Wednesday, 12 September 2018

part 24 : To Err is Human

We judge ourselves by our intentions……
           We judge others by their actions………
                                 Ian Percy


"Come in….darwaza khula hai," a tired voice answered the knock at his door. Angad was stretched on his bed, strumming his guitar after a long day in the OR.

Kripa turned the knob gently and walked in hesitantly.

"Kripa tum?" Angad's eyes lit up, "what a surprise….I have never seen you in the men's dorm…come in," he placed his guitar aside and got up from his bed. Dressed in casual jeans and a vest, his hair ruffled untidily and an evening stubble took her breath away for a moment. She gasped as his handsome profile stared lovingly at her, "aaj sooraj kahan se nikla tha? East or west?" He chuckled and encircled his arms around her slender waist.

"Angad…I…I need to talk to you," she lowered his gaze.

"Main bhi tumse bahut saari baatein karna chaahta hoon," he kissed her hand and pulled her closer, "aaj kal ghayab rehti ho…..aisa lagta hai ek saath hokar bhi hum saath nahin hain….lagta hai tumhare saath ke liye mujhey phir bimaar hona padhega."

"Angad….tum tho jaante ho surgery ki yeh rotation kitni mushkil hai….it's tiring for all of us….I miss you too," she rested her head on his chest and for a moment forgot what she was there for.

"Mmmm," he moaned with his eyes closed and rested his chin on her head, "dekho tumhare aate hi mera sir dard bhi better ho gaya."

"Sir dard?" she came out of a trance and looked up.

"Hmm," he grinned, "I have been having a lot of headaches lately….probably because all work and no play…makes Jack a dull boy."

"Are you taking anything for the headaches?" she pulled away as she cautiously probed him.

"Abhi le leta hoon," he turned around and took out a bottle from his desk drawer.

"What are you taking Angad?" she asked nervously, "show me the bottle."

"Dawa le raha hoon baba," he swallowed a pill and shut the drawer, "aise policeman ki tarah kyun shaq kar rahi ho?"

" Angad…..kya le rahe ho tum? Why can't you tell me?"

"Kripa…relax….it's just a little aspirin….why are you over reacting?"

"Angad…..tum jaante nahin ho tum kya kar rahe ho?" she was almost tearful as the conversation with Manek and Prithvi flashed through her mind.

"Kripa? What's up with you?" He was bewildered by her awkward behavior.

"Angad…..kisi ko pata nahin chalega….kal mere saath drug rehab clinic mein chalna….I have already made an appointment with them….it will be confidential…tumhare record mein bhi nahin aayega."

He was stunned, "what crap are you talking about?"

"Angad…..I promise….you will recover from this addiction….tumhari koi galti nahin hai… know how substance abuse can run in families…..aur operation ke baad shayad tumhari aadat ban gayi hai……it's still early …..we can fix this." She trembled as she spoke firmly but cautiously.

Angad pulled away and stiffened at her words, "We? We will fix this? We will fix what?"

She held his arm but he jerked her away. The softness in his eyes had vanished; his blood shot eyes were full of anger and rage, "so that's what it is all about? Fix me? Huh? Mujhey fix karna chati ho tum? Is that what you have wanted all along? Reform me? So it was never love… was always pity…..taras khaati rahi tum mujhpar….mujhey sudhaarna chaahti ho tum…..YOU WANT TO FIX ME?" He shook her vigorously and then jerked his hands away.

"Angad….tum mujhey galat samajh rahe ho…of course I love you jaan…..main tumse pyaar nahin karti tho….tho kyun yahan aati…..I really care about you and your well being….I can't see you ruin your life and our lives with drugs…please Angad."

"Drugs? Addiction? Wow…..kya ilzaam lagaaya hai mujhpar…..kisne bhare hain tumhare kaan? Or are you being a bit too presumptuous Ms Mother Teresa?"

"Angad…..don't lie to me! I have seen your signatures on Mr Kanwar's records… you know what I am talking about…don't you?" After talking to Manek, Kripa had checked the surgical ward records and found the fictitious patient 'Mr Kanwar' who had been prescribed heavy doses of narcotics. Angad's signature was all over the record.

"Mr Kanwar? Who the hell is he?"

"Jhooth bolna tho tumhari purani aadat hai…haina? How can I forget? I thought you had changed….but you are still the same Angad…..kyun jhooth bol rahe ho mujhse? Kya hospital aur pharmacy ke records jhoothe hain phir?"

"Kripa," the pain in his voice was obvious, "you can believe what you want…..baat jhooth ya sach ki nahin hai…baat sirf yakeen aur shaq ki hai…..they are like the two sides of a coin… can choose to see what side you want to see…..I want you to leave right now." He added painfully.

"Angad…..please meri baat maan lo," she placed her hand on his shoulder, "let's go to the rehab clinic tomorrow…..we can't let Dr Gupta know about this….tumhein suspend bhi kar sakte hain wo."

He looked away, "please leave Kripa…..leave me alone."

