Sunday, 30 September 2018

part 42 : To Err is Human

koi aaisa alam banke aayi ho
jaane kis duniya ki tum parchayi ho
bhooli bisri yaadein saath main layi ho
chayi ho chayi ho humpe chahi ho
koi aaisa alam banke aayi ho
koi haqeeqat ho ya koi saaye ho
bhooli bisri yaadein banke aaye ho
chahye ho chaye ho humpe chaye ho

RECAP: "I am proud of you Riddhima," he kissed her fingers one by one, "kabhie kabhie doori logon ko aur paas kar deti hai…waise hi jaise mere parents ko mujhse mila diya."



"Really Armaan?"


He nodded and blinked his deep blue eyes, "haan dad came to pick me up from the station…..i could tell he missed me….and mom cancelled all her patients while I was in Mumbai….we had dinner together in my outhouse after many years…..mere liye yeh hi bahut tha Riddhima…..aur ab mujhey tum bhi mil gayi ho….now I don't desire anything else in life…."




"Armaan….I am sorry, I underestimated the depth of your feelings……and also underestimated my love for you…..jaante nahin ho tumhare jaane ke baad…." She paused as Armaan placed his fingers on her lips, "sshhh….purani baaton mein time waste nahin karte…..ab mujhey bhookh lag rahi hai," he growled and nibbled at her cheek, "I wanna eat something babes."


Riddhima blushed, "abhi bhi bhookh lag rahi hai?"



"Uffo Riddhima…kitna one track mind hai tumhara?" He mocked and looked up at the ceiling, "hey bhagwan….yeh kaisi ladki ke saath mujhey baandh diya hai…..what a dirty mind she has!"


"ARMAAAAN!" She went red in the face.


"He…he…I like the way you think Riddhima," Armaan was in splits; he dressed up and headed for the kitchen.



"RIDDHIMA! RIDDHIMA!" He yelled. Riddhima slipped into a dress and yelled back, "kya hai? Itna shor kyun macha rahe ho?"



"Arre yaar….tumhare refrigerator mein tho kuch nahin hai!"


She joined him in the kitchen, "hai na….yeh freezer mein hai na…..yeh frozen dinners!" A number of boxes of ready-to-eat frozen dinners tumbled out of the freezer door.


"Tum…yeh khaati ho?" he was aghast, "itni intelligent ladki hoke…yeh junk khaati ho?"



"Armaan….I have no time to cook!"


"You have no time to cook….or you don't know how to cook?" Armaan's eyes twinkled with surprise.



A sheepish Riddhima picked the boxes from the floor, 'wo…wo..Armaan….kabhie seekha nahin cook karna…..and I hate cooking."



"Dr Armaan Mallik ki hone waali biwi hates cooking? Tauba tauba…..that's a big problem," he frowned.



"Matlab? You never told me you want to marry a girl who can cook." She sounded disappointed.



"Meri kismat hi kharab hai," he said pitifully, "na mom cooking karti thi….aur biwi bhi nakaam mil rahi hai….hey bhagwan mujhey is dharti par janam hi kyun diya aapne?"

Riddhima frowned and shut the freezer door, "pyaar karne se pehle ladki ka resume  maangna chaahiye tha….sorry….now you have to live with frozen dinners all your life." She stomped her foot and shoved a frozen tray into the microwave to thaw.




Armaan started bawling, "shaadi se pehle hi frozen dinner khila rahi hai…tho shaadi ke baad kya khilaayegi?" Riddhima was astounded at the crocodile tears flowing from his eyes.



"Now I know why everyone said you should be an actor…..itna hi shauk hai khaane ka tho khud banaa lo," she took her tray of thawed Thai noodles out of the microwave, "or we can share these noodles."




Armaan buried his nose into the steaming tray of noodles and made a disgusting face, "no way! I eat fresh food madam…..and for your information…..I am an excellent cook…..aur shaadi ke baad kabhie madam ko bhi fresh khaana khaana ho na…tho yeh bandaa haazir rahega!"




