Tuesday, 18 September 2018

part 30 : To Err is Human


"Aaj kal meri behna ke gaal bikul tamatar jaise laal ho rahe hain….kya baat hai?" Armaan walked in and poured himself a cup of coffee next to Kripa.

"Oh Armaan…tum?" She smiled bashfully, "waise hi jaise tum Riddhima ke pyaar mein phoolte jaa rahe ho."

"Achcha meri baat mujhpar hi laagoo kar rahi ho? Waise jise tum phoolna keh rahi ho na….wo mere muscles hain," Armaan chuckled, "I am happy you guys made up."

"Thanks to all of you….I am sure you said something to him too."

"Well…..Angad ki ek baat jaan lo Kripa….wo suntaa chaahe sabki ho….lekin karta apne mann ki hi hai…..so it was his decision entirely…but I know he cannot live without you," Armaan winked as he sipped his coffee.

"Just like you cannot live without Riddhima?" she shot back

"Uffo Kripa! Tum tho har baat wapas palat deti ho….achcha suno….is Saturday ko Angad ka birthday hai."

"Tumhein kaise pata? Main kitni baar poonch chuki hoon….but he has never told me." She pouted.

"Now don't be jealous sister….waise bhi wo mera dost pehle banaa tha aur tumhara aashiq baad mein," Armaan teased her.

"Galat! He fell for me the moment he set his eyes on me," she said confidently.

"Ek raaz ki baat bataaun?" Armaan whispered into her ears.


"Ladkiyon ko pataane ke liye sab ladke yahi kehte hain."

"Badmaash!" Kripa smacked his arm playfully, "Angad aisa nahin hai."

"Ok baba…..tumhara Angad bahut shareef hai…..main hi badmaash hoon….don't hit me behnaa….Riddhima ne maar maar kar waise hi mera badan chalni kar diya hai," he rubbed his arm to sooth it.

"Jhoothe kahin ke….Riddhima jaisi seedhi ladki tumhein kahin nahin milegi….achcha batao…kaise pata chala ki Angad ka birthday hai?"

"I cheated….I peeked into his personal stuff one day," Armaan chuckled and emptied his cup, "let's all go to Goa this weekend…..we will surprise him there."

"Goa?" she was surprised, "kaun kaun jaayega?"

"Poora Sanjeevani….saaare doctors, nurses aur patients!" He taunted her, "yaar tum ladkiyan bhi na kabhie kabhie….you can be pretty duh at times!"

"Come on Armaan…..you expect Riddhima and I will go with you guys to Goa? In your dreams!"

"Kyun kya kharaabi hai is plan mein? I have checked our schedules….hum chaaron mein se koi bhi nahin hai duty par…..Rahul is covering our ward…..and you guys have a new intern starting today….kya naam hai uska?" Armaan scratched his head.

"Muskaan Chadha from Ludhiana!" Kripa laughed.

"Why are you laughing?"

"Once you meet her….you will be amused too….doctor kum….nautanki waali zyaada lagti hai….lagta hai seedha kisi Punjab ke gaon se chali aa rahi hai…..but she is very sweet and friendly…I like her," Kripa kept her cup away, "and let me talk to Riddhima about Goa….I don't think it is a good idea."

"Kyun tumhein apne aap par vishwaas nahin hai kya? Are you ladies planning to seduce us guys or something?" Armaan challenged her.

"Armaan! Kaisi oot pataang baatein kar rahe ho? Aakhir 2 jawaan ladkiyan…aur jawaan ladke akele Goa mein? It could create a scandal of sorts."

"Kripa….humein agar tum dono ke saath kuch karna hota tho yahin Sanjeevani ke doctor's call rooms mein hi kar lete….you might know that the hospital call rooms are where most scandals start," Armaan was exasperated, "come on Kripa….we will just have some fun….we are all friends….masti karenge…please Kripa." He pleaded.

"Ok bhaisaa!" She pinched his cheek, "let me talk to my parents and to Riddhima."

"Parents?" his eyes popped wide, "unhein bhi invitation bhejna padhega kya?"

"Uffo nahin baba….I just need to make sure my parents know about it."

"Tum ladkiyan parents ki permission ke bina kuch kaam nahin karti kya? Wo Riddhima bhi saare waqt papa papa ka bhajan karti rehti hai."

