Wednesday, 10 October 2018

part 52 : To Err is Human

Itni Shakti Humein Dena Daataa
Mann ka Vishvaas Kamzor Ho Na
Hum Chalein Nek Raste Pe Hum se
Bhoolkar Bhi Koi Bhool Ho Naa...

RECAP: "Shabbir aur Aaliyah Aggarwal!"

Angad froze in his footsteps, "Shabbir Aggarwal? Kahin yeh Dr Dilip Aggarwal ka beta tho nahin?" Bitter memories of his childhood rivalry with Naina's only spoilt and bratty son, Shabbir fogged Angad's conscience. He stood still for a few moments, unsure of whether he should keep walking or let destiny determine Shabbir and his wife's course.

He peeked into the trauma bay and his worst fears were confirmed- even though covered in blood, unconscious on a stretcher, his shirt ripped by the emergency staff to get access to his chest, oxygen mask slapped on his face- he was still Shabbir Aggarwal, his nemesis from his childhood and adolescent years.

Har Taraf Zulm Hai Bebasi Hai
Sehmaa-Sehamaa Sa Har Aadami Hai
Paap Ka Bojh Badhataa Hi Jaaye
Jaane Kaise Ye Dharti Thami Hai
Bojh Mamtaa Kaa Tu Ye Uthaa Le
Terii Rachna ka yeh ant ho na….


The overheard pager blared his name, but Angad's feet stayed frozen at the door.

"ANGAD! WHAT's UP BUDDY?" Armaan's voice interrupted Angad's reluctant thoughts, "tujhey kabse page kar rahe hain."

"Shabbir….Shabbir Aggarwal," Angad lifted his finger at the stretcher on bay 18, "he deserves this….he has no right to live Armaan….remember I told you about him…..finally he is going to get what he deserves."

Armaan was taken aback; he recalled Angad's heartrending tales from his past, but he could never imagine his friend, after taking the sacred Hippocratic oath, could let his personal differences cloud his judgment.

"Angad!" Armaan placed his arm around his friend, "Angad….tu bhagwan nahin hai….sirf ek doctor hai…..ek insaan hai."

"Haan jaanta hoon main insaan hoon…is liye insaan ki tarah soch raha hoon….I can't forgive him!"

"Ek insaan jo apni zindagi aur career ki sabse badhi bhool karne jaa raha hai? Ek aisi bhool jiske liye tu kabhie apne aap ko maaf nahin kar sakega….ANGAD…THEY NEED YOU….SHABBIR'S WIFE IS BLEEDING TO DEATH…AND IN ACTIVE LABOR DA** IT!" Armaan shook his friend vigorously to knock some sense into him.

Hum Andhere Mein Hain Roshni De,
Kho Naa De Khud Ko hi Dushmani Se,
Hum Sazaa Paaye Apne Kiye Ki,
Maut Bhi Ho To Seh Lein Khushi Se,
Kal Jo Guzraa Hai Phir se Na Guzre,
Aane vaalaa Vo Kal Aisaa Ho Naa...
Hum Chalein Nek Raste Pe Hum se,
Bhoolkar Bhi Koi Bhool Ho Naa...


Whether it was Armaan's admonishment, or second nature as a doctor, Angad's foot steps responded to the overhead page and he ran to attend the pregnant but critically injured wife of his archenemy.





Within minutes of reaching a wounded Aaliyah Aggarwal's bedside, Angad had forgotten all his personal grudges; he gave orders like he would for anyone in that condition. An unconscious, bleeding pregnant lady ready to deliver a newborn whose heartbeats sunk to deathly low levels with every contraction, were all Angad could see at this point.

All his skills that he had acquired during his training at Sanjeevani were put to test as he expedited the delivery of Aaliyah and Shabbir's newborn. A limp and blue baby girl covered in blood and vernix slid into his hands. He turned around and was surprised to see Kripa standing beside him to accept the newborn.

Kripa answered his confused look, "I am covering the newborn nursery this evening."

A very calm and unperturbed Kripa took the limp and yet-to-breath baby to the warmer and put all her effort in resuscitating the frail little lifeless baby girl. With the newborn in adept hands, Angad turned his attention to the critical mother. Within minutes, he had taken care of the afterbirth and sowed her back. Aaliyah's heart and lungs were still working strongly, but she was still unconscious from the severe head injury she had sustained in the accident.

Aaliyah was whisked away by the trauma team as soon as Angad's job was over. He turned around to help Kripa, but she had managed to revive the newborn and was on her way to the nursery.

"Kripa!" He threw his gloves and gown away and stopped her.

"I need to take the baby Angad."

