Thursday, 11 October 2018

part 53 : To Err is Human

Armaan was on a mission- how to convince, not coax or coerce Shabbir into donating his precious kidney to his foster brother's wife-to-be. It was a complicated relationship and a tricky problem. One wrong move and the delicate bridge that had just been resurrected between the once-upon-a-time enemies could crumble into pieces. He could not afford for Shabbir to misconstrue the situation and assume that their new found friendship and relationship was based on deceit and manipulation. He had to put all his skills as a Psychiatrist into practice without twisting Shabbir's arm.

Next day, Armaan dropped by when Kripa was due for her dialysis session. He joined Shabbir in the living room along with baby Isha, while Angad helped Kripa behind closed doors with her dialysis. Armaan fidgeted in his seat, anxiously awaiting the right moment to broach the subject. As if on cue, baby Isha decided to be an accomplice in Armaan's secret mission. As Shabbir fed her with a bottle, she let out a series of loud grunts as a faint odor filled the room.

"Shabbir….Isha needs a nappy change yaar," Armaan pinched his nose.

"Oh really?" Shabbir looked confused, not sure what to do, "Armaan…Kripa has been changing her nappies so far….mera haath ka cast bhi abhi hi nikla hai…..ab kya karoon?"

"Bhajan gaana shuru kar de!" Armaan replied sarcastically.

"Bhajan?" Shabbir was even more perplexed, "lekin main tho gaana bhi nahin jaanta yaar."

"Yaar….tu bhi na," Armaan shook his head, "jaa Kripa ke room se iski nappies le aa….I will hold her."

"Kripa's room? But the door is locked….I don't want to disturb her."

"Theek hai apni beti ko gande nappie mein rakhna 3 ghante tak!"

"Teen ghante? What are Angad and Kripa doing? Abhi tho unki shaa-aadi bhi nahin huyi na?" Shabbir scratched his head.

"Nahin huyi," Armaan said seriously, "aur tab tak nahin hogi jab tak Kripa theek nahin ho jaati."

"Kyun? What's wrong with her? I know she has a bandage on her arm….lekin aisa kya hua?"

"She has kidney failure….and right now she is undergoing a dialysis treatment inside… will see with your own eyes," he replied softly and then looked at Shabbir, "….ab jao aur nappie le aao."

A stunned Shabbir looked to and fro between Armaan and Kripa's door. Hesitantly, he knocked at her door and walked in to the loud drone of the machine. He was shocked to see the long catheters hanging from her veins and circulating filtered blood back into her system. Armaan's words- she is in kidney failure……can't marry till she is well echoed in his mind. He felt sorry for the couple in front of him, especially now that his own wife was battling with her life in the hospital. Angad sat next to Kripa caressing her hands gently and smiled at Shabbir as he walked in.

Quietly, Shabbir picked the nappies and walked out of her room, tears welling up in his eyes at the tender sight.

'Armaan?" Shabbir kneeled down, "does she have to do this all her life? Is this her only treatment?"

Armaan placed Isha down on the couch and glanced at Shabbir, "no Shabbir….she is just buying time….yeh ilaaj nahin….ghaav par sirf bandaid hai samjho…..she really needs a kidney transplant….but can't find a match."

"Really? Is it that hard to find a match?"

"Apparently," Armaan sighed, "unless accidently, one stumbles upon a sample of a recent accident victim in the lab which is a perfect match…..but can't do anything about it."

"What do you mean? Do you know someone like that?"

"Yes!" Armaan paused, "you Shabbir…..I am sorry but I just found out yesterday….it was an accident…..I was in the lab and found out…..jab tumhara accident hua tha… unhone sample match kiya tha."

Shabbir collapsed on the floor and stared blankly at the ceiling. He took a deep sigh and then got up to pick Isha. Silently, he changed her nappie and then glanced up at Armaan, "why did you wait till today Armaan?"

Armaan was stunned by his question, "I..I…could not Shabbir….how could I? This is about your life as much as Kripa's."

"No Armaan…..this is about Angad's life as much as mine or Kripa's. Kripa is his life Armaan.  I want to give Angad happiness……something I deprived him of while growing up. This could be my only chance for redemption ….you know all about me… past….my relationship with my mom….with Angad….why would you want to deprive me of this opportunity? Kya karna hoga mujhey?"

Armaan took Isha back from him and smiled tearfully, "kuch paper work….medical exam…..permission from the government…….and then surgery….kya kar sakoge yeh sab? Ek choti bachchi hai tumhari….wife hospital mein hai."

"Haan….I have more support than I ever will….yahan Gayatri aunty hain Isha ke paas hain….Aaliyah is still recovering in the hospital….I have virtually no responsibilities right now….later I will….let's do it Armaan….I know in my heart this is the right decision."

"Are you sure?"

"Have never been more sure in life," Shabbir smiled back and kissed Isha's cheek as she dozed off in Armaan's cozy arms.



Shabbir was approved as the potential donor under the special circumstances category. Angad and Kripa were reluctant to go ahead with Shabbir's decision, but Shabbir refused to budge.

