Tuesday, 2 October 2018

part 44 : To Err is Human


IN THE CANCER WARD AT HOPKINS:


"Hi Ridz! You seem real happy today….what's up hun?" Laura, a co-resident with Riddhima quipped. Riddhima, who was humming a song as she charted her clinic notes, smiled at her favorite colleague in the department, "Oh..well….a good friend of mine from India surprised me last night by showing up at my door."



"Wow…..that's a treat…..a friend from med school?" Laura asked.


"No…..we were together during our internship."


"Good to see a smile on your face girl….I'm off to the ICU…see you later," Laura grabbed her clipboard and headed off towards the elevator.




A buoyant Riddhima, even though sleep deprived and exhausted, had not felt so bright and breezy in ages. She mumbled to herself, "Armaan…..I love you…..kaash tum hamesha mere kareeb rehte." She had left him sleeping on the couch that morning. He looked so handsome yet so childlike with his legs dangling in one corner, shirt partially tucked in; arms floundering all over the couch. She blushed as she recalled the kiss she had planted on his lips to which he had groaned in pleasure.


"Mere baare mein soch rahi thi?" Armaan's voice over her head stunned her.



"Tum? Tum yahan kya kar rahe ho?"


"Tum ne pukaara…..aur hum chale aaye…..jaan hatheli par le aaye re…" he grinned and hummed an old song. A nurse walking by gave them a curious look.



'Armaan," she whispered, "you are embarrassing me…..yeh Sanjeevani nahin hai….America hai…..please ghar wapas jao….I will see you in the evening."


"Kyun America mein romance karna paap hai? As far as I recall, the US of A is a free country which believes in freedom of speech and expression…..main nahin jaata….bolo kya kar logi?" He planted his feet firmly in front of her, blocking her way.


"Armaaaan! Yeh kya bachpana hai? Please leave!" She clenched her teeth, surveying her surroundings for any bystanders.



With a pitiable pout on his face, he hung his head and spoke softly, "Riddhima…mujhey nahin pataa that um is type ki ladki ho."



"Kiss type ki?" Her eyes widened with surprise.



"Ladkon ki izzat se khelne waali," he sniffed emotionally, "jaanti nahin ho…izzat hi ek mard ka gehna hota hai….aur kal raat maine apni izzat tumhare hawaale kar di…..aur ab jab matlab nikal gaya hai…..mujhey ek makkhi ki tarah doodh se nikaal rahi ho."



A bemused Riddhima suppressed her chuckles at Armaan's histrionics.



"Haan main aisi hi hoon!" She said firmly with a serious face, "matlabi…..and lusty! Ab jao…..mujhey kaam karne do….I will see you in the evening."



"Tum sab ladkiyan ek jaisi hoti ho…..lascivious……and….and salacious!"  He turned around, dejected and disgraced by Riddhima's spurn.



Riddhima rolled her eyes as Armaan departed the ward. Her stern expression changed to a crimson and coy smile the instant he was out of sight. She blew a kiss behind his back and whispered, "aise hi rehna Armaan…..nautanki baaz….I love it!"


A few moments later, a restless Riddhima decided to wander around the wards in search of Armaan. She was sure, he was still hanging around, hoping to catch a glimpse of her or nab her in a secluded corner. She licked her lips as she recalled his succulent kisses from last night.



As she walked down towards the long corridor to the ICU, her gaze straying at all the patients and visitors in the hallway, she was disappointed at not seeing Armaan, "kahin sach much naaraaz tho nahin ho gaya?"




"Hey Ridz…..come here sweety…..I want you to meet someone!" Laura's voice from the other end interrupted her thoughts. A man stood next to her with his back to her. As she approached them, she was stunned to see Armaan next to Laura.



"Ridz….this is Arrrman from Mumbaayi…..and Arrrman…this Ridz…also a resident here…..what a coincidence…you both are from the same city!" Laura introduced them to each other.



Armaan folded his arms and remarked, "Laura…..I don't think I know Ridz…..you know Mumbai is a big city…..I don't think we have met," he extended his hand to shake Riddhima's.

 A furious Riddhima remained silent and decided to play along. Instead of giving her his hand, she folded both palms, "Namaste Armaan jee….aap tho jaante hain hamare bharat mein namashkaar kiya jaata hai…..aap kaise hain? Mumbai mein aap kya karte hain? Aur yahan kyun aaye hain?"


A sheepish Armaan cleared his throat and folded his palms in return, "jee main ek Psychiatrist hoon…..aur yahan maujja manaane aaya tha jee!"



"Tho is gori ke saath maujja shaujja kyun nahin maanate jee?" Riddhima smiled with clenched teeth.


"Jee…wo hi soch riya tha main," Armaan rubbed his neck playfully.



