Friday, 21 September 2018

part 33: To Err is Human

Papa ki pari hoon main…….
Aayi Main Aayi Neele Gagan Se….
Laayi Main Laayi Taaron Ko Chun Ke…


BACK AT SANJEEVANI:


"Dr Kripa….koi aap se milne aaya hai." A ward boy interrupted Kripa's conversation with the new intern, Muskaan Chaddha.


"Excuse me Muskaan….I must say you have really settled in well as our new intern….we are glad to have you in our team."


"Thanks Kripa….you know I had always wanted to come to Sanjeevani….yeh tho mera bhaagya tha ki mid-year mein ek position khul gayi." Muskaan smiled.





"Kehte hain na daane daane par likha hai khaane waale ka naam," Kripa chuckled and excused herself to meet her mysterious guest.



"Kahan hain wo?" Kripa asked the ward boy.


"Madam….wo doctor's lounge mein hain."


"Thanks Gopal."



………………………………………………………………………………………..


DOCTOR'S LOUNGE:



"Mama…papa…aap?" Kripa was ecstatic and a bit nervous to see them waiting for her.


She ran and hugged her parents, "aap ne bataaya hota tho main station aa jaati aapko lene."



"Koi baat nahin…humein pata tha Goa se aane ke baad teri duty hogi….so humnein khabar nahin ki….kaisi hai tu….dekha rang kaala ho gaya Goa jaakar," Gayatri, her mom complained like a typical concerned mother. Kripa's mother was a home maker, an older version of Kripa in looks and mannerisms.




"Uffo mama….aap bhi na….yeh kaala nahin….tan ho gaya hai….kuch din mein theek ho jaayega," Kripa reassured her mother, "waise bhi zyaada gora rang lekar kya karoongi?'



"Achcha ab humein us betaab ladke se tho mila….jiski betaabi ne humein yahan aane ko betaab kar diya," her father chuckled. Suryabhan Sharma was a pleasant looking, tall; slightly grey haired principal of the famous Mayo College in Ajmer.




Her father's words embarrassed Kripa as she lowered her eyes, "wo papa…sorry itni raat ko aapko phone kiya…..lekin aisi koi baat nahin hai."



"Kaise nahin hai bhai…..aakhir ek honhaar nau jawaan ne meri beti ka haath maanga hai……kuch na kuch baat tho hogi us ladke mein," Suryabhan patted Kripa's shoulder.




"Kripa beta….yeh kaise hua sab?" Gayatri was worried that someone had probably taken advantage of her little girl, "tu theek tho hai na beta? Main nahin chaahti koi tera faayda uthaaye….yeh badhe sheher ke ladkon ka koi bharosa nahin hai beta…..us raat se main chinta ke maare so hi nahin paayi."



"Nahin mama….aisa kuch nahin hai….wo tho Angad ki aadat hai kabhie kabhie sharaarat kar leta hai….wo bahut achcha aur nek insaan hai…..aur usne mere saath koi zabardasti ya chhal nahin kiya hai maa…..aap be fikr rahiye."




"Yeh usne usne kya laga rakha hai?" Gayatri was appalled, "agar tera hone waala pati hai tho aap aap keh kar bula….aur naam nahin lete pati ka!"



Kripa chuckled and relaxed a bit, "tho aapko koi aitraaz nahin hai?"



"Arre mile bina kaise keh sakti hoon?" Gayatri retorted.



"Aap hi tho keh rahi hain ki wo mera hone waala pati hai," Kripa laughed.



"Bahut baatooni ho gayi hai Mumbai aakar…main aapko pehle hi kehti thi isey badhe sheher mat bhejiye," Gayatri glared at her husband who was bemused by the mother-daughter conversation.




"Main bahut khush hoon Gayatri….main apni beti ko jaanta hoon…..agar usne yeh kadam uthaaya hai tho bahut soch samajh kar uthaaya hoga….bahut samajhdaar hai meri Kripa…bilkul apne papa ki tarah," Suryabhan hugged his daughter as the three of them laughed and relaxed in each other's company.