"Shabbir….you are young….have a little child…..kyun kar rahe ho yeh mere liye?" Kripa became emotional as she tried to refute his arguments.

"Kripa….I am not doing this for you…..I am doing it for myself," Shabbir replied earnestly, "and for my brother…..sirf main hi jaanta hoon ki Aaliyah ke bina main kitna adhoora hoon….Angad ki halat samajh sakta hoon……please don't say NO Kripa….you will be doing me a favor by accepting me as your donor."

Angad and Kripa exchanged tearful glances and hugged Shabbir for his generosity. Who had known that a horrible accident on Mumbai roads a few weeks ago had so many fates tied to it? Till now, Angad and Kripa thought they were helping Shabbir and his family, but it was really the other way around- Shabbir was their angel-in-disguise.



Riddhima, clad in a blue saree with her head covered along with Armaan in a white kurta pajama, and Kripa's parents worshipped at the temple. It was the day before Kripa's surgery; Gayatri was keen on having a puja for her daughter's well being before the big day. Kripa was in the hospital, and could not join them at the temple. Angad decided to stay back with her and Shabbir.

After they had offered their prayers, Armaan whispered into Riddhima's ear, "mera ek kaam karogi?"

Riddhima looked up, "kaam?"

"Haan….meri taraf se bhi bhagwan se kuch maang lo," the twinkle in his eyes was evidence of the mischief cooking in his mind.

"Kya maangna hai?" she asked innocently.

"Ek nanha munha rahi…..ya ek pyaari si raj kumari," he grinned.

Riddhima turned red and looked up to make sure Kripa's parents did not overhear their conversation, "Armaan! Mandir mein bhi shuru ho gaye?"

"Yaar….abhi sirf application bharne ko keh raha hoon….you know bhagwanji is a busy man… jaane kab hamari application padhenge?"

"Tho tum khud hi application bhar do….apne aap maang lo jo maang na hai," she frowned.

"Nahin Riddhima….he won't listen to me….tumhari baat jaldi maanenge."


"Kyunki tum zyaada achchi ho….main tho badmaash hoon….jhooth bolta hoon….kitni ladkiyon ke saath flirt karta tha…aur abhi bhi karta hoon," he added mischievously. Riddhima gave him a dirty look, "tho phir unhee ladkiyon se apna nanha munha rahi lekar aao!"

"No…no Riddhima….maine kaha na main jhooth bahut bolta hoon…I was just kidding yaar." He touched his ears in apology. His innocent pout and apologetic expression melted her heart as usual.

"Sachche dil se maangoge tho jo chaahiye mil jaayega," she smiled at him and walked away towards the priest and Kripa's parents to receive the Prasad.

Armaan heaved a sigh and ran his fingers through his hair, "sachche dil se tho jo maangna tha…mil gaya," and admired his lovely wife from a distance, "Armaan beta…..agar baap ban na hai tho lagta hai khud hi kuch karna padhega….after all God helps those who help themselves."



As Kripa lay in the pre operative room before the big surgery, her friends, relatives and parents surrounded her to wish her.

"Kripa…..chinta nahin karna…sab theek ho jaayega," Riddhima held her hand at her bedside.

Kripa nodded and smiled, "tum sab ho na meri dekh baal karne ke liye…..operation ke baad tum logon ko hi sab sambhaal na hai."

"Of course Kripa…..Riddhima America se aayi hi tumhare liye hai…..aur kisi se usko kya matlab?" Armaan complained.

"Rehne do Armaan….I know she missed you as much as you did," Kripa chuckled.

"How come I don't know about that? Mujhey tho kabhie nahin kaha Riddhima ne," Armaan folded his arms and frowned.

"Kayi baatein kahi nahin jaati bhaisa…..bas samjhi jaati hain."

Armaan unfolded his arms and smiled, 'jaanta hoon….I was just trying to tease your friend," he bent down and kissed Kripa's forehead, "good luck sis….hope everything goes well." Armaan and Riddhima walked out to let the others wish her luck before the surgery.

"Jiji…..aap jaldi theek ho jaaiye….phir Jaipur mein aapki aur jiju ki dhoom dhaam se shaadi karenge," Harshini, who had just flown in the day, before wished her cousin.

"Harshini…..tu yahan mere liye aayi….yahi bahut hai…..shaadi ki baat tho bahut door hai," Kripa squeezed her hand.

"Nahin jiji…dekho jiju kaise nervous khade hain corner mein….unhein jald hi dulha bana na hai humein," she pointed to an anxious Angad pasing up and down across the room.

"Angad ne hamare pyaar ke liye bahut tapasya ki hai Harshini,' a tear rolled down the corner of her eye, "kaash aisa pyaar ek din tujhey bhi naseeb ho…..I am sorry about Prithvi."

"Nahin jiji…please aap sorry mat ho…..wo tho bhagwaan ka lakh lakh shukr hai ki jiju ne Prithvi ko time se pehchaan liya….warna na jaane kya se kya ho jaata," Harshini lamented as she recalled how Prithvi had duped her into believing that he really loved her.

