Monday, 17 September 2018

part 29 : To Err is Human

She was nowhere. After having missed the elevator, he ran down the stairs, hoping to see her in the crowded hospital lobby. His eyes wandered everywhere but she was nowhere. Exasperated, he took a deep breath and looked up at the ceiling, "kahan gayi hogi?"


With her vision get fuzzier with the downpour from her eyes, she packed last of her clothes and books into her bags.

"Shayad meri kismet mein hi nahin hai yahan rehna….kitne sapne lekar aayi thi yahan….lekin mila sirf ek farebi dost…..ek toota dil….aur ab apne naam par itna badha daag jiske liye main apne aap ko kabhie maaf nahin kar sakti….a careless mistake by a doctor cost my sister her life…..and I was about to do the same today….my carelessness could have cost a patient his life…I don't deserve to be here….I don't deserve to be a doctor….I have no right to be here after today." She secured the locks on her bags and headed for the door.

"TUM?" She was shocked to see Angad at the door with two grocery bags in his hands and one hanging from his teeth.

"Mmmmmm" He mumbled and signaled her to help him with the bag. Still confused, she hesitantly took the bag from his mouth.

"Can I come in?" he asked.

"Nahin!" She placed his bag on the floor and picked her packed bags, "I need to go."

"Kahan jaa rahi ho?" he stared at her luggage.

There was no answer.

"Ok…nahin bataana hai tho mat batao….lekin yeh khaana thanda ho raha hai….yeh khaa lete hain….phir tum jahan jaana hai chali jaana….even I need to head back to the OR."

"Kyun aaye ho yahan?" an irate Kripa glared at him with her swollen, red eyes.

"Tumhare saath khaana khaane," he gave her a matter-of-fact look.

" Main tho sirf ghaav dena jaanti hoon na….mere saath khaana kyun khaana chaahoge?'she asked sarcastically.

"You have a point," he said seriously, "but now that I am here….with all this Chinese and Italian food…..why don't we eat….waise bhi tumhari soorat dekhkar lagta hai ki kisi malnutrition ke clinic ki poster girl ho."

"I can take care of myself….please leave Angad….I don't need any sympathy."

"Let's talk inside…..yahan hallway mein saare hostel ki ladkiyan taak jhaank kar rahi hain." He forced his way in and shut the door behind them. He laid the food on her desk and poured the chow mein noodles and lasagna on two different paper plates, "Chinese or Italian? Jaanti ho tumhein itne dino se jaanta hoon, lekin shayad tumhein poori tarah jaan nahin paaya….I really don't know what kind of food you like….that's why I picked so much food."


"Galat!" He un wrapped a plastic fork, stuck it into the noodles and handed the plate to her, "you are not capable of taking care of yourself!"


"Agar tum sirf apne baare mein sochti na Kripa….tho kabhie meri jaan bachaane ke liye apna khoon nahin bahaati……aur ab meri wajah se apna khoon bhi nahin jalaati," he placed the plate back on the desk as she refused to accept it and held her hands, "Kripa," he added softly, "tumhein shayad apne khoon ki itni kadar nahin hai…..lekin mujhey," he kissed her wrists tenderly and gazed into her eyes, "lekin mujhey hai….aur main nahin chaahta ki tum apne aap ko meri wajah se aise ghut ghut kar maarti raho…..agar tumhein kuch ho gaya….tho mera kya hoga?" He pulled her closer and kissed her fingers.

"I don't need any sympathy….tumehin sirf taras aa raha hai mujh par…..galti meri thi…..the senior resident was right….I don't deserve to be here…please let me go," her voice choked as the tears burnt her cheeks.

"Jaanti ho Kripa…..maine aaj tak shayad kisi doosre ki galti kabhie maaf nahin ki ho…..lekin apni galtiyan hamesha maaf karta aaya hoon…..kyunki main jaanta hoon main sirf ek insaan hoon…..aur jab tak galti nahin karoonga…..aage nahin badh sakoonga….Kripa…..remember all those times when you saved so many lives….aakhir tum bhi insaan ho…..kya tum se ek galti nahin ho sakti? Aakhir hum bhagwan nahin hain… was just an error….just a lapse of judgment……everyone is entitled to it…..why can't you forgive yourself?" He wiped her tears.

She shook her head and buried her face in her hands, "No….I don't deserve to be a doctor….I almost killed a man because of my error."

"What about all those other people you will save because of what you have learnt from this mistake? Socho Kripa…..aaj agar haar maankar tum yahan se chali gayi tho un sab logon ka kya hoga jinhein tum bachaa sakti thi? Agar duniya mein koi galti nahin karta….tho shayad koi kuch seekhta bhi nahin…. Kripa don't be harsh on yourself….not only is Sanjeevani going to lose a good doctor…..but I will lose the love of my life….my inspiration to live ……please don't leave….this place needs you…..and I need you," he bent down and parted her hands from her face. Then he kissed her lips gently, "can we eat now?"