"I know," he walked up to her and glanced at the tiny baby in the incubator, "thanks for being here tonight….I am glad the baby is fine." He almost choked with emotions as he said that. For some weird reason, seeing the baby alive and healthy was a big relief for him. He could not explain why, but for all the hatred he and Shabbir had shared with each other during their growing years, Shabbir was the only brother-like figure he had known. Was it possible that beneath the veneer of vengeance and retribution, there was frail little bond between the estranged men? After all, she was his mentor and father figure, the late Dr Dilip Aggarwal's grand daughter.

A puzzled Kripa asked, "sounds like this baby means a lot to you…..kya baat hai Angad?"

"Nahin …uh….kuch nahin…tum jao….main tumse baad mein milta hoon," he turned his back to her and stayed back in the emergency room. With heavy footsteps, he walked towards Shabbir's bed.

Shabbir was still unconscious, but had been cleared of any major internal injuries. A team of interns worked on his lacerations and abrasions on his face and body as they waited for his CT scans report.

Flashes from the past invaded Angad's thoughts as he recalled his last meeting with Shabbir and his mom, Damini.

Eight years ago:

Door Agyaan Ke Ho Andhere
Tu HumeiN Gyaan Ki Roshni De
Har Buraai Se Bachke RaheiN Hum
Jitnii Bhi De, Bhalii Zindagii De
Bair Ho Naa Kisi kaa Kisii se
Bhaavanaa Man MeiN Badale Kii Ho Naa...
Hum Chalein...

Dr Dilip Aggarwal had just passed away from a heart attack. The Aggarwal household was gripped with sadness and grief.

As family and friends mourned around the deceased doctor's body, Angad, then 17 walked over to touch his feet. As soon as he bent down, an angry 16 year old Shabbir stood up and kicked Angad in the face. Angad fell face down on the hard marble floor, his nose bleeding profusely from the impact. The crowd was stunned and tried to separate the two hot blooded young men from each other.

"SHABBIR BETA…CHHODO USEY….WO THO SIRF EK NAUKAR HAI!" An elderly relative helped Shabbir settle down on the floor with the rest of the.

"Nahin mamaji! Yeh ek kamina chor…..badmaash….awaara…laawaris ladka hai….isney mere dad ko maara hai!" Shabbir yelled.

"Nahin beta….Dilip ko dil ka daura padha tha!"

"Nahin…isney dad ko zeher diya tha…kal raat ko khaana isney banaya tha…I know it….he should be kicked from this house! He was here because dad pampered him….he doesn't deserve to be here….he should rot in hell!"

Meanwhile, Angad was trembling with rage. He gathered himself and stood up, "Tu kya bahar nikaalega mujhey! Main khud hi jaa raha hoon….aur ek din Dr Dilip se bhi badha doctor bankar dikhaaunga tujhey!"

"Doctor?" Shabbir sneered, "aur tu? Naali se aaya hai….wahin jaakar sadhega……sharabi ka bachcha hai tu….doctor ban ne ka sapna dekhta hai saala! Tu anath aur teri aane waali sab peedhiyan (generations) anath! You will all rot in hell!"

A couple of security guards caught hold of Angad's arms as Damini signaled them to throw him out of the premises.

An infuriated Angad yelled back, "anath mere bachche nahin….tere bachche honge….unhein na maa ka pyaar milega…aur na baap ka….mere yahan naukar bankar rahenge….dekhna!"


Was it an irony of fate or divine intervention that Angad's prophecy or his curse was at the brink of coming true? He shuddered at that thought- what if both Aaliyah and Shabbir did not make it? Was that baby girl he just delivered destined to be an orphan like he had wished for in his fit of anger and humiliation? Where was Damini? And their other relatives? He still remembered their old home phone number. Did they still live there?

He glanced at Shabbir's bedside chart and flipped through his personal information that the hospital had gathered from his wallet and driver's license. Their address and phone number had changed. He was surprised that their address read the very modest
neighborhood of 'Ghatkopar' rather than the prestigious 'Malabar hills'  where they lived in his time. He dialed the phone number but there was no answer. Where was Damini? Why should he care? Memories of the wicked woman left a bitter taste in his mouth. He walked away as soon as he could and took the elevator to the nursery to join Kripa instead. There was no way he could spend any more time at Shabbir's bedside. He had paid back his dues to Dr Dilip Aggarwal by saving his granddaughter; now he could care less about Shabbir or his wife's fate.


Shabbir had regained consciousness but was admitted to the general floor for his minor injuries and fractured arm.

"Congratulations Mr Aggarwal!" Kripa walked in with a baby.

"Oh doctor…aap?" Shabbir sat up, still sore all over, but delighted to see the cute bundle in the pretty doctor's arms. Kripa helped him old his daughter with his plastered arm, "bahut pyaari bachchi hai."