With an ear to ear grin, he took out some eggs from the refrigerator, boiled some rice and chopped onions in a jiffy. Riddhima was floored at his expertise, "yeh kab seekha tumne?"



"Madam….humney bhi judai ke din sirf ro-ro kar nahin nikaale…..ask anybody in Kasauli…..who is the best chef in town?…..Saare doctors after duty mere hi ghar aate the….with the meager supplies in your kitchen….the best I can whip up tonight is fried rice."



Riddhima smiled and got up from her seat; she threw the tray of her thawed and soggy noodles in the trash and stood next to Armaan.



"Kya dekh rahi ho?" he gave her a sideways glance.



She placed her arm around him and kissed his cheek, "you are so adorable…..aakhir ek aadmi mein saari achchi baatein kaise ho sakti hain? I am such a lucky girl."



He looked up and smiled at her, "jaanta hoon,' and winked at her, "bahut punya karne ke baad mere jaisa pati milta hai."



She chuckled and hugged him from behind, "kaash…har janam mein tumhare jaisa pati hi mile…..mujhey aur kuch nahin chaahiye."




He turned around and pulled her closer, 'aur jaanti ho mujhey kya chaahiye?"



"Bolo?"


"ki tum mujhey bas yunhi pyaar karti raho….is janam….aur har janam mein," he kissed her lips softly and buried his face in her thick tresses.


She held him close, "Armaan…..main apni saari zindagi bas yunhi guzaarna chaahti hoon…..sirf tumhari baahon mein…"



(aietbaar)


Hey Hey Hey Hun Hun
Tum Mujhe Bas Yunhi Pyaar Karti Raho
Tum Mujhe Bas Yunhi Pyaar Karti Raho
To Khushi Mere Dar Se Kahaan Jaayegi
Umr Saari Guzaareinge Ham Baanhon Mein
Umr Saari Guzaareinge Ham Baanhon Mein
Zindagi Mere Dar Se Kahaan Jaayegi
Naam Honthon Pe Teraa Subho Shaam Hai
Naam Honthon Pe Teraa Subho Shaam Hai
Bandagi Mere Dil Se Kahaan Jaayegi
Aa Aa Aa
Tumse Pahle Koi Bhi Hamaaraa Na Thaa
Aa Aa
Tumse Pahle Koi Bhi Hamaaraa Na Thaa
Pyaar Kaa Dil Mein Koi Sitaaraa Na Thaa
Chaandni Banke Tum Ab To Ghar Aa Gayee
Chaandni Banke Tum Ab To Ghar Aa Gayee
Roshni Mere Dar Se Kahaan Jaayegi
Kitnaa Maasoom Hai Pyaar Kaa Silsilaa
Hey Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho
Kitnaa Maasoom Hai Pyaar Kaa Silsilaa
Jo Mere Dil Ko Hai Tere Dil Se Milaa
Dil Se Dil Ki Kisi Dosti Ki Qasam
Dil Se Dil Ki Kisi Dosti Ki Qasam
Dosti Mere Dil Se Kahaan Jaayegi
Tum Mujhe Bas Yunhi Pyaar Karti Raho
To Khushi Mere Dar Se Kahaan Jaayegi
Naam Honthon Pe Teraa Subho Shaam Hai
Bandagi Mere Dil Se Kahaan Jaayegi



They held each other for a few moments, absorbing each other's warmth and fragrance as the rice and onions sputtered in the pan.


"Riddhima," he pulled away gently, 'hamesha baahon mein tho rahenge…lekin baahon mein baahein daalkar cooking thodi mushkil ho jaati hai."



A bashful Riddhima got out of his way and let him finish mixing the eggs to the cooked rice.


"Mmm…smells good….bilkul mama ki cooking ki yaad aa gayi," she inhaled the aroma and shut her eyes.



"Mama ke naam se yaad aaya….how's Dr Shanks Panks doing?"



