague in medical college. He could not believe that Abhimanyu's son was an intern now. Dr Kartik smiled and was about to talk to Armaan about his friend when Angad's words threw him off. Riddhima turned back and was startled to know that this 'Armaan the cartoonist' was the famous Dr Abhimanyu Mallik's son!

"Plastic surgeon?" Angad asked, "wow…..matlab…." he purposely stared at Kripa and Riddhima standing in a corner, who were trying their best to ignore the men. He continued loudly, "plastic surgeon matlab…..REAL ko NA-REAL banaa ne waale! Mallika Sherawat tho zaroor unki client hogi phir!" He winked as the class of interns burst out at his double meaning joke.

The women in the elevator all turned red at Angad's crude remark but the men all had a big chuckle. Dr Kartik tried his best to suppress his laughter and looked away. Dr Kartik knew that the men interns had always had fun at the expense of their female counter parts-this was as true today as was 15 years ago when he was an intern himself. The age old tradition of men teasing women would never cease at the SMI and he knew it was best to ignore it rather than make a big deal of it.

"Absolutely right Angad… ke office mein before and after images dekhni ho tho aa jaana….meaning real and na-real images!" Armaan winked back at Angad. All the men were in splits at Angad and Armaan's vulgar remarks.

Angad glanced at the indignant women once again and remarked, "hum akele kyun dekhenge Armaan…..poori interns ki class jaayegi wahan tho… would be a GREAT learning experience…….kyun KRIPA JEE aur RIDDHIMA JEE?" he bellowed mockingly.

Kripa, Riddhima and few other women interns cringed at their sense of humor. They glanced at Dr Karthik, hoping that he would shut the men up but were mortified to see Dr Karthik staring at the ceiling of the elevator with a grin on his face. The only two men who did not find any humor in the joke were Rahul and Prithvi. Kripa and Riddhima were relieved to see some decent men in the crowd.

Kripa and Riddhima were convinced that most men were disgusting - Armaan and Angad were the worst of the lot! If it were not for Rahul and Prithvi, they would have lost trust in all the men interns at the SMI.

Kripa put an arm around Riddhima and looked at Angad with a straight face to answer him, "I think we women prefer to learn the REAL way…..NA-REAL way aap jaise UN-REAL logon ko hi Mubarak ho!"

Riddhima added, "I am sure Dr Abhimanyu Mallik is a great plastic surgeon…..he would love to have you guys at his clinic…….wo aap jaise bandaron ko bhi aadmi banaa dein shayad!"   

The other women interns cheered and clapped for Kripa and Riddhima as Angad and Armaan turned red on being called 'bandars.'

"CALM DOWN EVERYONE!" Dr Karthik finally intervened. He was amused to see that the women in this group of interns were equally feisty. How he wished the women interns in his batch had had the same spirit-they were all docile, now married with children and most of them stay at home wives supporting the careers of their husbands instead. One of them was his wife- Keerthi. She had been a bright medical student and doctor but had quit shortly after getting married to him. This breed of women like Riddhima and Kripa were different-they were not only bright and confident but were not afraid to face the ruthless men in their fields.

Dr Karthik sighed and thought, "kaash meri beti bhi badhi hokar inki tarah bane….Keerthi jaisi nahin!" It is a harsh truth but men respect women who respect themselves. Dr Karthik was one of them. He had a perfect wife- bright, intelligent and dedicated but who had given up her career for her husband and child but in that process Keerthi did not realize that she was now taken for granted by her husband…..what an irony…..may be one day Dr Karthik would realize what Keerthi had done for him. May be one person amongst this group of interns would open his eyes in the future……..

They all arrived at the locker room. Dr Shubhankar's group was already there thanks to his well behaved group unlike the interns in Dr Karthik's group.

"OK interns…..these lockers are going to be your private little closets for the next one year……remember no one has access to these lockers except the person who owns it…..this is a very safe and secure area… you can leave your valuables and cherished items in here without hesitation," Dr Shubhankar declared.