"Jee haan….jab tumhari ek beti hogi na ek din….phir tum se poonchungi yahi sawaal," she chuckled and left the lounge to find Riddhima.



Riddhima was busy writing orders in the Geriatric ward. Kripa informed her about the Goa plan.

"Goa? Wow…I love that place! We used to go there a lot during our summer breaks….I haven't been there in a while…lekin papa se permission leni padhegi," Riddhima sighed, "he wanted me to work on that WHO project this weekend….ab kya karoon?"

"Theek hai….nahin jaate….Angad ka birthday yahin manaa lenge."

"Nahin Kripa….main mama se permission le leti hoon….papa is out of town this weekend anyways….mama will not say NO…you know," she whispered, "mama knows about Armaan….and she likes him too!"

"Really?" Kripa's face lit up, "chupi rustam….bataaya nahin mujhey!"

"Kya karti….you were too busy moping about Angad….tumhein kahan fursat thi?" Riddhima laughed.

"I am really happy for you….jab aunty maan gayi hain….tho sir bhi maan hi jaayenge….you know how powerful we women are in convincing our men?" Kripa squeezed Riddhima's hand and chuckled.

"Let's hope so," Riddhima sighed and looked up as if silently praying for her wish to come true.


It did not take long to convince Padma about the Goa trip. She was relieved that Riddhima was doing more 'normal' things with her friends now, instead of spending all her time at the hospital like her father did. Having Kripa with her was reassuring that they would all stay out of trouble. Padma had tremendous faith in Kripa; she felt that Kripa was the most grounded and well balanced of the friends and would not let any mishap happen during their trip. Rahul promised to work on their WHO project in between his duty hours; he was really taking his 'dependable friend' title seriously now. The new intern, Dr Muskan Chadha had hit it off well with Angad and Kripa, and was pleased to dive into her work right away.

Angad was in seventh heaven. He had always wanted to go to Goa, but had never been able to afford it. Armaan's parent's 'beach house' was an added attraction along with his friends and of course, Kripa's undivided attention. After having stayed at the "Mallik outhouse' during his suspension, Angad's motivation to succeed and acquire all the comforts in life had become stronger. He loved the idea of a 'weekend in Goa at a luxurious beach house.'



The four friends drove to Goa in Armaan's convertible that Friday morning. They were in Goa in less than 10 hours, just in time to see the beautiful sunset off the beach.

Armaan's parents had a two-bedroom beautiful beach house at one of the most pristine and unblemished beaches of Goa.

"Come on guys…..so here is the master bedroom overlooking the sea…yeh mera aur Riddhima ka room hoga," Armaan winked mischievously.

Angad gave him a high five and teased the girls further, "haan….Kripa aur main doosre guest room mein comfortable rahenge….waise bhi humein bahar ke view ka kya karna…..ek doosre ko hi theek se dekh lenge….kyun Kripa?"

The girls stood with their jaws to their knees at the men's outrageous suggestions.

"You guys! Iss liye laaye ho humein yahan?" Riddhima stomped her foot, "I am leaving right now!"

"Of course…..honeymoon before the wedding," Armaan chuckled, "kyun Angad….waise bhi aaj kal kaun shaadi ka intezaar karta…..and from what I know these days girls are as despo as the guys…kiss me kiss me….touch me touch me….remember Riddhima?"

Riddhima was dumfounded and turned beetroot at Armaan's blatantly flirtatious remarks.

Kripa folded her arms as she understood their mischievous tactics.

"Riddhima…..don't worry…..yeh log aise nahin maanenge," Kripa stopped Riddhima at the door, "achcha….tho aap log wo sab karna chaahte hain jo shaadi ke baad hota hai?"

"OF COURSE!" the men answered simultaneously.

"Theek hain hum tayyar hain!" Kripa replied.

"Are you crazy Kripa?" Riddhima was stunned, "hum apni families ke trust par yahan aaye hain….par tum yeh kya keh rahi ho?"

"Calm down Riddhima," Kripa reassured her, "OK guys…..let's start then….first of all….like all supportive husbands-to-be…..can you both go and get groceries for the house…..kitchen aur fridge dono khaali hain….hum aap logon ko kya khilaaenge phir? And as we all know," she rolled her tongue mischievously, "how much energy we all need for ehem….ehem….so can I make a grocery list for both of you?"