"Tho yeh anghoothi di hai usney?" Gayatri noticed the ring on her daughter's finger.


"Haan mama," she replied shyly.



"Usey bula tho sahi…..uska shagun lekar aayi hoon main," Gayatri smiled and picked her bag from the floor.



"Dekh Kripa…poore raaste chinta karti aayi thi…..keh rahi thi aaj hi Kripa ko wapas Ajmer le jaaoongi……yeh Mumbai ki hawa lag gayi hai usey……mujhey bataaya bhi nahin ki shagun ki poori tayyari karke aayi hai teri maa," Suryabhan peeked into the bag with surprise, "dono maa beti chupi rustam ho!" The parents sat down on the couch and sorted out the 'shagun' as Kripa walked over to the coffee machine, "main aap logon ke liye coffee laati hoon."




At that moment, Angad walked into the doctor's lounge to get a cup of coffee before the next surgery. Dressed in scrubs, surgical hat and his white coat, he looked like a serious surgeon rather than the beach-side hunk he was just the day before.


"Hi sweet heart! Kya kar rahi ho yahan?" An absent minded Angad addressed her as he walked in and as always pulled her closer to give her a kiss.


Kripa turned red and pushed him away with all her force.



"Itni berukhi kyun? Tum jaanti ho main zabardasti apni kiss bhi le sakta hoon," he grabbed her by her waist. Kripa was mortified, and so were her parents. They froze in their position as Angad kissed Kripa's cheek passionately, "tumhare kiss ke bina mera din nahin shuru hota." A petrified Kripa stood motionless and shut her eyes as Angad's overt gestures embarrassed her profusely.




"*cough*cough*" Suryabhan stood up and came forward to 'rescue' his daughter.



"Tho mera shaq sahi niklaa….yeh ladka sach much betaab hai meri beti ke liye….aaj kal ke zamaane mein aise aashiq kum hi dikhte hain….main sochta tha mujhse badha koi aashiq nahin hai is jahan main….now I have serious competition……Suryabhan Sharma……Kripa's father…….nice to meet you son!" Suryabhan extended his hand towards Angad.




Suryabhan's words had rendered Angad speechless; he turned red and was embarrassed to the core. Angad let go of Kripa, who ran and hid her face in her mother's lap and was still from shock as he realized what had just happened.



"Haath nahin milaaoge apne sasur jee se?" Suryabhan tried to put him at ease.



A stunned Angad gulped hard and extended his hand, "n..nice to m..meet you sir." He fumbled.



"Is se zyaada confidence tho tumne phone par dikhaaya tha barkhudaar….yahan kyun haath kaanp rahe hain…..aakhir meri beti ko zindagi bhar sambhaalna hai…..aise haath kaanpenge tho kaam kaise chalega?" Suryabhan shook Angad's hand vigorously and hugged him fervently, "welcome to the family beta…..khush raho….aur Kripa ko bhi khush rakho."




Angad was overwhelmed by Suryabhan's warmth and affection; he hugged him back and nodded, "sorry uncle….mujhey pata nahin tha aap yahan hain…warna…warna…"




"Jo hamare peeche hamari beti se itna pyaar karta hai….wo hamare saamne bhi kar sakta hai," Suryabhan patted Angad's back, "and no uncle…no sir….aaj se tum mere bte ho…aur main tumhara papa…samjhe?"




Angad's eyes almost welled up with emotion; his memories of his own father were so bitter that Suryabhan's fatherly affection came as a pleasant surprise to him. Instinctively, Angad bent down and touched Suryabhan's feet, "thanks papa…..I promise I will be the best son in this world."



Gayatri came forward with the 'shagun'- a suit, shirt, coconut, sweets, some money and a box with a ring. Angad touched her feet too as she showered him with her blessings, "jug jug jiyo beta…..aaj se main bhi tumhari maa hoon."


Kripa was in seventh heaven and thanked her God silently for blessing her with the nicest parents in the world.