Laura watched the ping pong exchange of an alien language between the two Indian doctors, "hey…hey guys….can we speak English here?….I thought only French have that bad habit …..I had no idea Indians do that too!"



"Sorry Laura….I got carried away," Riddhima lowered her eyes, "it's just weird running into someone from the same city."



Armaan grinned and put his hands in his pocket, "so Laura….then do we have a date tonight?"


A stunned Riddhima stared at his face in disbelief.



'Sure Arrrman…I have never dated an Indian guy before….i would love to…..why don't we meet in the hospital lobby at 5….I will be off work by then," Laura was a bit taken aback at this Indian man's forthrightness, but she found him cute and he seemed like a nice guy, so she did not mind.



"Laura…..I would love to see Washington D.C with you tonight! I have heard they have some cool nightclubs," Armaan glanced at Riddhima with the corner of his eyes to see her expression. She stood there flabbergasted, with her jaws hanging to her knees.



"Oh…so you have done your homework….sure….we can take the train to D.C…here is my cell number…..call me if you need me," Laura smiled and took off, "bye Ridz….see'ya later!"




Once Laura was out of sight, Riddhima stomped her feet and folded her arms angrily, "kyun uske emotions ke saath khel rahe ho?"




"Main khel raha hoon?" Armaan raised his eyebrows, "mere emotions….aur meri izzat ke saath tho tum khel rahi ho….aur ilzaam mujhpar? Yeh tho wo baat ho gayi……Ulta chor kotwaal ko daante!"


"Dekhti hoon tum kisi aur ke saath date par kaise jaate ho!" Riddhima's nostrils flared.




"Challenge kar rahi ho mujhey?" he came face to face with her, "yaad rakho Dr Riddhima….Dr Mallik believes in variety….after all variety is the spice in life…..and I would love to add an American girl to my illustrious resume…..so you don't have a chance my dear." He teased her and strode towards the elevator.


"Where are you going Armaan?"



"Coffee-break dear," his slanting smile and the twinkle in his eyes told her he was up to some mischief, "with another blonde." He grinned and stepped into the elevator.



Riddhima tried to follow him but the elevator door shut on her face before she could step in.


……………………………………….


CAFETERIA:


Riddhima spotted Armaan on a table with an Indian couple instead of a blonde, "yeh tho Rahul aur Muskaan hai," her anger vanished in this air as she figured Armaan had been kidding about the blonde.


"Hi Rahul….hi Muski," she hugged her friends.


"Hi Riddhima….humein bataaya nahin ki Armaan yahan hai?" Muskaan complained.



"Wo mujhse milne thode hi aaya hai….how would I know?" Riddhima pouted.



"Absolutely Muskaan….main tho yahan sightseeing ke liye aaya tha," Armaan taunted.



"Oh yeah?" Rahul slapped Armaan's back, "we all know why you are here Armaan…chal Muskaan…..let's go back to the lab…..leave these love birds with each other…..I am happy for both of you." Rahul smiled and patted Riddhima's shoulder as he left. He had seen Riddhima wilt away like a dead leaf in the last two years; he was pleased to see the spirit and spunk back in his dear friend.




Armaan and Riddhima were now face to face. They rested their elbows on the table and gazed into each other's eyes for some time and exchanged unspoken words.



"Lagta hai hamari zubaan sirf ladhna jaanti hai…..lekin aankhein sirf ek doosre ke pyaar mein doobna chaahti hain," he broke the silence with an amorous drawl.



"Tho kya yeh aankhein aaj meri aankhon se Washington D.C dekhna chaahengi?" She asked huskily.



"Laura ka kya hoga phir?" he came closer, his face inches away from hers as curious onlookers stopped by to observe the very-much-in-love couple seated in the middle of the cafeteria.



She was oblivious of the numerous pairs of eyes on them as his mesmerizing deep blue eyes elavated her to a new plane.



"Don't worry about Laura…..aakhir ek nautanki baaz ki premika hoon….kuch tho asar hoga," she chuckled and dialed a number on her cell.



"Hey Laura……it's me Ridz….I just came down with a fever….cough…cough," she pretended to sound hoarse, "I am afraid I cannot work this afternoon…..do you mind covering for me….Oh thanks Laura….I owe you one."




Armaan was aghast at Riddhima's histrionics on the phone, "ab Laura ki emotions ka kya hoga? Aren't you playing with her emotions? Jab usey pataa chalega tho bechari ka dil toot jaayega "




Riddhima grabbed his hand and stood up, "ab begaane dil toot jaayein…tho toot jaayein……jisey roothna hai rooth jaaye…let's go….we have a train to catch!"



A spellbound Armaan followed her like a lamb. Please enjoy this wonderful song to express AR's feelings as they take the train to Washington D.C from Baltimore…..

