Tuesday, 7 August 2018

part 9 : To Err is Human

Baatein Kuchh Ankahee Si, Kuchh Ansuni Si Hone Lagi
Kaabu Dil Pe Raha Na, Hasti Hamaari Khone Lagi

RECAP: "Waqt aane par kaante hi kaam aate hain…..phool dekhne mein achche lagte hain par toofan mein murjhaa jaate hain," Angad glanced at Prithvi with the corner of his eyes, "lekin kaante har toofan ko bardaasht kar lete hain Dr Kripa…..now shall we all go down for coffee?"

Kripa was rendered wordless by Angad's remark; she lowered her eyes and nodded, "let's go Prithvi."

The three of them took the elevator to the cafeteria for a well deserved coffee break.

As Angad, Kripa and Prithvi found a table for their group in the crowded cafeteria, they spotted Armaan, Riddhima and Rahul on another table across the room. There was no way they could all sit together as all seats were taken. One thing common amongst hospitals all over the world is the affinity of medical students, interns and residents for the cafeteria. Perhaps after playing 'the invincibles' in front of their patients all day, the cafeteria is a sanctuary where they feel more human and ordinary creatures of God rather than special representatives of God as they are sometimes made out to be.

"Yeh rahe garam garam pakore!" Armaan came back with two plates full of hot pakoras.

"Aww….thanks Armaan," Riddhima looked up and smiled. Rahul was busy making notes from an Oncology journal and refused to acknowledge either the pakoras or his co-intern, who had volunteered to stand in line to purchase the savory fried snacks for their mid morning snack. To his chagrin, Armaan noticed that Riddhima was equally absorbed in the journal herself. She took a pakora and leaned over towards Rahul, "Rahul…..yeh Hopkins protocol bhi use kar rahe hain kya?"

"Haan Riddhima…..they have had the best results with this protocol….Ok trick question," Rahul looked up at Riddhima and asked, "what one parameter does one need to monitor in a patient when they are treated with Adriamycin?"

"The heart!" Riddhima beamed with the correct answer.

"You are smart Riddhima!" Rahul quipped.

"Oh Rahul…you are so sweet…..no one can be as smart as you though," Riddhima smiled at him and kept munching on the pakoras.

Armaan felt left out as Rahul and Riddhima comfortably discussed their cases and reviewed journal articles on the table. Why was Riddhima paying so much attention to the 'textbook' Raoool? Armaan was missing her smile she had so generously given to him earlier in the day.

"Sweet my foot!" Armaan muttered to himself. He thought of various ways of diverting Riddhima's attention to himself. Suddenly, he saw her reach for the pakoras. On an impulse, Armaan grabbed her hand and gently removed the pakora and held it in his other hand.

Riddhima felt a sudden bolt of electricity as Armaan's hand rested on hers. She was stunned at her reaction, stunned at Armaan's bold gesture and stunned that he had taken her pakora away.

"Armaan?" she was mortified but Armaan sat with a devilish smile, "yummy…aren't they?"

"Of course," Riddhima sighed and smiled, "you can have it." She withdrew her hand gradually. Armaan winked, "I am not a pakora snatcher! This one is still yours….but I just thought of a joke….socha aap logon ke saath share kar loon."

"Joke?" Riddhima chuckled.

"We have no time for jokes," Rahul looked at his watch without looking up, "we need to get back soon."

Armaan ignored Rahul and leaned towards Riddhima, "Did you hear about the baby born in the high tech delivery room?"

Riddhima gave him a puzzled look, "what?"

"It was cordless!" Armaan laughed.

Riddhima shook her head and chuckled, "Armaan! You are too much."

"Ok….another one," Armaan pulled his chair closer, "Doctor: Nurse, how is that little boy doing, the one who swallowed ten quarters?
Nurse: No change yet!"

"Armaaaan!!!" Riddhima slapped his shoulder gently, "tum bhi na…" but could not help laughing.

Emboldened by Riddhima's laughter, Armaan persisted with his one-liners…..

"Patient: Doctor, if I give up wine and women, will I live longer?
Doctor: Not really. It will just seem longer."
"Nurse: Doctor, there is an invisible man in your waiting room.
Doctor: Tell him I can't see him now. Next."

Armaan gazed at Riddhima as she laughed aloud incessantly.

An infuriated Rahul slammed his books shut and got up, "yeh apne PJs apne chote chote patients ko sunaana…..we don't have time for these Armaan….I am outta here…..to some place more challenging!"

"Lagta hai mere jokes shayad Dr Smarty pants ko samajh nahin aaye….maybe he is not that smart after all!" Armaan laughed sarcastically as he watched Rahul disappear towards the elevators.

Riddhima was still in splits but tried to calm down as she saw Rahul leave. She picked her papers, "let's go Armaan….Rahul is right…..we need to get back." She gathered her stuff and stood up to leave.