"Bilkul apni maa par gayi hai," Shabbir smiled, "thanks for saving her doctor."

"I just did my job Shabbir jee….waise zyaada credit tho aapko Dr Khanna ko dena chaahiye….he skillfully delivered her as soon as he could."

"Dr Khanna? I would like to thank him personally….kahan hain wo?"

"Abhi bhejti hoon….he has gone to check on your wife in the ICU."

"Aaliyah kaisi hai? When can I see her?" Shabbir's eyes welled up at the thought of his lovely wife in the ICU.

"She ….she," Kripa hesitated, "she sustained a major head injury….ho sakta hai hosh aane mein waqt lage…..lekin aap apni beti ke saath Aaliyah jee ko milne jaa sakte hain….actually that might help her too."

"Thanks Dr Sharma… are very kind."

"Kripa….you can call me Kripa."

"Thanks Kripa." He smiled back.

As she left his room, she bumped into Angad in the hallway.

"Angad….Shabbir has regained consciousness….he would like to meet you," she touched his arm. Angad's expression stiffened, "I am busy….i don't have time to meet him."

'Angad!" She was startled by his response; she had never seen him be that callous about a patient, "kya baat hai? You are hiding something from me….kal raat se bilkul chup chup ho….what's the matter?"

"Kuch nahin Kripa!" He pulled away from her, "I have a case waiting in the OR"

"No you don't Angad! Jhooth mat bolo mujhse….do you know Shabbir?" she shook his arm.

"YES I DO!" he snapped back, "he is Dr Dilip Aggarwal's son…..and I hate him….aur kuch sun na chaahti ho tum? I am sure you remember what I have told you about Dr Dilip's son and wife……..aur agar tumhein yaad hai tho tum mujhse aur kuch sawaal nahin poochogi…..aur na hi mujhey Shabbir se milne ke liye majboor karogi!"

"Sorry Angad…I don't agree with you….what Shabbir did eight years ago has no relevance to your relationship with him now…..he is your patient's husband…..he has every right of knowing how is wife is doing…..and you will talk to him!"

"No…I won't!"

"Yes you will! Agar Aaliyah ki jagah main hoti tho? Kya tumhein haq nahin hota mere doctor se baat karne ka?" As usual she had touched a sore chord and turned the tables on him. The thought of Kripa lying in the ICU sent a shiver through his spine. He looked down and whispered, "theek hai Kripa….I will go…just for you."

"Nahin Angad….mere liye nahin….Shabbir ke liye," she smiled tearfully as Angad walked hesitantly to Shabbir's room.

"Hi Shabbir!" Angad's deep baritone startled Shabbir as he played with his daughter on his lap. Shabbir's face fell as he looked up, his gaze rested on Angad's badge- Dr ANGAD KHANNA, OBSTETRICS.

The two men stared blankly at each other, unable to compose any civilized words after their last crude and hateful exchange of words.

Shaabir lowered his gaze and stared at his beautiful daughter, "Angad…..I mean Dr Khanna……thanks for saving my little girl…..main tumhara ehsaan zindagi bhar nahin bhoolunga."

"How are you feeling?" Angad asked coldly.

"Main theek hoon…..lekin meri Aaliyah…wo kaisi hai? Kya wo theek ho jaayegi Angad? Uske alaawa mera zindagi mein aur koi nahin hai," a tear fell from Shabbir's eyes on the baby's delicate fingers.

"aur tumhari maa……yaani Damini aunty?"

"She died two years ago from drug overdose…..she committed suicide Angad… ke jaane ke baad….aur tumhare jaane ke baad hamari family jaise bikhar gayi thi… made some bad business decisions and invested all of dad's earnings in wrong places….within two years we were on the streets…..I barely completed my B.A from a local college……wahan Aaliyah se mulaqat huyi meri…..she is a wonderful girl Angad….she gave me all the love and values which my parents never gave me….she helped mom get a job at a local retail store….but mom was used to her luxurious life style…..she could not take it anymore…….she started drinking heavily…..and then one day killed herself…..hamare saare rishtedaar bhi humein chhod kar chale gaye Angad… took me awhile to realize that all they cared for was dad's status and wealth……….they did not want to support an alcoholic lady and her unemployed son…..iss liye Angad meri zindagi mein sirf Aaliyah hi sab kuch hai…..I..I can understand how you must have felt all those years without any family or anyone who loved you," Shabbir looked up with eyes full of tears, "I am sorry mere bhai…..maine tere saath bahut zyaadti kari….I hope you can forgive me one day…..I know if dad were alive, he would be proud to see you here at Sanjeevani…..I hope I can redeem myself in your eyes one day."