Angad and Armaan gave each other a mischievous smile. Angad bent over and whispered, "jaanta hai….agar main doctor nahin bantaa tho chor ban jaata…..bandh locks kholna tho meri hobby hai." Angad rolled his tongue and glanced at Kripa as he said that. He thought, "yeh ladki bhi bandh lock ki tarah hai…..Angad bhai….pehle iski chaabhi dhoondni padhegi," and sighed to himself as he had a wicked thought. He gazed at Kripa's pretty face as she intently listened to the senior doctors. There was something very magnetic about her face he could not explain. He knew he hated her…..hated her for her righteousness……her idealism….her morality which he considered were hollow and fake but why could he not help staring at her as she stood there with her lips slightly parted listening to Dr Shubhankar and writing every word he said?

Armaan whispered back, "Angad…..phir tho pehla locker us Riddhima ki bachhi ka hi thodna hoga….you understand what I mean?"

"Sure….anytime……your enemy is my enemy buddy!" Angad replied.

"Ek baat boloon?" Armaan smiled impishly, "waise tho enemy hai….lekin badhi soni enemy hai."

"Kya kaha?" Angad's eyes popped at Armaan's remark, "don't tell me you like her?"

"Nahin yaar….like ki kaun baat kar raha hai…..lekin mann kar raha hai is ladki se khoob pangaa loon……you know what I mean?" Armaan chuckled.

"Gentlemen! Is there something funny there?" an offended Dr Shubhankar gave Angad and Armaan a sharp look.

"No sir…..we were just admiring this locker room……it's such a great facility…..this hospital is great…..we bow to the marvels of the SMI!" Armaan bent over in respect.

"Huh? Ok….well….great….I am happy you like it here," Dr Shubhankar cleared his throat and continued to talk.

Angad tried to suppress his laughter and whispered, "Armaan….what are you doing here? You should be in Bollywood….kya nautanki karta hai."

"Asli nautanki tho ab shuru hogi partner," Armaan folded his arms and gazed at Riddhima. He paid no attention to the rules and regulations being explained by Dr Shubhankar but his mind secretly weaved a plan to trap Riddhima in his game of love and flirtation!

"FINALLY…..WE WOULD LIKE TO DIVIDE THIS GROUP OF INTERNS INTO EIGHT GROUPS," Dr Karthik announced, "these eight groups will have 3 interns each…..the three of you will go through all the rotations together throughout the year……and these CANNOT BE CHANGED! Each group will have one supervisor from one of the senior doctors at the SMI. We believe in team work at the SMI. By encouraging you all to work in this group with two other interns, not only will you all learn how to work in a team….but hopefully develop lifelong friendships for the years to come…..believe it or not….Dr Shubhankar and I were in the same group 15 years ago…..and still are the best of friends," Dr Karthik placed a friendly arm around the other doctor and smiled.

"Who was the third one?" Angad asked.

"Uh…well," Dr Karthik smiled, "my wife…Dr Keerthi." Angad could not help noticing the color drain from Dr Shubhankar's face as Dr Karthik mentioned his wife's name.

"Hmm…kuch chakkar hai," Angad's astute observation told him, "love triangle?" He thought, "adhoora pyaar? Bechara Shubhankar." He thought.

"Here are the groups….I will post this sheet on the notice board here… are all welcome to check into your lockers afterwards and then free to go for the rest of the day….remember we have a welcome party this evening at the banquet hall of the hospital… we will see you all this evening….dress up in your best and in your dancing shoes as we have a tradition at the SMI to award the best dressed and the best dancing couple tonight….welcome again!" The senior doctors took leave after posting the groups on the display board.

Kripa and Riddhima rushed to the notice board. They kept their fingers crossed and hoped they would be in the same group. Armaan and Angad could care less; they were bemused by the way all the interns crammed around the notice board as if it was the result of a final exam.

Two loud shrieks interrupted the momentum of the interns.

Everyone looked around and saw Kripa and Riddhima squealing at the top of their lungs. They had a horrified expression on their faces.

Armaan and Angad were perplexed, "aisa kya hua? Koi bhoot dekh liya kya?"

"Worse!" Rahul smirked at Armaan and Angad, "poor girls…." He smiled wickedly and walked off.

Prithvi smiled shyly and thought, "bhagwan ne meri prarthna sweekar kar li."

Angad and Armaan walked to the notice board and were thrilled to see the group allocation….



"Lagta hai kismat bhi hamara saath de rahi hai," they punched each other in delight and walked off to the cafeteria.

Kripa and Riddhima were still numb from the shock. They hugged each other and said, "we need to be strong…..we will not let them ruin our spirits…..good thing Rahul and Prithvi are with us…"

…to be contd….


No comments:

Post a comment