Armaan and Angad stared at each other, "bhookh tho lag rahi hai…..and Kripa has a point."

"Ok….we will go…..give us the list." Armaan held out his hand.

Kripa obliged and handed him the longest grocery list in the world.

"Yeh list hai ya thesis?" Angad had mortified expression.

"Abhi se darr gaye kya? Shaadi ka ladoo khaana hai tho papad bhi belne padhte hain," Kripa batted her eyelids playfully as Riddhima joined in and teased them further, "and we like everything fresh…..make sure you go to the best stores."

"Lekin stores tho bandh ho gaye honge," Armaan complained.

"Theek hai Riddhima….if they can't keep their part of the bargain….neither can we," Kripa shrugged her shoulders.

"Yaar…..this pre nuptial agreement is going to cost us a lot….chal yaar….let's go," Armaan picked his keys and dejectedly left with Angad.

The girls gave each other a high five and while the men were away, conveniently arranged their own bags in the master bedroom and filled the closets with their clothes. They threw the men's bags in the smaller guestroom on the other end of the house.

"Chalo…let's go to the kitchen now," Kripa brushed off her hands.

"But there is nothing in the kitchen."

"Don't worry Riddhima….I packed some stuff with me….let's bake a cake for Angad….jab tak wo log aayenge…..waise bhi raat ke 12 baj jaayenge…..it will be time for his birthday."

The women got down to business and whipped an attractive chocolate cake for Angad's birthday.

Riddhima managed to find some old decorations in the guest room closet, "lagta hai Armaan ke parents ne yahan kai parties kari hain pehle….see there are balloons…streamers….decorations here."

"Looks like your in-laws-to-be like to have a good time," Kripa helped Riddhima with the decorations.

"I wonder when they get the time….they seem like workaholics," Riddhima replied as they decorated the living and dining area.

"I think rich people have their priorities…work and parties….get used to it Riddhima….you will soon be doing all this too," Kripa climbed on a stool to tuck the streamers on the walls.

"I am not sure Kripa….I would rather be doing something more meaningful….I have always wanted to be a Cancer specialist….papa also wants me to stick to academics rather than private practice…….perhaps I will go abroad for further training," Riddhima tied the balloons to the chairs, "and spend time with Armaan….I can't see myself being like Dr Gauri Mallik one day."

"Does Armaan want to go abroad too?" Kripa asked.

"I don't know….I have never asked him," Riddhima shrugged her shoulders.

"I bet he will," Kripa stepped down from the stool, "he is crazy about you…..tumhare peeche peeche wo kahin bhi chala jaayega."

Riddhima blushed at Kripa's comment, "I hope so Kripa….uski deewangi ne hi tho mujhey bhi uska deewana banaaya hai…..I hope he will always remain that way."

"I am sure he will Riddhima….have faith," Kripa smiled.

"Aur Angad aur tum…..tum kya karna chaahte ho aage?" Riddhima asked.

"Saath rehna chaahte hain…..bas itna jaanti hoon," Kripa replied and then pondered, "you know…..we have never talked about our future really……I know I want to go back to Rajasthan and work there…..I am sure he will come with me….after all he really has no ties to Mumbai…..wahan Rajasthan mein meri bahut badhi family hai…..he will love it there."

"I am sure he will……you know Kripa…..we are the luckiest girls in the world……kitne chaahne waale aadmi miley hain humein," Riddhima sighed as she plunked onto the sofa after having blown a dozen balloons.

Kripa buried herself right next to Riddhima and leaned her head on her friend's shoulder, "you are right Riddhima…..I realized how important Angad was in my life when he stopped talking to me…..now….I can't even imagine myself without him…..in kuch mahino mein hamari zindagi kahan se kahan pahunch gayi hai."

"You are right Kripa…..Armaan ke bina main bilkul adhoori hoon."

"Aur main Angad ke bina."

The two friends sat around and chatted about their men till it was close to midnight. They heard Armaan's car in the driveway.

"Looks like they are here," Kripa got up and turned all the lights off.