"Yeh lo beta….yeh tumhara shagun hai…..isey rakh lo" Gayatri handed him the shagun.



"Arre iski kya zaroorat thi maa," he felt odd at addressing someone as 'maa' after so many years.



"Ab mujhey maa samajhte ho tho aise sawaal mat karna kabhie," Gayatri reprimanded him.



Angad chuckled, 'ab samajh aaya Kripa ka mizaaj kis par gaya hai."



"Arre….in maa beti ki naak par tho hamesha makkhi baithi rehti hai," Surybhan chuckled, "chalo ab sasur aur damaad saath saath inke nakhre sahenge." They all burst out in laughter as Kripa came closer and hugged both her parents.



"Achcha beta…tumhare parents kahan hain?" Suryabhan asked. Angad's face fell but Kripa intercepted, "papa…Angad ke parents bachpan mein hi guzar gaye the."



"Oh…I am sorry beta….lekin koi aur badha hai ghar par? We would like to meet them before we leave."



"Nahin….koi nahin hai….main akela hoon," Angad said dryly.



Gayatri and Suryabhan were stunned by the reply. The Sharma's had a very large extended family back in Rajasthan; Gayatri had always dreamt of marrying off Kripa in a large and loving family just like theirs. She could not imagine Kripa without family and relatives around her.



Suryabhan sensed the awkwardness that had befallen after Angad's statement. He smiled and patted Angad's shoulder, "nahin beta….aaj ke baad aisa mat kehna…..you are not alone…..you belong to all of us….aur hamara parivaar itna badha hai ki tum apne aapko kabhie akela mehsoos nahin karoge….God bless you son."


Angad nodded, "thanks papa….Kripa aur aap logon ne mujhey accept karke ek nayi zindagi di hai…..I am a very lucky man", a faint but tearful smile on his face reassured Suryabhan and Gayatri that Kripa had made the right choice. It was evident that Angad was a self made man; the fact that despite having no loved ones in his life, he had come so far on his own merit, was praise worthy and admirable. Suryabhan could care less about Angad's social stature, his family back ground or his bank balance- what mattered to him was that Angad was a motivated, hard working man who valued and cared for his daughter as much as they did- there could be no better suitor for their daughter than this man!




"Ab Kripa…Angad ko yeh ring pehnaa do," Gayatri opened the little box in her hand, "aur phir mere haath ke bane besan ke laddoo khaakar dekho beta."




Kripa obliged and slipped the elegant Gold band on Angad's finger. The other doctor's in the lounge had gathered around the family celebration and cheered for the couple as their little impromptu 'engagement ceremony' was held that morning. Riddhima and Armaan had gotten word about the 'hulchul' in the doctor's lounge and joined in as fast as they could. Kripa introduced her best friend and 'mooh bola bhai' to her parents. Gayatri was more reassured after meeting Armaan and Riddhima as she knew her daughter was surrounded by wonderful people in the big bad city called Mumbai!




Gayatri's home-made besan ke laddoos were consumed within minutes as the hungry doctors polished off each morsel of the savory sweet.



Before her parents left, they extended an invitation to everyone, "please…aap log sab Diwali ki chuttiyon mein Ajmer aaiyega…..wahan saari family ke saath Diwali maanaayenge aur Angad aur Kripa ki sagai bhi kar denge."



"Sagai….phir se?" Angad was hoping for a wedding instead.



"Haan beta….agar saari family ke saamne sagai ki rasam nahin ki tho hamari biraadari waale humein khaa jaayenge," Gayatri replied.




"Shaadi bhi jaldi ho jaayegi beta….don't worry," Suryabhan sensed Angad's impatience and laughed.



"Wo…wo…aisi baat nahin hai papa," Angad was ashamed that his father-in-law-to-be had read his mind.



"Hum zaroor aayenge uncle," Armaan licked his fingers at the last bits of the sweet, "kaash meri mom bhi aise laddoo banana jaanti."