She nodded and smiled through her tears, "agar tum doosron ko maaf nahin karte tho mujhey maaf kyun kar rahe ho?"

He hugged her and buried his face in her hair, "kyunki tum mujh se alag thode hi ho ab."

Kripa sobbed incessantly on his chest as the two embraced each other's warmth.

"I am sorry Angad….I should have trusted you," she mumbled on his chest as her tears soaked through his shirt.

"I am sorry too Kripa……I was too judgmental and presumptuous…..I assumed you were just trying to change me…..kabhie tumhein samjhne ki koshish nahin ki……after all you had no reason to not believe Prithvi…I always knew there was nothing between you and Prithvi…..but deep down there was always insecurity that I might lose you one day ….life has never been kind to me…..I have always lost the people I have loved…..having you in my life was too good to be true…..perhaps that is why I overreacted when you doubted me."

"Ab main tumpar kabhie shaq nahin karoongi," she continued to sob, "I have learnt my lesson….I trusted the wrong person."

"Italian or Chinese?" he squeezed her in his arms and chuckled.

"Chinese," she chuckled back and pulled away, "kya main sach much malnourished lagti hoon?"

He shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyebrows, "thodi thodi.....aur aaj ke baad tumney kisi bhi wajah se khaana bandh kiya na…..mujh se bura koi nahin hoga."

"Kya kar loge tum?" She challenged him.

"Phir diwali tak intezaar nahin karoonga," he grabbed her waist and pulled her into his arms again, "zabardasti shaadi karke tumpar 24/7 nazar rakhoonga….samjhi?" and kissed her nose.

They sat down with their plates on her bed and ate like they had been starving for days. Food, even though a cheap take-out, had never been so flavorful. Kripa forgave herself for her error in the ward and pledged that she would never let her emotions muddle with her work. Even if she was upset because of Angad, she had no right to let her grief jeopardize someone's life- Angad was right-she had learnt some lessons for life. One, always trust your loved ones and second, never let your personal life interfere with your professional life.

Angad had learnt a lesson too- love and forgiveness go hand in hand-we can't have one without the other. He felt as if a weight had been lifted off his chest. At that moment he realized, what a smile on her face meant to him. It was worth forgetting every mistake and error she could have ever made. He had learnt to forgive and forget……something he had never done in the past.



Riddhima was home for the weekend with her unwashed linen and a shopping list for her dorm room. As she emptied the bag full of dirty clothes on her bed, Padma walked in.

Padma's astute eyes spotted the beautiful bracelet on her daughter's wrist.

"Riddhima….yeh kadha kiska hai?"

A startled Riddhima froze as the color drained from her face. She cursed herself for not removing the kadha before she came home. She had planned to leave it in her locker till she was ready to tell her parents.

"Wo…wo mama….Kripa ke saath shopping gayi thi kuch din pehle," Riddhima lied and looked away from her mom.

Padma touched the bracelet with her fingers and pondered, "yeh tho bahut mehnga hai Riddhima….aur purana bhi….tumhare paas itne paise kahan se aaye?"

"Wo mama….ek antique store se mila tha….sale par."

"Hmm," Padma folded her arms, "Riddhima…main tumhari maa hoon….aur tumhein achchi tarah jaanti hoon… tho tumhein jewelry ka shauk hai…..aur na hi antiques ka…..batao kisne diya hai yeh?"

"Wo mama," Riddhima lowered her eyes apologetically, "wo…actually….Ar…Armaan ne diya hai."

"Armaan? Dr Armaan? Tumhare saath intern jo hai?"

"Jee," she nodded.

"Maine suna hai wo kaafi flirt type ka ladka hai….tho kya sab ladkiyon ko kadha baant tha phirta hai?" Padma teased her purposely.

"NAHIN MAMA!" Riddhima protested, "wo ab aisa nahin hai!"

Padma smiled and lifted Riddhima's chin, "tho kaisa hai? Kya sirf ek khaas ladki ko yeh kadha deta hai?"

Riddhima blushed profusely and buried her face in her mom's shoulder, "mama….main aapko bataane hi waali thi."

"Main tho Sanjeevgarh mein hi samajh gayi thi ki tum dono mein kuch chakkar hai," Padma stroked her daughter's back, "achcha ladka hai…..aur mujhey khushi hai ki tumhein bhi pasanad hai."

"Thanks mama." Riddhima was in seventh heaven, "you are the best mama."

"Wo tho main hoon," Padma chuckled. Riddhima pulled away and asked, 'mama….aap papa se baat karengi?"

"Kyun tumhein sharam aati hai?" Padma teased her.