(from socha na tha)




O yaara rab rus jaan de
deewana jag chutt jaan de
mein tera dil banke rahoon
begane dil tut jaan de
ab saathiya nayee manzilen naya raasta hai tumhara hamara
O yaara rab rus jaan de
deewana jag chutt jaan de
mein tera dil banke rahoon
begane dil tut jaan de
ab saathiya nayee manzilen naya raasta hai tumhara hamara
O yaara rab rus jaan de
haye... deewana jag chutt jaan de
jamane ko chhod dein
riwazon ko tod dein
tootein na sapne kabhi
hain nazuk yeh sapne sabhi
ho... behti hawaoon ko bhi
aa mil ke mod dein
aisa irada karen, aa dono wada karen
ho... ab sathiya irada yahi hai wada yahi tumhara hamara
O yaara rab rus jaan de
deewana jag chutt jaan de
mein tera dil banke rahoon
tumko hi dekha karen
tumko hi socha karen
ruthein tumhee se sanam
tumse hi bola karen
jita karoon pyar mein
utna koi naa kare
aisa koi ho jahan
ho apne jameen aasmaan
ab saathiya aisa jahan
banega yahan tumhara hamara
O yaara rab rus jaan de
deewana jag chutt jaan de
ho... mein tera dil banke rahoon
begane dil tut jaan de
ab saathiya nayee manzilen naya raasta hai tumhara hamara
O yaara rab rus jaan de...



They spent the whole day roaming around the beautiful capital city of the US. Even though, Riddhima had been living in the US for the last year and a half, she had never ventured out to see the big city. Armaan's pocket book guided them to various museums – the Smithsonian, the Holocaust museum, Air and Space museum but it was the Gallery of art that fascinated him the most.


"Armaan…chalo bhi ab….kab tak art gallery mein baithe rahenge?" Riddhima protested.



'Dekhne do na Riddhima…I am getting ideas on how to do a nude portrait," he teased her.



"Nude portrait?" she was shocked, "kiska?"



"Hai ek ladki," he smiled, "thodi sharmilee…thodi masoom…..thodi pagal….thodi buddhu! Meri hone waali biwi!"



"I will never let you do a nude portrait of mine!" she exclaimed.


"Theek hai…..kisi aur ko le aaoonga," he chided.


"Khabardaar!" she snapped back.


"Tho tayyar ho phir?" he whispered in to her ear.


Shyly, she nodded, "haan…lekin shaadi ke baad."


"Fine….that will be my honeymoon present to my wife," he grabbed her waist firmly and kissed her lips softly.



"Main us din ka intezaar karoongi."


"Main bhi," he smiled and walked out with her hand in hand.






By the end of the evening they were exhausted and worn out.


"Let's get some dinner sweetheart!" he suggested.



"Ok…let's go for Chinese."


"Naa…desi!"


"Desi kyun? India se aaye ho…desi kyun khaana chaahte ho?"


"Kyunki mujhey sirf desi cheezein hi pasand hain….andar se bhi aur bahar se bhi," he winked and checked her out with his piercing gaze from head to toe.


"I love you Armaan," she hid her face in his chest.


"I love me too," he chuckled and caressed her hair.


"Kya kaha?" she looked up.


"Uh…wo…mera matlab hai…I love you too." They both burst out in laughter and found an Indian restaurant to satiate their appetite.


They sat across from each other, fingers intertwined on top of that table; the glimmer   from the dimly lit candle gave the ambience a subdued but romantic flavor. Without saying much, their eyes danced with the flicker of the flame. The soft sounds of santoor in the background and aroma of the freshly cooked naans and tandoori chicken at the adjacent table aroused their senses further.



"Riddhima…..kuch kaho na," he said softly, "say something romantic….warna tandoori chicken ki khushboo se mere pait mein choohe kood te rahenge."




She chuckled and squeezed his fingers with hers, "kya romance se pait bhar jaayega tumhara?"


"Absolutely…..I can live, sleep, eat, drink romance baby…..give it a shot!"


"Achcha?" her eyes twinkled, "Ok..I will keep saying romantic and sweet nothings to you…..promise me you will not eat a bite of the food then."



"As long as you can keep saying romantic things….I promise I will not touch the food tonight."



Riddhima smiled and traced circles on his hands with her fingers; she rolled her tongue and whispered softly, "Armaan pehle aankhein bandh kar lo…..phir main boloongi aur tum suno."



'Ok…done!" He shut his eyes and anxiously waited for her to say sweet nothings for a change.



"Armaan tumhari baatein mujhey haule haule behkaa deti hain…tumhari khushboo se mera mann dolne lagta hai…..tum hi meri saanson ko mehkaa te ho…"


Armaan smiled and welcomed her flattering words with a deep sigh, 'aur bolo Riddhima…..i love it..tum kitni badal gayi ho jaanu….."