"Arre beta…jab bhi laddoo khaane ho…tho mujhey phone kar dena," Gayatri smiled at Armaan, 'aakhir tum bhi mere bte ho na ab…..main kitni khush kismat hoon….milne Kripa se aayi thi lekin yahan chaar chaar bachche mil gaye mujhey." She patted Riddhima's cheeks and kissed the two girls. Riddhima and Kripa hugged Gayatri and walked out to bid goodbye to Kripa's parents who had to head back to Ajmer the same day.



During the cab ride, Gayatri wiped her tears and smiled, "vishwaas nahin hota ko hamari choti si beti ne itna badha kadam uthaa liya hai."



"I am proud of her Gayatri…..mujhey naaz hai apni beti par…..aur vishwaas bhi ki usney yeh kadam bahut soch samajh kar hi uthaaya hai…..aur yeh achchi baat hai ki Angad bhi doctor hai," Suryabhan sighed.



"Haan….ab dono saath saath Ajmer mein clinic bhi khol sakte hain." Gayatri sighed with relief.



"Haan….aur Kripa ki bimaari ke baare mein Angad doctor hone ke naate samajh paayega," Suryabhan patted Gayatri's hands.



"Aap bekaar mein chinta karte hain Kripa ki….main jaanti hoon usey kuch nahin hoga…..bachpan mein doctor ne kaha tha na uski bimaari aisi hai ki poora jeevan bhi nikal sakta hai bina kuch problem ke," Gayatri reassured her worried husband.



"Haan lekin Gayatri……yeh bhi tho kaha tha doctor ne ki kai baar 20-30 saal ki umar mein problems bhi ho sakti hain."



"Tho saaf saaf dono bachchon ko bataa dete hain….aakhir dono doctor hain samajh jaayenge."



'Abhi nahin Gayatri…..Kripa abhi itni khush hai…..Maya ke jaane ke baad pehli baar usey itna khush dekha hai."


"Tho Angad ko bataa dete hain."



"Haan….waqt aane par usey bataa denge….wo achcha ladka hai…samajh jaayega."


…………………………………………………………………………………….



GUPTA RESIDENCE: EVENING



"Mama…..main ghar aa gayi!" Riddhima walked in that evening with a bag full of dirty clothes.



"Monday shaam ko ghar aayi ho tho samajh gayi thi….koi kaam hoga," Padma chided, "dirty laundry…..samajh gayi thi main."


"Sorry mama…Goa mein saare kapde bahut gande ho gaye the…..hostel ke dhobi ki bas ki baat nahin hai inhein saaf karna," Riddhima whined.



"RIDDHIMA!" Shashank called for her from the living room



"Papa conference se aa gaye?" Riddhima gulped nervously, "aap tho keh rahi thi Wednesday ko aayenge."



"Haan…..jaldi aa gaye," Padma whispered, "dhyaan se jaana….kuch mood kharaab hai unka."



"Kyun mama?" Riddhima was petrified.



"Shayad kaam ki wajah se hoga kuch…..maine pooncha nahin abhi..," Padma took the bag full of dirty clothes from her daughter and headed for the laundry room.



"Hello papa," Riddhima walked into the living room and greeted her father, "conference kaisi rahi?"




"It was good….I wish you could have joined me….I met a senior Oncologist from US…he is in charge of the Oncology program at John's Hopkins….they have a wonderful program…..and it's my dream that you train there," Shashank smiled and asked Riddhima to join him.




"Jee papa….even I want to become a cancer specialist…John's Hopkins? Wow! That's the best place to train," her eyes lit up, "I would love to go there."



"Very good!…. I told him you are working on a WHO paper….he was very impressed and would like you to send a transcript of your study as soon as possible."



Riddhima's color drained at the mention of the WHO project; she had barely invested anytime on it.



"Kya hua?" Shashank asked; his expression changed from a soft and tender one to a concerned and worried one, "I hope you and Rahul worked hard this past weekend on the project….I know you were not on duty and Rahul ko tho jaanta hoon…duty or no duty wo research ke liye time nikaal hi leta hai."