"Aise waqt par ek gire huye insaan ka naam nahin lete beta," Gayatri intervened and sat next to Kripa. She caressed her daughter's forehead and blessed her, "bhagwan teri raksha karega beti……ab jaldi se theek ho ja….Shabbir hum sab ke liye devta ban kar aaya hai…..hum uska ehsaan kabhie nahin bhoolenge."

Suryabhan, Padma, Dr Gupta, Gauri, Dr Abhimanyu, Dr's Shubhankar and Keerti all came one by one and wished her good luck. They all left after a few minutes, leaving Angad and Kripa to spend some time alone before the surgery.

"Angad," she stretched her hand and called for him, "please mere paas aao." A fretful and apprehensive Angad smiled at her and came forward. He sat next to her and held her hand. Feeling emotionally overwhelmed, he could barely speak.

"Kuch kahoge nahin Angad?" she placed her other hand on top of his, "subah se bilkul chup ho tum….tumhari awaaz sun ne ke liye betaab hoon main….please say something."

Angad could not hold himself any longer; he had always been stoic and her pillar of strength all these months, but the inevitability of the moment that they both had been looking forward to, broke his resolve to not express his fears about the surgery. They both knew that anything could go wrong despite the perfect match. One never knew how a body would react when a foreign organ was transplanted into it. Even though remote, there was a possibility of her body rejecting the donor kidney at the operating table itself or something else going wrong which could even cost her life.

He cupped her hands in his and kissed them fervently, "Kripa…I am scared," his lips quivered, "what if…what if…"

Even though, she had not expressed her fears, the finite possibility of separating from Angad forever had kept her awake last few nights. She knew he would be shattered without her; she had reassured herself that they were meant to be together despite so many hurdles and now that they were at the final hurdle, their faith and love for each other would not let them down. She believed in destiny, and Shabbir's accident was not a coincidence- it was a carefully orchestrated chain of events by the almighty.

"Angad," she ran her fingers on his arm, "mujhey kuch nahin hoga…..promise me when I wake up from anesthesia… will be the first face I see."

He smiled tearfully and nodded, "I promise." He bent down and kissed her lips softly, "I will not let you down this time…..I will be there for you….now and forever."

"DR KHANNA…PATIENT KO OR LE JAANA HAI!" a nurse interrupted their tender moment.

Angad pulled away reluctantly and blew a kiss to her as she was wheeled away to the operating room to undergo the three hour long procedure of transplantation. Shabbir had already been wheeled in earlier, and at that moment, was being prepped for his surgery.



Armaan, Riddhima, Angad, Harshini and Kripa's parents anxiously paced outside the OR all morning. Angad remained silent and aloof from the rest of them, too tense to respond or say anything. Gayatri recited the 'mrityunjaya mantra' ( a Hindu mantra recited for long life and good health)with her eyes shut in a corner. Armaan tried to cheer them up as well as he could, but his heart was not there today. His jokes fell flat, his facial expressions had anxiety and worry written all over them, and without realizing his typical twitchiness and fidgetiness were at their peak. He had always been restless while growing up, but Riddhima's soothing love and his confidence in himself, had calmed his nerves over the past few years, but today he could not control himself and once again was the little hyperactive and edgy boy. Each time the OR doors opened, he would jump up anxiously and grill the attendants or the nurses about Kripa.

Riddhima tried her best to calm him down and pulled him back to the waiting room chair, 'Armaan…relax….you are a doctor here… know the procedure."

"Haan yaar…lekin 3 ghante ho gaye hain….why doesn't anyone come out and tell us anything."

Angad was touched by Armaan's impatience. He sat next to Armaan and placed his arm around friend, 'yaar….jab Riddhima baby deliver kar rahi hogi….tab tera kya haal hoga?"

Armaan sat up and glanced at Angad, "tab Riddhima ke saath saath mujhey bhi drugs de dena…..make sure I am totally knocked out man…..I can't handle this yaar…..I thought being a doctor I can handle anything…..but when it comes to your own loved ones…it's very different….I am a nut case…..Riddhima…..I am scared about the nanha munha rahi now…..I hope tumney application nahin bhari kal."

"Application? Nahna munha rahi?" Angad chuckled and asked, "kab aa raha hai wo….Riddhima is there some good news I don't know?"

Riddhima rolled her eyes and shook her head, "Angad….don't believe Armaan….aur mujhey aaye 2 din hi huye hain……..aane ke baad tho kuch kiya bhi nahin hai!" She blurted out and then bit her lip at the faux pas she had just made.

Angad raised his eyebrow and smiled, "I think that's more detail than I need." He left the husband and wife with each other and walked away feeling more relaxed after their nonsensical conversation. He turned around and silently thanked his friends in helping the tensest of moments go by effortlessly.

A few minutes later, the OR doors flew open. The surgeons stepped out and announced,


 The waiting room saw six cheerful people rush to the surgeon and thanked him profusely for the happiest news in a long time…..

……….to be contd………


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