"Tum mere khwaabon mein chupe rehte ho……jab meri dhadkan tumhari dhadkan se milti hai….tho aasmaan ke saare rang khul jaate hain…..jab tumhari ungliyaan mere tann ko chooti hain tho aisa lagta hai patton par shabnam gir jaati hai…..aur jab main tumhari baahon mein chup jaati hoon…tho ek nasha sa chaa jaata hai…."



Armaan peered through one eye as he was really surprised to hear the flowery language from Riddhima. He was astounded to see her listening intently to her iPOD with headphones dangling from her ears.


Armaan opened his eyes and pursed his lips, "jaaniye……summer 2007 ka gaana suna kar tum mujhey pagal banaa rahi ho?"


"Oh sorry," she removed her ear plugs, 'what do you expect Armaan? After all I am a doctor….not a poet….or a shaayara."



"Pyaar mein log kya kya nahin seekh jaate," he frowned, "you can at least be original! Ek gaane ke lyrics suna rahi thi mujhey!"



'Sorry," she touched her ears, "I could not see you go hungry again…..that is why I cheated."


Armaan scrunched his nose and kissed her hand, "I loved it….tho kya hua agar original nahin tha tho….but I hope you meant every word of the song."


"Actually I didn't understand the song," she teased him.


" Yeah right!" He chuckled, "chalo let's eat."



The waiter laid their food between them, "enjoy your dinner…"



'Yes…we will."


Enjoy this wonderful VM on AR by Tara on the song Riddhima just narrated lines from….




http://youtube.com/watch?v=VGGojIB9uF0





Later, they danced and hung around at a nightclub, then headed back to Riddhima's apartment.



…………………………………………………


RIDDHIMA's APARTMENT:


Armaan stretched his legs and plunked on the sofa, "yaar…..this couple's life is tiring man….I'm exhausted…..you are a slave driver madam!"


"You are probably jet lagged and sleep deprived…don't blame me," Riddhima replied.



"Chalo yaar….let's sleep," he headed towards her bedroom but she blocked his way, 'aaj nahin Armaan…..ab shaadi tak wait karo."



"What? I am not allowed to sleep till I get married?"



"Nahin buddhu!" She smacked his head, "aaj bahar couch par sona padhega…..kal raat ki tarah yahan kuch nahin hoga."



"Lekin jaaneman," he drawled, 'raat ka nasha abhi….aankh se gaya nahin."



"Tho raat bhar sapne dekho…..bye…goodnight!" She shut the door on his face. Armaan pouted and went back to the couch. He was fast asleep within minutes of hitting the sofa.



'RING! RING!"


"Yeh itni raat ko kaun phone kar raha hai?" A bleary eyed Armaan picked his cell phone from the coffee table and answered sleepily, 'hellooo…kaun?"



As soon as he heard the deep baritone on the other line, he sat up and rubbed his eyes, 'ANGAD? Saale kahan hai tu? I tried calling you several times after I landed in the US…..mujhey Mumbai mein bhi nahin mila……mom told me you had some urgent matter to attend to…..where is Kripa yaar? Kahan hain sab log?"


ANGAD: Yaar khud hi bak bak karta rahega kya? Can I explain?


ARMAAN: It better be a good excuse man


ANGAD: Better than yours for disappearing from Sanjeevani for two years?


ARMAAN: Ok baba…..you are still mad at me?


ANGAD: Of course I am.


ARMAAN: Ok…I owe you all an apology…..but guess what…..Riddhima and I are back together now.



ANGAD: Why am I not surprised? (chuckles) After all you didn't go to the US for sight seeing!


ARMAAN: Yeah (blushes)….we need to get married soon yaar



ANGAD: Need to? Ya want to? Need to ka matlab…ehem …ehem? (chuckles)


ARMAAN: Kuch aisa hi samajh….par bataa tuney phone kaise kiya…and where is my sis Kripa?



There was a dead silence on the phone



ARMAAN: Angad…..where is Kripa da** it?


ANGAD: (sounding despondent) She is fine…..but….not so fine yaar (his voice choked with emotions)


ARMAAN: ANGAD! What's up? (Armaan is knocking at Riddhima's door by now as he senses something ominous about Kripa)


ANGAD: (silence- just his soft sobs are audible. Angad was in his room alone and since he had met Kripa, had not let out his worst fears in front of anyone but could not hold back his tears as he talked to his best friend) She….she …..(he could not complete the sentence)…can you bring a portable home dialysis machine from the US Armaan? She has renal failure…..end stage….




ARMAAN: (stunned and speechless stood with the phone in front of a sleepy but curious Riddhima) Main aa raha hoon Angad……I will be there as soon as possible…..yaar tu fikar mat kar…..meri behen ko kuch nahin hoga…




…………………….to be contd…………………….

bheegi

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