"Wo papa…is weekend time…nahin mila," he hesitated.


"Kyun? Time kyun nahin mila? Aisa kya hua?" Shashank asked.



"Wo papa…Angad ka birthday tha….issliye…." she paused.


"Angad ka birthday? Ok….so you celebrated his birthday….that's no problem…..lekin poore weekend tho celebrate nahin kiya hoga na?"




"Jee papa….we…we," she looked up and saw a pallid Padma standing behind Shashank.



Shashank looked behind and knew Padma was hiding something from him, "Padma….tumhein pata hai kya kiya tha hamari beti ne?"



Padma was caught between her husband and daughter. Riddhima mustered the courage as she knew her mother was in a predicament, "Papa….hum sab dost Goa gaye the!"



"GOA?" Shashank sprang up, "Tum sab weekend par Goa gaye the? Ek birthday celebrate karne ke liye?"



"Shashank….aap naaraaz mat ho…aakhir yeh sab interns itni mehnat karte hain….2 din Goa chale gaye tho kya hua?" Padma defended her daughter.



"PADMA! Don't defend your daughter's callousness! She knows what is more important in life…..Goa jaane ke liye aur masti karne ke liye poori zindagi padhi hai….yeh waqt hai mehnat karke aur lagan lagaakar apna career banana! Aur main hoon ki conference mein bhi apni beti ke career ke baare mein soch raha tha…..kya Riddhima ko meri itni bhi kadar nahin hai? Itni mushkil se WHO project bhi dilwaaya hai usey……other's would die to get such a prestigious project…..lagta hai meri parvarish mein hi kahin kami reh gayi." Shashank's eyes welled up with emotions. His daughter had let him down; she had shattered all dreams he had for her.




A feeling of remorse and guilt filled her senses, "Papa….please…I am sorry….aage se galti nahin hogi," Riddhima was almost tearful. She was aware how hard her father had worked with her all her life- be it at school, staying up late night with her during exams, guiding her through entrance exams for Medical college, encouraging her to always do her best even when he was busy with his work and responsibilities at Sanjeevani. He had always taken time to be with her when she needed him. She had betrayed his trust and confidence in her.



"Suniye…please bachchi hai…..isey kuch tho apni marzi karne ki bhi ijaazat honi chaahiye….warna aapki tarah yeh bhi sirf kaam mein lag jaayegi," Padma placed her arm around her daughter.



Shashank took a deep breath and walked towards his bedroom, "Riddhima…tum khud jaanti ho tumhari bhalaayi kismein hai….ab tum bachchi nahin rahi ho….I have an early morning surgery…I need to go to bed now."



Padma guiltily gazed at Riddhima, "sorry beta….maine kaha tha na unka pehle hi mood kuch kharaab tha….tu chinta nahin kar….wo theek ho jaayenge….aaja…..khaana khaa le."



"Nahin mama," tears flowed from her eyes, "papa is right…..I need to focus on my work…..papa tho sirf mera bhala chaahte hain….aaj se main apne kaam mein poora dhyaan lagaaoongi."



"Beta maine yeh nahin kaha ki kaam mat kar…..lekin kaam ke saath kuch masti karne se zindagi ka balance theek rehta hai…warna…warna ," Padma paused.



"Warna main bhi papa ki tarah ban jaaoongi?" Riddhima asked.



Padma lowered her gaze.


"Mama….tho kya harj hai ismein….everyone respects papa….he is the best doctor in this world….he has always been my role model…..I will not let him down mama," Riddhima hugged her mother and sobbed softly on her shoulder.



Padma reassured her as best as she could, but knew that no one could shake Riddhima's respect and faith in her father.


………………………………………………………………………….


LATER IN THEIR BEDROOM:



"Shashank…..aap Riddhima par itna naaraaz kyun hote hain aaj kal?" Padma asked as she settled in bed next to her husband.



"Padma," he removed his reading glasses and glanced at her, "yeh Riddhima ki galti nahin hai….yeh sab Armaan ki wajah se ho raha hai."