Hum Na SocheiN HumeiN Kya Milaa Hai
Hum Ye SocheiN Kiyaa Kyaa Hai Arpan
Phool KhushiyoN Ke BaateiN Sabhii Ko
Sabkaa Jeevan Hii Ban Jaaye Madhuban
Apani Karunaa Ko Jab Tu Bahaa De
Karde Paavan Har Ik Man Kaa Konaa...
Hum Chalein...

Shabbir's words melted all the bitterness and hatred Angad had harbored over the years. Kripa stood at the door with hazy eyes, full of tears. Angad was speechless and overwhelmed with emotions; he touched Shabbir's shoulder and whispered, "you don't have to say anything more….agar apna bhai maante ho tho maafi mat maango Shabbir." Angad hid his tears and turned his face, "let's go and see Aaliyah." He helped Shabbir to a wheel chair as Kripa came forward to take the baby in her arms.

The four of them walked towards the ICU with Angad pushing Shabbir's wheelchair, just like an elder brother would after his injured and misguided brother had just regained lucidity and clarity of thought.


Shabbir, Kripa, Angad and the little baby, Isha became one big family. Angad insisted that Shabbir and Isha stay with him till Aaliyah had recovered. Isha found a foster mother and grandmother in the form of Kripa and Gayatri, while Shabbir found a family to support him during this time of crisis. Aaliyah had started showing signs of recovery and had started responding to commands by gently nodding her head or raising her finger. She faded in and out of consciousness as the days went by, each day better than the previous.

Armaan became good friends with Shabbir and soon realized that Shabbir was suffering from major psychological trauma thanks to his dominant and cold mother, childhood rivalry with Angad which was mostly orchestrated by Damini, his parent's death and most of all his guilt regarding his cruel behavior towards Angad. Armaan spent hours talking to Shabbir about his fears, anxieties and his feelings. One thing was clear to Armaan- that Shabbir loved his wife and child a lot and considered Angad and Kripa his closest family now. He admired the way Angad and Kripa had accepted him with open arms despite Angad's bitter experience with Shabbir and his mother.

One day, as Armaan was talking to a lab tech at Sanjeevani about a sample mix up, the techs on the other table, mentioned something that caught his attention.

"Arre bhai kitne accident victims ke samples test kar chuke hain…lekin Dr Kripa ke liye match hi nahin milta." One of the dejected lab techs stared at the two test tubes in his hand.

"Haan yaar….bechari bina transplant ke hi na mar jaaye…..bahut nek doctor hain wo."

"Arre kuch hafte pehle aaya than a perfect match…..kaash wo aadmi mar gaya hota….kum se kum uski kidney tho kaam aa jaati."

Armaan rushed towards the lab techs, "kaun tha wo accident victim?

"Arre doctor saheb aap? Wo…wo….kuch nahin….hum tho bas aise hi…sorry doctor saheb….hum naam nahin bataa sakte kyunki patient zinda hai…..aur transplant donor nahin hai ab"

Armaan pulled out his wallet and stuffed a bundle of rupees in each tech's pockets, "ab bataa do….it will stay confidential."

"Jee…jee sir…wo …wo Shabbir Aggarwal!"


"Jee haan sir…..unka blood sample Kripa jee se perfect match tha…..O negative aur 6 out of 6 HLA match!"

Armaan smiled and handed them a few more bills, "thanks yaar….bhagwan jo karta hai achcha hi karta hai."

Armaan left the lab and dialed Riddhima.

"Hi sweetheart….sorry tumhein jagaa diya."

"Tumhari yaad mein soti hi kab hoon jaan?" Riddhima drawled amorously on the other line.

"oye hoye….meri line mujhpar hi use karti hai soniye," he kissed the mouthpiece, 'achcha wapas kab aa rahi ho?"

"Next week….I can't wait."

"Me too…..ek ek din…"

"saal ki tarah lagta hai," she chuckled and completed his most often repeated sentence.

"Ok baba, apne pagal deewane ka mazaak udha lo……ho sake tho jaldi aa jaana," he whispered.

"Armaan….i need to finish up some work jaan…..jaldi kaise aa sakti hoon?"

"Achcha mere liye nahin tho Kripa ke liye hi sahi," he challenged her.

"What? Did she find a match?" Riddhima jumped out of her bed excitedly.

"Yahi samjho!"

"Samjho matlab?" her face fell.

"Apne Armaan par bharosa hai?" he asked.

"Khud se bhi zyaada," she replied huskily.

"Tho phir jaldi aa jao….love you," he kissed the phone again.

She kissed him back and promised, "love you too jaan……tumne pukara aur hum chale aaye." She giggled and hung up as Armaan tried to inhale her fragrance through the thousands of cables separating them.

………… be contd………….


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