They hid behind the kitchen door as Armaan unlatched the front door.

"Itna andhera kyun kar rakha hai yahan?" Angad commented as they walked into the pitch dark house.

"Looks like they are asleep Angad…..humein pagal banaaya unhone," Armaan sighed and groped around for the light switch.

"SURPRISE!" The girls shrieked as soon as the lights came on. The men were stunned and pleasantly surprised to see the decorated room with a cake on the table.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU….. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU……. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU…." They all sang in unison as Angad was overwhelmed with emotions.

"Thanks guys," Angad's voice choked, "this is the best birthday of my life….you guys did not have to do this for me."

"Ab emotional mat ho….jaldi cake kaat…..bhookh lagi hai," Armaan slapped Angad's back and chuckled.

Kripa smiled tearfully and handed him a knife, "Happy Birthday jaan." She kissed his cheek softly. Angad squeezed her in his arm and returned a kiss on her cheek, "thanks Kripa."

The four of them devoured the delicious cake within minutes.

"Where are the groceries?" Kripa asked as the last few pieces of the cake were left.

"Sorry….kuch nahin mila," Angad shrugged, "it's midnight…Goa is either asleep or partying right now…..not selling sabzi bhaaji!"

"OK….then the deal is off," Kripa teased him.

"Kal ka din bhi hai hamare paas," Armaan laughed, "we don't believe in giving up that easily behnaa."

The foursome laughed and teased each other till the last piece of cake was left.

"Ok Angad….you get the last piece man," Armaan ordered.

"Theek hai….only if Kripa shares the piece with me," Angad winked.

"Main? Nahin baba…I am full." Kripa refused.

"Come on Kripa….be a sport," Riddhima urged.

Angad placed the piece in his mouth and signaled Kripa to come closer and share the piece with him.

"Aise?" Kripa blushed but Armaan and Riddhima pushed Kripa towards Angad. Kripa landed in Angad's arms and hid her face in his chest.

Angad bent down with the piece still snug between his teeth. A bashful Kripa stood up on her tip toes and bit a piece of the cake dangling from his lips. As soon as she tasted the cake, Angad's lips crushed her lips passionately. Armaan and Riddhima cheered and clapped for the two lovers as they shared the 'last piece'

"Angggaad!" Kripa protested as Angad's chocolate laced lips refused to pull away from her rose petals. With all her strength, she was able to free herself but to her surprise, felt something metallic in her mouth. As she tasted a mixture of the chocolate, Angad and the metal in her mouth, she opened her mouth and pulled out a beautiful ring from her mouth.

"Yeh kya hai?" she stared at the dazzling solitaire.

"Pehnaa do Angad!" Riddhima jumped in joy.

Angad licked his lips and took the ring from Kripa's hands. Before she realized, he had slipped the ring on to her left ring finger. He bent down and kissed her fingers one by one and muttered, "the deal is closed now….ab tum sirf meri ho…..ab hamare beech aur koi nahin aa sakta…..we are officially engaged now."

Kripa could not believe her eyes and ears. She gazed tearfully at everyone and covered her mouth with her hands, "I can't believe this…..did you all plan this?"

"Nahin madam…..hum aadmi log itni door ki kahan sochte hain?" Armaan chuckled, "the only store that was open was a jewelry store….so we decided to buy a ring instead of sabzi bhaaji."

"Congratulations guys!" Riddhima hugged both Angad and Kripa. Kripa was still overwhelmed after Angad's passionat kisses and his unusual way of gifting her the precious ring. She stared at the rock on her finger, "how did you afford this?"

"Kripa….Angad ka wallet badhaa beshaq na ho…uska dil bahut badha hai," Armaan placed his arm around Angad.

Angad smiled and walked towards Kripa. He held her hands and gazed into her eyes, "artificial hai…..don't get too worried…..par ek din tumhare liye iss se bhi sunder….ek real ring laaoonga main."

"Nahin mujhey yahi pasand hai," she blushed and hugged him.

Armaan cleared his throat, "Riddhima….yahan kuch garmi zyaada ho rahi hai….let's go get some fresh air outdoors."

"Let's go," Riddhima held Armaan's hands and they walked out arm in arm towards the moon lit sands of the beautiful beach.

……to be contd…


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