"Us bechare ne kya kiya hai? Achcha bhala ladka hai."



"Tumhein tho Abhimanyu bhi bahut achcha lagta tha…haina?" Shashank taunted her.



"Aap kaisi baat kar rahe hain? Abhimanyu aur aap achche dost the….bas is naate hi mujhey wo pasand the."



"DOST THE! LEKIN AB NAHIN HAIN!" Shashank retorted.



"Puraani baatein bhool jaaiye…..kitne saal ho gaye us baat ko."



"Nahin Padma….I can never forget my humiliation at his hands…..remember I was always ahead of him in school, college and surgical training…..hamesha mere notes se padhai karta tha…….aur mere saath hi rehta tha…..but the day he became a successful surgeon…..he turned his back to me…..humiliated me in front of all his rich friends!"



"Ho sakta hai unki intention nahin ho…..aap ne kabhie wapas jaakar clarify bhi tho nahin kiya unke saath."



"Padma! Please drop the topic…..Abhimanyu does not mean anything to me…..and I cannot stand people like that…..he is a selfish man….apni success ke liye kuch bhi kar sakta hai…..and that is why Armaan cannot get close to Riddhima! Bus keh diya! GOODNIGHT!" He turned off the lights as an exasperated Padma lay in bed with eyes wide awake to her husband's snores all night.



……………………………………………………………………………………………



MALLIK RESIDENCE: NEXT MORNING


"Good morning mom…Good morning dad!" to their surprise, Armaan joined his parents for breakfast.



"What a surprise?" Gauri kissed her son's forehead, "aaj ghar kaise?"



"Oh…I came home late night…..I needed some clothes….so decided to hang out with you guys for breakfast today," Armaan smiled at his mother.


"Great! Chalo…I need to get going," Abhimanyu put his cup away and got up to leave.


"Dad…..can we talk?" Armaan asked.


"Talk? Sure but not right now son….I have an early morning case," Abhimanyu put his jacket on, "how about tonight?"



"No dad….I am on duty tonight."


"Come on Abhi…..how often does Armaan want to talk to you….case kuch der se start kar dena…..it's just a face lift….not like an emergency delivery," Gauri poured tea for herself and settled next to Armaan at the table.


"Thanks mom!" Armaan was pleased to see his mother take his side for a change.



"Tumhein tho sirf apni deliveries hi emergency lagti hain….this is an important case….it's a famous TV anchor….I can't get late Gauri," Abhimanyu picked his briefcase.



"Ok dad….I will make it brief," Armaan got up and requested.



"Ok…shoot!"



"Dad….I have decided what I want to do with my life," Armaan beamed confidently.



"If it's a race car driver or an actor….I don't want to hear about it!" Abhimanyu replied sternly.



"No dad," Armaan grinned with pride, 'I want to stay in medicine."



"Really? Great! So which surgical program are you applying for?" Abhimanyu put his briefcase down as this was the first time his son had something sensible.



"No…not surgery dad," Armaan fumbled a little, "Psych…Psychiatry…..I want to be a Psychiatrist."



Abhimanyu frowned and then smirked, "Armaan….you know in a class of medical students….only the losers become Psychiatrists….remember we belong to an illustrious family of winners…..always remember your roots son….see you later." Dr Abhimanyu Mallik was off to work in his latest sports car. He just shrugged Armaan's desire to be a Psychiatrist to a new fascination his son had just acquired just like all his previous fads since childhood.




"Ek plastic surgeon ke beta….Psychiatrist?" Abhimanyu chuckled as he sped off, "is se achcha tho Shahrukh Khan jaisa actor hi ban jaata!"



Abhimanyu turned the radio on his dashboard and was amused to hear this song…..


Papa kehte hain badha naam karega….
Beta hamara aisa kaam karega…..
Magar yeh tho koi na jaana….ki meri manzil hai kahan?


He felt a little uncomfortable as the song echoed in his ears, "what rubbish! Kina bekaar gaana hai!" And turned the radio off.


…..to be contd…..

bheegi

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