"RIDDHIMA! TUMHARE FACE KO KYA HUA?" Armaan's eyes popped wide as he distracted her.

"KYA HUA?" she was flummoxed. Her lower jaw fell slightly as she touched her face.

"Enjoy!" he stuffed the pakora in her mouth, "this is your reward for appreciating my really cerebral humor!" he chuckled and bowed gently in front of her.

A bemused Riddhima gulped down the pakora and cleared her throat, "e..excuse me? Cerebral humor?" she could not help smiling again, "you are too much Armaan." She hung her bag on her shoulder and walked off behind Rahul. Armaan caught up with her, "waise hasnaa sehat ke liye achcha hota hai….you know laughter is the best medicine."

Armaan's little PJ session had certainly lightened up her mood. She felt an unusual sense of relaxation after laughing so heartily. She pressed the elevator button and smiled at Armaan, "I guess you have a point….but I feel Rahul was a little offended…..he really wanted to review those articles…..shayad hum logon ne usey disturb kar diya."

"Lagta hai Rahul ki bahut chinta hai tumhey?" Armaan pressed on the elevator button once again with vengeance. She could tell Armaan was not too happy as she defended Rahul.

"Well….he is a nice and hardworking guy….and very smart too….and we all have to work together….so maybe you should have let him read his articles."

As they walked into the elevator, a red faced Armaan pressed 'UP' and muttered angrily, "Dr Riddhima….shayad aap bhool rahi hain ki study karne ke liye SMI mein ek bahut badhi library bhi hai…..cafeteria shayad khaane peene ke liye aur gup shup karne ke liye hai….may be your DR RAOOOL is not that smart after all!"

Riddhima shut her eyes and thought, "yeh dono kitne different hain….kaise handle karoongi dono ko poore saal? I know Armaan is right in a way…..lekin Rahul ki baat bhi samajh aati hai mujhey….we have so much to learn…..aur abhi nahin karenge tho kab karenge?"

"Armaan….I understand what you are saying….but let's not be too hard on Rahul….we can all learn a lot from him." She smiled.

"Yes ma'am," he flashed his endearing smile, "lekin ek shart par."


"Haan….we won't talk shop in the cafeteria from now on…..I don't know about you guys…but I need my down time….agreed?" he asked.

"Tumhara tho saara time hi downtime hota hai Armaan," she chuckled and walked out of the elevator as they arrived back in the Oncology ward.

"Don't challenge me Riddhima," he followed her, "I can be serious and stuck up too…I just choose not to be."

"You? And serious?" she laughed, "you are like a kid…..Gappu ke saath video games khelne mein zyaada mast the….saara kaam tho tumhara maine kiya tha…..na jaane doctor kyun ban na chaahte ho tum?"

Riddhima's blunt words hurt Armaan's ego. He froze in his steps and lowered his gaze to the floor. He shuffled his feet anxiously, her words echoing in his mind just like his dad used to taunt him when he was growing up. He had gotten used to his dad's sarcasms over the years but Riddhima's jeer had really hurt his self-respect.

Riddhima stopped midway in the hallway as she realized Armaan was no longer walking with her. She looked behind and felt sorry for hurting his feelings. She wanted to walk back and apologize but a nurse interrupted her train of thought, "Dr Riddhima….aapne yeh order sign nahin kiya tha."

"Oh…Ok…I will do it now," she hesitated, looked at Armaan again but then continued to walk behind the nurse.

"Hey Riddhima…come check this out," Rahul signaled enthusiastically, "have you ever seen a patient with Horner's syndrome? Come let me show you….this patient has lung cancer….."

Riddhima signed the orders quickly and ran to see the exciting but unusual case.

Armaan watched them from a distance and swallowed hard, "Riddhima….kya Rahul bhi tumhein waise khushi de sakta hai jaise main de sakta hoon? Main tum se vaada karta hoon ki ek din main bahut achcha doctor bankar dikhaaonga tumhein….mujhey dekhne log door door se aayenge.…aur tumhara Dr Raoool……sirf paper likhta reh jaayega…main logon ke dil ko choone waala doctor banoonga…..aur Raool sirf journals aur articles hi choota reh jaayega!"

"Armaan!" Riddhima spotted Armaan peeking at them, "idhar aao…..come see this interesting case."

Armaan ignored her and headed towards Minnie's bed instead.

Riddhima left Rahul's side and walked towards Minnie's bed. She stopped a few beds away as she saw the doctor and patient busy in an animated discussion.

"Yeh kya ho raha hai mujhey?" Riddhima thought, "Papa hamesha kehte hain ki dimaag humien shaktishaali banaata hai aur dil kamzor…..tho phir mera dil kamzor kyun ban na chaahta hai? Kyun Armaan ki taraf khinchaa chalaa aata hai? Rahul jaisa brilliant colleague shayad hi kahin aur mile…..phir main kyun uski company ki jagah Armaan ki company pasand karne lagi hoon?"