'Armaan! Be respectful to my father! Tum abhi bhi!" She grit her teeth angrily.


"Oh..oh..baba…sorry….sasurjee ka respect tho karna chaahiye na…..how's Dr Gupta doing?"



"He is fine," she sighed, 'of course he was disappointed that I never completed his WHO project…..but was happy I decided to come to Hopkins."



"Ek baat batao Riddhima," he stirred the rice and turned the stove off, "why Hopkins?"



"Papa always had a fascination for this place…..perhaps that is why somewhere deep down I wanted to come here too."



"You want to know the truth?" he asked as he served the rice in two plates.



"Truth?" she asked.



"Dr Gupta and my dad competed for a surgical fellowship spot at Hopkins years ago……and my dad was accepted….since then Dr Gupta has held a grudge against my dad…..and I think he has tried to fulfill his dream through you Riddhima."



Riddhima did not show any surprise, 'jaanti hoon Armaan.....I know why our fathers have always had issues with each other…..mama told me everything."




"Tho tum yahan kyun aayi phir?"



"For myself Armaan…..jaanti hoon papa chaahte the main yahan aaun…..lekin yakeen maano….even I wanted to train here….ab main papa se nahin darrti…haan unki respect zaroor karti hoon….but I don't follow him blindly Armaan."



Armaan smiled and caressed her cheek, 'my Ridzi has grown up now."



"Haan Armaan…….tumhare jaane ke baad aur 1 saal yahan akele rehne ke baad mujhey apna bhal bura samajh aane lagaa hai."



"Good girl…but I think we still made a mistake tonight…don't you think so? We got carried away by passion and pent up emotions."




"Nahin Armaan…..maine jo kiya sab soch samajh kar kiya hai…..I have no guilt for what we did tonight…..I know we belong to each other….and now no one can come between us," she smiled tearfully.




"Thanks Riddhima," he smiled back and pulled her on to his lap. He kissed her once again and whispered softly, "can I say something though?"


"Hmm…bolo?" she snuggled close to him.


"Let's make sure we use contraception next time!"


"Armaaaan!" she smacked his chest with her soft hands and then laughed, "badmaash ho tum!"


"Badmaash hoon? Ya practical hoon?" he laughed and then fed her a spoonful of his
 simple dinner of egg fried rice.


They cleaned up like a very domesticated couple, and then relaxed together in front of the TV. Before long, they were both asleep in each other's arms on the sofa, the background drone from the TV acting as a soporific.



…………………………………………………………………………



BACK IN JAIPUR:



"Angad beta bahut achcha hua tum aa gaye…warna is pagli ko koi samjhaane waala nahin tha," Gayatri walked into the room as Kripa sobbed silently on Angad's shoulder.


An embarrassed Kripa sat up and wiped her tears with her gown, "sorry…wo main."


"Apno se sorry nahin kehte beta….Angad koi paraya thode hi hai," Suryabhan sat next to the bed and patted Kripa's arm, "kaisi ho beta….aaj ka dialysis tho khatam hone waala hai…chalo ab ghar chalte hain."


"Ghar? Is waqt Ajmer jaayenge papa?" Kripa asked.


"Nahin baba…..chacha ke yahan chalo…wahan sab tumhara intezaar kar rahe hain," Suryabhan chuckled.



"Mujhey laga sirf Harshini ko pataa hai……aapne chacha ko bhi bataa diya…..aur agar chachi ko pata hai tho iska matlab sab rishtedaaron ko pata hai," Kripa sighed.




"Haan sabko pata hai," Gayatri replied.


"Kripa….why do you want to hide your illness from others?" Angad asked.



"Wo Angad…tum samajhte nahin ho….we have a large family….and they….they will all insist on pampering me…..aur…aur," she searched for words.



"Aur kidney donation ki baat karenge…haina?" Angad looked into her eyes.



She lowered her eyes; except for the brief period before she left Mumbai, Angad had always been good at reading her thoughts.



"Haan," she replied softly


"Don't worry about that," he squeezed her hand, "I will take care of that problem."