"Angad," she held his elbow but he walked away, "suna nahin tumney? Itni bhi zidd achchi nahin….PLEASE LEAVE…NOW! I SAID NOW!" Kripa was taken aback; she withdrew her hand and clenched her fist. Tearfully, she left his room, humiliated and dejected. Was it the drugs in his system which were making him react so harshly? Or he had never changed; the sweet man from Sanjeevgarh was just an illusion? Had she chosen to see only a few patterns in the kaleidoscope presented to her and ignored the rest?

Prithvi spotted a tearful Kripa walking in the hallway.

"Kripa!" He followed her, "are you alright?"

"I am fine Prithvi," she wiped her tears and paused in her steps.

"Kya Angad se milne gayi thi?" Prithvi's heart pounded nervously as he was not sure what had just transpired between them.

"Haan…." She sobbed softly.

"Kripa….mere room mein aa jao….let's talk…this is a sensitive topic….yahan hallway mein nahin." She nodded and followed him to his room.

"Please have a seat Kripa."

"Nahin Prithvi….mujhey jaana chaahiye……I will see you in the ward tomorrow," she felt awkward being alone in his room and ran as fast as she could. Her heart did not give her permission to divulge her conversation with Angad to anyone. Even though Prithvi was a good friend and had cautioned her about Angad's behavior, she did not want anyone to know about their argument. She was confident that Angad would cool down and she could 'reform' him with her love.



Angad logged on to the ward computer and searched for this 'Mr Kanwar' After Kripa had departed, he had stayed up all night- initially furious and angry but then later had calmed down to think what might have triggered this massive confusion and accusation against him.


"What? Special password? Why do I need a special password for this record?" He furiously tapped his fingers on the keyboard.

"Dr Khanna…..special password interns ko nahin milta hai," Dr Gupta's voice startled Angad.

"Sir aap?"

"Dr Khanna….I want to see you in my cabin right away."

"Yes sir," a disappointed Angad gave up on the computer and followed Dr Gupta.


Angad was surprised to see Kripa and Prithvi seated across Dr Gupta's desk. Kripa's red and swollen eyes reflected her state of affairs. Angad avoided eye contact with her. Her lack of faith in him had hurt him more than the false accusations against him.

"Interns…..we have a serious problem on the surgical ward," Dr Gupta tapped his fingers on the desk.

"Jee sir," Prithvi shuffled nervously- his plan was working like a charm so far. He kept his fingers crossed, hoping for a smooth continuum. After Kripa had left his room last night, he had called Manek, the pharmacist and had told him to tip the chief about the suspicious behavior on the surgical ward without pointing fingers at anyone so it would sound more genuine.

"We suspect someone on the surgical ward has been illegally prescribing narcotic medications to a fictitious patient by the name of Mr Kanwar…..aur kyunki aaj kal surgical ward mein saare orders tum teeno interns ke hi hote hain….we need to get to the bottom of this."

"Sir….aap jo poonchna chaahe poonch sakte hain," Prithvi sat back confidently.

Dr Gupta scanned their faces for any clues. Kripa looked too distraught and being naturally fond of her just like his daughter, he turned his gaze towards the men.

Angad and Prithvi sat quietly, expressionless.

"Dr Khanna….is record par aapke signatures sabse zyaada hain."

"Maaf kariye sir….yeh electronic signatures hain……anyone can hack them and sign on my behalf….you can ask the surgical senior resident….I have been in the OR mostly…ward par zyaada jaata nahin hoon." Angad defended himself.

"Dr Khanna! Aap jaante hain aap kya keh rahe hain?…We have one of the best IT departments in our hospital…our system is hacker proof." Dr Gupta said sternly.

"Agar hacker proof hota tho Mr Kanwar jaisa patient kaise paida hota?" Angad challenged him.

"That's easy….any one can be registered under a patient's name….that does not need a hacker!"

"So it means our system is not that smart? Agar asli patient aur nakli patient mein differentiate nahin kar sakta…tho aapka IT department itna kaabil nahin hai shayad sir!" Angad grinned sarcastically.

" Dr Khanna…..let's stick to the topic here," Dr Gupta cleared his throat and then turned towards Prithvi, "well Dr Prithvi Bose…..kya aap apni safai mein kuch kehna chaate hain?"

"Sir," Prithvi was unusually calm, "sir….I had no idea we had a patient by that name….agar pharmacist nahin batata tho mujhey pataa bhi nahin chalta."

"Dr Kripa Sharma?"

"Sir…same here….I..I had no idea about Mr Kanwar," she looked up and tried to meet Angad's gaze but he did not reciprocate, either through expressions or body language.

"Hmmm….Dr Khanna….how come you were desperately trying to log on to Mr Kanwar's record this morning?" Dr Gupta asked.

Angad was about to say something but then paused, "I was made aware about this fiasco last night."

"Who told you?" Dr Gupta asked.

Angad knew Kripa could get into trouble for cautioning Angad and not reporting the suspicious behavior to the chief first.

"Prithvi told me!" Angad lied and glanced at him through the corner of his eyes. After he had calmed down last night, Josh's parting conversation had flashed into his memory…..