"Let me get myself a cup of coffee," Angad got up from their table without asking what Prithvi and Kripa wanted. Kripa looked up from her seat, "I…I wouldn't mind one either…uh..uh," she caressed her neck softly, hoping for a response from Angad. Angad looked back at her and stared intently, "tumne mujhse kuch kaha? You want me to serve you ma'am?"

Kripa gave him a sharp look, "I think I can help myself Dr Angad!" She was about to get up when Prithvi patted her shoulder, "main le aata hoon coffee….line bahut lambi hai….kuch sandwiches bhi khaaogi kya?"

"Oh…thanks Prithvi….no just coffee would be fine," she glanced at Angad, "meri bhookh udh gayi hai ab!"

Angad sat back and snapped his finger, "hey Dr Prithvi Bose….ab jaa rahe ho tho mere liye bhi ek coffee….aur ek chicken sandwich le aana….aur haan coffee should be black….no sugar….no milk….I like it bitter and strong!" His last comment was obviously directed at Kripa, who just looked away and flipped through her clinic notes.

Prithvi smiled back, "it would be my pleasure Angad….main abhi aaya."

"Waise yeh phool bahut kaam ki cheez hai…haina?" Angad mocked at Prithvi once he had disappeared into the long food line.

Kripa shut her notebook and clenched her jaws, "phool apni khushboo se sab ko khushi deta hai….Prithvi tumhari tarah kaanta nahin hai jo sirf rukha sukha hi bol sakta hai….he is a nice guy….learn to treat him respectfully."

"Dr Kripa….a person who respects himself deserves to be treated respectfully…..jis din Prithvi apne aap ko respect karna seekh jaayega….us din duniya bhi uski respect karegi," Angad grinned.

"He is just fine! Just because you cannot be a gentleman like him, you can't stand him…isn't that true?"

"You really think I want to be like him?" Angad roared, "that's the funniest thing I ever heard….Kripa….you are really weird."

"Kya kaha?" she was horrified.

"Haan….tum logon ke baare mein itni jaldi opinion kaise banaa leti ho?"

"Kyun tumhare baare mein kya galat opinion banaaya hai maine? Ek chor ki tarah mere locker mein ghus gaye….and then you wonder why I am opinionated?"

"Kuch cheezon par mera bas nahin hai," he replied seriously.

"Matlab? Galat kaam karne mein tumhein zara bhi jhijhak nahin hoti?"

"NAHIN HOTI!" he replied angrily and grabbed her wrists with his hands, "kyunki tumhari nazar mein jo galat hai wo meri nazar mein nahin hai…samjhi?"

A stunned Kripa stared at him and then at his hands around her wrists, "y…you are hurting me Angad."

He let go of her wrists and then stared into her eyes, "kya tumhara sabse pyaara jhumka lautaana galat tha? Tumhare hostel aakar deta tho shayad tum mujhey bahar nikaal deti….I have some self respect…..iss liye chup chap rakh aaya tumhare locker mein."

She had no answer to his question, "Agar self respect hai tho…tho….yahan doctor ban ne kyun aaye ho? Ek businessman kyun nahi ban gaye?'

" Kya mehnat karke paisa kamaana gunaah hai? Tum soch ti ho na ki main jhootha….aur makkar kism ka aadmi hoon….lekin main sirf sach bolta hoon….yes I love money…and I love myself! And that is the truth!"

"How can one trust their life in a man like you?" She snapped.

"Just like you trusted me in the delivery room with Mrs. Bhatia….trust bhi pyaar ki tarah hota hai madam…..kab….kahan…..kyun kisi ke liye ho jaata hai….pataa nahin….bas ho jaata hai…..tho tum kuch bhi keh lo abhi…..tum sirf mujh par hi vishwaas karti ho….mujhey is baat ka yakeen hai….you can deny all you want…..but mark my words…..whenever you are in need…..you will only rely on me." He gazed into her stunned eyes as Prithvi walked back with a tray of sandwiches and coffee cups.

Kripa was speechless once again. She knew he was right. Even though, she and Angad had been at loggerheads since the beginning of their internship, there was no doubt that if there was one person who she could rely on was Angad….even though Prithvi was friendlier and a more compassionate, but when it came to nuts and bolts….it had to be Angad.

It was a strange relationship, she thought as she sipped her coffee, "Prithvi warms my heart with his friendship…..but Angad infuriates every bone and cell in my body……I want to dislike him….I want to hate him….I don't want to trust him…..lekin kya Angad sach keh raha hai…..kuch baaton par mera bas nahin hai? Kuch rishtey bas ban jaate hain…..bina chaahe…..bina koshish kiye…..aur wo sirf dil tak nahin pahunch te…..balki poore rom rom mein bas jaate hain…..kya Angad ke saath aisa hi rishta ban raha hai mera?'

…to be contd…


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