"Tum?" she shot a glance at him. His expression validated her worst fears. He nodded his head, 'remember we have the same blood group?"



Suryabhan and Gayatri were confused, "yeh kya aankhon hi aankhon mein baatein ho rahi hain beta?"



Angad smiled and looked at her parents, "shayad Kripa ne aapko bataya nahin hoga ki ek baar meri jaan bachaane ke liye isne apna blood donate kiya tha….we happen to have the same blood type," he gave her a mischievous smile and said, 'aur waise bhi dil tho mil chuke hain….ab kidneys bhi mil jaayengi….kyun papa?"




Suryabhan and Gayatri were dumbstruck; they had never imagined this scenario before. So far, Kripa had convinced them that her only hope was a donation from a cadaver (dead person) as she had vehemently refused to get a live person to donate their kidney for her.



"Nahin Angad!" She sat up and shook her head, 'I will never let you do that!"


"Angad…you cannot do that!" Prithvi walked into the room. Angad gnashed his teeth at his sight, "what are you doing here?"



Before Prithvi could reply, Kripa intervened, 'Angad….Prithvi is training to be a Nephrologist (kidney specialist) here….he is taking care of my case."



"Kripa….you trust this guy?" Angad was shocked, and so were Gayatri and Suryabhan, as they had no idea about their past in Mumbai.



"I didn't…but now I do Angad," she looked up at Prithvi and smiled, "everyone deserves a chance…..and forgiveness…Prithvi has changed…..ab wo pehle jaisa nahin raha Angad….he has helped me a lot….aur jaante ho roz roz tumhein phone karne ki koshish karta tha….lekin main hi manaa karti thi usey."




Angad's expression softened; he knew Kripa never forgave anyone that easily and if she did forgive Prithvi, she probably had a reason.



"Haan Angad…..main jaanta tha ki sirf tum hi Kripa ko wo khushi de sakte ho jo usey theek kar sakti hai….you know how intertwined her bodies and minds are…..ilaaj bhi sirf uska ho sakta hai jo jeena chaahe….aur Kripa ki jaan tho sirf tum mein basti hai Angad," Prithvi smiled.



Angad smiled back and squeezed Kripa's hands, 'haan….aur meri Kripa mein." He looked at her affectionately.



"cough*cough*" Prithvi cleared his throat, "yahan uncle aunty ke saamne tho thodi sharam karo doston….Sanjeevgarh aur Sanjeevani mein tho nahin ki thi."



Suryabhan laughed, 'Angad ka yeh roop tho humne pehli hi mulaqat mein dekh liya tha."



Kripa pulled her hand away shyly and held her mother's hand, "mama….zara bathroom tak mere saath chaliye."



"Chalo beti."


After Kripa and Gaytri left, Angad asked, "Prithvi…why did you say I cannot donate my kidney?"



"Well Angad….the laws are very strict about live donation…..you can only donate if you are a blood relative….or…or…if you are a spouse."



"Spouse? Theek hai main aaj hi Kripa se shaadi karne ko tayyar hoon," Angad stood up and looked at Suryabhan, 'papa….please ek pandit ko bula lee jiye….I want to marry Kripa as soon as possible."



"Beta…itni jaldi….yeh kaise…ek baar Kripa se tho poonch lein," Suryabhan fumbled for words.



"And Angad you know…it's not only blood type match….we have to match the tissues too….you know HLA match is equally important…warna Kripa ki body tumhari kidney reject kar degi," Prithvi tried to explain.



"Theek hai…kar lo match….here take my blood sister!" Angad summoned a nurse.



'Angad..yeh kya kar rahe ho?" Kripa came back, "I don't want your kidney!"



"Lekin kyun?" Angad rolled up his sleeve and waited for the nurse.



Prithvi cleared his throat again, 'aunty…uncle…sister….let's give them some time alone…..hum log phir aate hain." Angad nodded his head and thanked Prithvi silently as everyone left the room.