Josh-Angad..keep an eye on Prithvi…..I think there is something fishy going on there.

Angad- why do you think so sir?

Josh- Gut feel keh lo

Angad- Why are you telling me sir?

Josh- Because your gut feel is second best to mine. Josh had winked at him and slapped his back before Angad boarded the bus.

Kripa- Dr Josh kya keh rahe the? She asked as Angad sat next to her on the bus

Angad- confidential! Ab sab baatein tumhein bataani zaroori hain kya? He had chuckled and placed an arm around her.

Prithvi looked too calm for a situation as perilous as this. How could a man who trembled at the sight of blood and guts, be so calm when his career and reputation were at stake? Angad knew there was something fishy about Prithvi- Josh was right!

Prithvi glared at Angad angrily.

"Dr Bose…why did you not tell us before? As an intern of Sanjeevani, your responsibility is towards the safety and well being of your patients…not your friends!" Dr Gupta was enraged.

Kripa felt guilty as Prithvi had been kind enough to warn her; he did not deserve Dr Gupta's wrath.

"Sir…..maine Angad ko bataaya tha….I wanted him to quit….and….not lose his internship," she bit her lower lip tearfully. Angad squirmed in his seat- by telling the truth Kripa had pointed fingers at him once again, this time in front of everyone. Was she saving Prithvi or saving herself from the burden of not speaking the truth- was the truth more important to her than Angad? Angad shut his eyes as her words pierced his heart like a dagger.

An exasperated Dr Gupta threw his arms in the air, "Oh god….what a group I have? Well…this is very serious…we have no choice but to conduct a urine drug test on all of you….drug test se doodh ka doodh aur paani ka paani ho jaayega!"

"Drug test?" the three of them simultaneously uttered. Prithvi was glad that his plan was right on track. He pressed a speed dial number on his mobile in his coat pocket to the lab technician he had bribed this morning- he would make sure the samples would be interchanged appropriately.

"Yes…we have no choice….as you all know…these drugs will hang around in your urine for up to 1 week… whoever tests positive….will have to suffer the consequences." Dr Gupta got up and asked them to fill out some paper work before their tests.

"Sir….this asks what other medicines we have taken? Wo bhi likhna hai?" Angad asked.

"Yes…everything needs to be filled out."

Kripa glanced at Angad's paper as he wrote down- ASPIRIN. He caught her staring at his paper. It really hurt him to know that she still did not believe him. He had mentioned that he had taken Aspirin for his headache, but she had no faith in his words. A flustered Kripa turned red on being caught staring at his paper suspiciously; she looked away and walked to the bathroom to give her sample.

After waiting impatiently for 30 minutes or so, the interns were summoned back to Dr Gupta's office.

"Ok….insaan chaahe kitna bhi jhooth bol le….medical science jhooth nahin bolti," Dr Gupta lay the three urine reports in front of the interns.




Kripa's heart sank as she saw the results staring at them. Prithvi thanked the lab tech silently and suppressed his evil grin as best as he could. Angad said nothing. Being accused of crimes he had never done was not new for him. He would add this false indictment to his long list of allegations he had faced all his life.

Angad got up angrily and glared at Dr Gupta, "sir….aap bahut badhi galti kar rahe hain….no science is perfect….just like no human is perfect…..main is report ko nahin manta."

"Dr Khanna….you are suspended until further notice… shall report to Dr Kartik immediately…..he will help you with drug rehab……and you can join back only after Dr Kartik gives you a clear bill of health and successful completion of our de addiction program!"

"Jo gunah maine kiya nahin hai….uski saza main kyun kaatoon?" Angad turned around to leave.

"Then Dr Khanna…..your career at Sanjeevani is all but over….say good bye to a career in medicine!" Dr Gupta raised his voice.

"So be it!" Angad scurried out of the room angrily.

Prithvi crossed his fingers in his lab coat pocket and prayed, "kaash yeh sach ho jaaye."

A horrified Kripa got up and followed Angad.

'Angad…please meri baat suno," she caught up with him at the end of the hallway.

"What do you want Kripa?" He turned around with a disgusted expression.

'Angad…please Angad try to understand… intention was never to hurt you…..I love you Angad……..please do what Dr Gupta is suggesting…don't ruin your career……apni zindagi barbaad mat karo."

"Kripa….barbaad tho main tabhi ho gaya tha jab tumne mujhpar shaq kiya tha…..zamaane ne tho mujhey hamesha thodna chaaha hai…..par maine kabhie haar nahin maani hai…..lekin aaj tumhare haathon poori tarah toot chukaa hoon…..aur mat thodo mujhey Kripa," he pressed the elevator button and departed as the doors came together to create a brick wall between the two lovers.

meraa saayaa mujhase rooth gayaa
ek sapna tha wo toot gaya
jo apna tha woh choot gayaa
aisi kyun mili hai sazaa
aansoo hi the …..aansoo bhi ab beh gaye …..
dhadkan kahe ruk jaau main bas ab yahi
(from Anwar)

……to be contd…….


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