"Nahin…wo…aisa hai ki papa Armaan ke against kuch biased hain….I don't know why."

"Theek hai…..main baat karoongi….aur ab is kadhe ko locker mein rakh de…..itni mehngi cheez hospital mein kho na jaaye."

"Nahin mama…..Armaan chaahta hai ki main uske saamne hamesha pehen kar rakhoon," she replied bashfully.

"Oh ho!" Padma teased her, "shaadi se pehle hi itni pati bhakt ho…tho aage kya hoga?"

"Mama!" she hid her face in her palms, "aap bhi tho papa ki har baat maanti ho."

"So tho hai….lekin tumhare papa ka gussa dekha hai? I hope Armaan is not like that," Padma chuckled.

"Nahin mama…..he is not…..wo hamesha mujhey khush dekhna chaahta hai….he is always making me laugh…..main jab bhi pareshaan hoti hoon….wo mujhey hansaa deta hai."

"Phir tho jaldi hi tumhare papa se baat karni hogi," Padma smiled and caressed Riddhima's hair, "kya naam hai uske parents ka?"

"Drs Abhimanyu and Gauri Mallik."

"Abhimanyu Mallik?" Padma turned pale as soon as she heard the name.



"Aaj bahut soni lag rahi ho….kya baat hai?" Armaan teased Riddhima as they got ready for the morning.

"Kyun roz nahin lagti kya?"

"Bilkul nahin!" He teased her.

"KYA KAHA?" her eyes popped wide at his comment.

"Soni nahin….roz tho bahut pyaari aur khubsoorat lagti ho," he came closer and whispered into her ear.

She blushed and nudged him with her elbow, "tho kya farak hai?"

"Arre tum Punjabi nahin ho na….samjhogi nahin…soni aur khubsoorat mein thoda farak hota hai."

"Kya farak hota hai?" she frowned.

"Jab tum Mrs Mallik ban jaaogi na….tab samjha doonga," he winked at her.

"Mama ko hamare baare mein pata chal gaya hai Armaan," she said shyly.

"WHAT?" he pretended to be shocked, "She knows we are planning to elope?"

"ARMAAAN!" she hit him playfully, "kabhie tho serious ho jaaya karo."

"I am serious Riddhima," he made a sad face, "kitne afsos ki baat hai ki mere hone waali biwi mujhey seriously nahin leti…..tumhara yeh haal hai tho sasurjee kaise serious lenge?"

"Mama will talk to papa……and then they will talk to your parents."

"Really?" Armaan was pleasantly surprised, "you think your mom will be able to convince Dr Hitler?"

"ARMAAAAAN!" She glared at him, "don't you dare talk about my father like that."

He pulled her into his arms and whispered, "I am serious Riddhima….I don't know why but I have a feeling your father will not approve of this match."

"Why do you feel that way?"

"Just a gut feeling." He shrugged his shoulders.

"Tum mere papa ko samajhte nahin ho….wo hamesha mera bhalaa chaahte hain."

"Jaanta hoon Riddhima…..par phir bhi mujhey darr lagta hai," he said seriously.

"Arre tum tho serious ho gaye?"

"Tum ladkiyan bhi na," he shook his head, "can you make up your mind? Kabhie kehti ho serious kyun nahin hote…..kabhie kehti ho bahut serious ho gaye?"

"Ok baba….sorry….galti ho gayi," she touched her ears apologetically, "mujhey nahin pata tha ki tumhein bhi gussa aata hai."

"Kyun? Main insaan nahin hoon kya?" he frowned.

"Achcha kis baat par gussa aata hai?" she giggled.

He grabbed her wrists and pulled her behind the lockers in an isolated corner, "agar hamare pyaar ke beech mein koi bhi aayega na Riddhima….tho mujhey sach much gussa aa jaayega…because I cannot imagine my life without you any longer."

"Koi nahin aayega," she caressed his face lovingly, "have faith in our elders."

"No Riddhima….I just have faith in one thing."


"Our love," he smiled and kissed her lips tenderly.

"YEH LOCKERS KE PEECHE KYA HO RAHA HAI?" Angad's voice echoed as he walked in.

"None of your business buddy!" Armaan yelled back.

"Yeh hospital hai….romance karne ke liye park nahin," Angad shot back.

"Achcha tho kal raat surgical ward mein Kripa ke saath kya kar raha tha?" Armaan teased him back.

Kripa had walked in and turned red at Armaan's comment. More interns had trickled in by now and giggled at Angad and Armaan's across-the-locker room playful teasing.

"Guys…..kuch tho sharam karo…..khullam khulla pyaar karte huye sharam nahin aati?" Atul, one of the interns commented.

'NAHIN AATI!" Angad and Armaan yelled simultaneously as Riddhima and Kripa turned red from embarrassment.

…………to be contd…………


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