Angad shut the door and pulled Kripa closer, 'kya baat hai Kripa? Kya mujhey itna bhi nahin karne dogi apne liye…..nahin apne liye nahin…hamare liye?"



She shook her head and bit her upper lip to hide her tears, "I can't do this to you Angad….tumhari umar hi kya hai….25 years? You have a full life ahead of you……jaante ho na donation ke baad hamesha risk rehta hai….agar tumhein kuch ho gaya tho main apne aap ko kabhie maaf nahin kar sakoongi."



"Why is everything always about YOU Kripa?" he argued, " aur agar tumhein kuch ho gaya tho kya main apne aapko maaf kar sakoonga? Aur tumhare bina jee sakoonga?"



"No Angad! I don't want you to jeopardize your life and health!" She was adamant.


Angad grabbed her waist and held her tightly, "look into my eyes Kripa…..tell me if this were me…..if I was the one in kidney failure…would you not do the same for me? Bolo Kripa? Answer me?"



As always, his argument had rendered her wordless; her misty eyes gazed into his earnest eyes. He was right; she would do anything to save his life- a shorter but happier life with him would be more desirable than a long and solitary life without him- and that's what he wanted for them too.



She nodded silently as tears flowed on her cheeks. He kissed her damp cheeks one by one and then crushed her lips with his. Kripa could not resist anymore, and parted her lips to taste the familiar sweet and pungent kiss. They held each other for several minutes, bathing in the comfort of each other's arms. A knock on the door forced them to part ways.



So, after Angad's blood had been taken to the lab to match with Kripa's, all hospital formalities completed, the Sharma's and Angad headed for Suryabhan's younger brother's house in Jaipur. The results of the match would not be available till the next day.


Being an outsider, Angad was initially hesitant about going to Kripa's chacha's house, But Suryabhan reassured him, "kaisi baat karte ho Angad? Abhi tho pandit ko bulaa rahe the…..ab keh rahe ho ki tum bahar waale ho….chalo…ab chup chap hamare saath chalo….ab tumhein Kripa se door nahin jaane doonga main….she is your responsibility…iski saari dawaaiyan…..dialysis schedule….yeh sab tum yaad rakho…main bahut budhaa ho gaya hoon……yaad bhi nahin rehta kuch ab……samjhe?"



"Theek hai papa," Angad smiled, "ab itni badhi responsibility di hai tho nibhaani hi padhegi."



"badhi nahin bahut ziddi!" Suryabhan laughed as they all walked out of the hospital.



Kripa's uncle, Aryabhan Sharma had a big, almost 100 year old bungalow in the heart of Jaipur. He was a building contractor and was obviously very well off. What struck Angad about Kripa's uncle were not only his wealth and status, but his warmth, hospitality and concern for his niece and older brother's family. Kripa was indeed lucky to have such a loving family, thought Angad. He felt guilty about not meeting her relatives two years ago when they had invited him over for Diwali. He had shunned them, thinking they were more of a hindrance and of no use to him, but after meeting them tonight, he felt petty about his way of thinking and how self centered he had been two years ago. It was magnanimous of Kripa and her family to let him walk back into the family after what he had done to them.


Aryabhan had a large family with five kids. The sons all lived in the same house with their families and Harshini, the youngest one was still unmarried.



"JIJI!" a young girl in her early 20s ran and hugged Kripa.



"Harshini…kaisi hai tu?" Kripa hugged her first cousin.



"Main tho theek hoon…par aap kaisi hain? Aur…yeh?" she looked at Angad, "yeh Angad jiju hain na?"



"Jiju?" Angad was pleasantly surprised.



"Haan bhai….Kripa jiji ne bataaya nahin….Jaipur ki har baat hamare ghar se hoke jaati hai…..aur Dr Prithvi tho aapki hamesha baat karte hain," Harshini was a chirpy young girl, as petite and cheerful as her cousin Kripa.



"Tum..tum Prithvi ko bhi jaanti ho?" Angad was even more surprised.



Harshini blushed a little as Kripa pulled her ears, "jaanti hoon roz roz hospital ke chakkar kyun lagaati thi…..mujhse milne ya phir kisi sur se?"




The three of the burst into laughter and entered the house. Angad was directed to a room near Aryabhan and Suryabhan's room. The men's rooms were separated by a large courtyard from the women's quarters. Angad was a bit disappointed to know that Kripa would be far away from him, but he knew he was a guest and had to behave himself for the few days they were going to stay in Jaipur.



A delicious, all vegetarian Rajasthani meal was served for all the guests. Angad had never tasted daal, baati, choorma, gatte…all traditional Rajasthani savories. He was force fed by all the women of the house, his status being that of the 'kunwar sahib' of the family even though he had not married Kripa yet. Kripa had not been happier in months; she realized how much she had missed her family over the last few years, and was glad that her parents and Angad had managed to track her down despite her desire to live in seclusion.



To Angad and Kripa's surprise, Prithvi joined them for dinner once he was off duty. It was not a secret, that sparks between Prithvi and Harshini were beginning to fly and each time Harshini served curry or vegetables to Prithvi, he would blush like a bride.


After dinner, the family sat around the courtyard as crickets filled the background with their annoying noise.


"Jiju…ek gaana sunaaiye na," Harshini requested.


"gaana?" Angad was stunned; this girl knew everything about him!



"Haan…baniye mat…maine suna hai aap bahut achcha gaate hain."



"gaata tha….lekin 2 saal se gaaya nahin hai," he lamented.


"Wo tho hai…jiji se door jo the aap…..theek hai aaj jiji ke liye gaana gaaiye," she smiled.


Kripa blushed at the suggestion and felt awkward, 'rehne de Harshini….Angad must be tired."



"Nahin…..main aaj gaaoonga," Angad smiled and picked the guitar from a shelf in the corner, "may I use this?" Harshini's older brother nodded, "haan haan zaroor….maine tho sirf show piece ki tarah rakha hai…..aaj iska use bhi ho jaayega."



After tuning the guitar, Angad looked at Kripa lovingly, "yeh gaana….jis ladki ke liye gaa raha hoon….wo khud samajh jayegi ki main kya kehna chaahta hoon…..jo baat mere lavz nahin keh sake….wo is geet ke zariye keh raha hoon.'



Angad sang one of my favorite songs of the year- "u me aur hum" (male version)


Kripa had tears in her eyes as she understood what Angad was implying…..they were two separate individuals yet were still inseparable…they could each retain their identity but still identify themselves as one……as long as their happiness and sorrows were one, they could still live a common dream without shattering their own dreams and ambitions…..








Apne rang gawaen bin, mere rang mein ghul jaao
Apne rang gawaen bin, mere rang mein ghul jaao
Apni dhoop bujhaye bin, meri chhaon mein aa jao
O chalo yun kare,
Tum, tum bhi raho, main, main bhi rahoon
Hum, hum bhi rahein
Tum, tum bhi raho, main, main bhi rahoon
Hum, hum bhi rahein
Teeno mil ke saath chale
Saathi janam janam, u me aur hum.
U me aur hum, U me aur hum.

Apne rang gawaen bin, mere rang mein ghul jao
Apni dhoop bujhaye bin, meri chhao mein aa jao
Tu meri khamoshiyon ka, saaz hai
Teri lafzon mein meri aawsaz hai
Tu meri khamoshiyon ka, saaz hai
Teri lafzon mein meri aawaaz hai
Raaz ye sabhi hum tum,
Jaan lein abhi hum tum.
O teri aasoo ki ladi,
Meri aankhon se bahe
Har khushi chhoti badi, tere hoton pe rahe,
O chal yun jeeyein,
Sau gham bhi ho agar, aankh nam bhi ho par
Dil dil hi rahe,
Milke saare khwaab jeeyein
Milke sabhi bharam
U me aur hum….


 …to be contd….

bheegi

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