Wednesday, 19 August 2020

part 5 & 6 : my every breathe in ur name


Part 5 - A talks to Dr.Keerthi
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Armaan's POV

(In Lonavala Orphanage)

My heart broke into innumerable pieces. I felt all alone once again, yet like never before with all gloominess surrounding me. My mind went numb. But amidst all these, only one question haunted me ' Why am I alive? Why did I survive? What did I gain being alive? Only an endless misery.

I didn't know how three days just passed at the orphanage. I had tried hard enough not to bother Riddhima, anymore by my presence. Now that the kids are doing well, it's time to get back to Sanjeevani. But I have decided what to do.

Before leaving, for one last time I went to meet the kids. I could sense that they were sad that we were leaving. Why is that parting causes so much pain? My thoughts again wandered around Riddhima, the suffering I had undergone when I left her. I shook my head once.

"Ok friends, It's time for us to leave. But remember; take care of your health. Because you can play well only if you are in good health. And don't bother your warden too much. Don't do stupid things, and take care that even if you do, don't let anyone know about them." said I and winked. I was relieved to see their smiles. I gave them chocolates and stepped back to leave. When I turned around, I noticed Riddhima standing near the entrance and looking at me. Since how long has she been here?

I did not look at her, just lowered my sight and walked out. But how can I ignore her. I can sense that she was following me, right behind me.

 Sanjeevani arranged us a car to drive back to the hospital as the van left the previous day.

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We were back to the hospital. I didn't understand how I drove the car back to Sanjeevani, with my mind full of thoughts, heart heavy and more over with Riddhima by my side.

I felt relieved after being back to Sanjeevani. It was my home afterall. As soon as I entered, I went to Dr.Keerthi's cabin to talk to her about my decision.

Dr.Keerthi greeted me with a nod when she saw me, asked me to take my seat and wait while she was on phone. I sat there silently not sure of how to start the conversation. Was I nervous? Or something else?

"Yes, Dr.Armaan. I hope all the kids were fine at the orphanage." said she after she was done with her call.

"Yes mam, they are fine. Pavan is also recovering soon. I asked Mrs.Dikshit to bring him to Sanjeevani for a checkup after two weeks." I said still lost in my thoughts.

"Good." said she. "Is there anything else you want to talk to me?" she asked after a moment.

"Yes. Yes Dr.Keerthi. I..... "my voice trailed off. "I want to leave Sanjeevani." I finally said closing my eyes.

I opened my eyes and looked at her. She was shocked or rather surprised and got up from her seat.

"What?" she said. I stood, took a deep breath and spoke "Yes Dr.Keerthi, I want to leave Sanjeevani. I....   I can't stay here anymore."

"Dr.Armaan, Sanjeevani is not any boarding hotel so that you can join and leave whenever you want. Correct me if I was wrong. May I know the reason why you want to leave?" said she angrily.

I did not know what to speak. Tears rolled in my eyes. I turned around and wiped them off quickly. But she noticed them. She was a tough mentor but equally close to us. She was like an elder sister.

"Dr.Armaan, I can understand the situation you were in. But you have to face the reality. You have to face life. You cannot run away from the fate. U can't risk your career." She said calmly, coming towards me.

"Dr.Keerthi, I understand that. I very well know that professional life is different from personal life. But.... it's just that I can't handle it anymore. I have gone through so much in a very less span. I can't see Riddhima with any...." I suddenly realized what I was speaking and quickly said "I can't stand this anymore. I need time for myself. I need time to get out of this misery. I don't think I can treat patients while being in such a trauma. I...." I could no longer speak. All my strength vanished. Sanjeevani has given me so much in my life. Infact, I found the love of my life - Riddhima, only due to Sanjeevani. I gained few very good friends. I had a wonderful life here. Thinking so my thoughts were driven back to those golden days of my life. Those pranks, those cute fights with Riddhima, those moments full of masti. But now, I lost everything, because my life starts with Riddhima and ends with Riddhima. It's very difficult to leave Sanjeevani forever.

I was no longer able to control my emotions. The cyclone that I had locked up in my heart for the last two days just broke off and came out in the form of tears. I took my face in my hands. I felt like being held by someone. I needed someone to support me.

Dr.Keerthi, as if she read my inner thoughts, came closer and held me in her arms. I hugged her and shed all my tears. I did not remember how much time I had been there. But Dr.Keerthi was with me, caressing me. I felt better now. I felt relieved. I stepped back from Dr.Keerthi and wiped my tears away.

I looked at Dr.Keerthi. She stared at me with eyes full of concern. "I am fine Dr.Keerthi. We may talk now" I said trying to assure her after a few moments when I gained control over myself.

But she did not seem to be satisfied. "Dr.Armaan you may use washroom. I'll wait for you. We'll then talk."

I hesitated first but let myself in to the advice. I went to the washroom and sprinkled cool water over my face. It was soothing. I looked at my image in the mirror. My eyes were red with no life and face weak. I understood what love does to one's life. It transformed me from a careless smug to a protective man who knew his responsibilities. The same love again turned me into a living corpse. I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath.

I made up my mind and went back to Dr.Keerthi. She was sitting in her seat and thinking deeply.

"Dr.Keerthi" I said slowly. She looked up at me. "What is your decision?" asked I slowly.

"Dr.Armaan, I am very sorry. I can't relieve you at present. As you know, the workload has increased a lot in Sanjeevani for the last few weeks. And you were one of those responsible doctors. I can't just let you go." said she. She paused for a moment and continued "Dr.Armaan, I understand you but Sanjeevani needs you. The patients here need you. I promise you I'll relieve you as soon as the pressure is reduced. Till then please stay for the sake of Sanjeevani and your patients. Try to concentrate on your work and bring yourself out into the world. You have a long life ahead Armaan. Don't shut yourself in a corner. "said she trying to convince me.

But it's true. I am responsible to my patients. They have so much belief in me. I am grateful to Sanjeevani for everything I have gained in my life. How can I abandon it when it is in need of me?

"Ok Dr.Keerthi. I'll stay as long as Sanjeevani is in need of me. Thank you so much." I said and moved towards the exit. I remembered something suddenly, stopped and said to Dr.Keerthi, "Dr.Keerthi, I have a request. Please don't put me on work with Riddhima. She's not comfortable with me working along with her." I said pleasingly.

She stared at me for a moment and nodded in agreement. I started walking towards the door.

"Armaan", Dr.Keerthi called me when I was about to leave her cabin. I turned around and looked at her. She smiled at me and said "Take care of yourself."

I was touched with her concern. "Yes Dr.Keerthi. I will" said I and thought I would atleast try.

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Part 6 - A meets Atul

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Sid's POV

(In Sanjeevani)

I need to talk to Riddhima as soon as possible. She returned from Lonavala, but where is she? Thinking so I walked through the corridor searching for Riddhima. And then I saw her, near Dr.Keerthi's cabin. She was standing at the entrance and staring into the room with eyes full of shock – or something else? I stopped for a few moments, to get myself prepared to talk to Riddhima. Then I noticed her stepping back slowly. I increased my pace towards her. But then she started running away with eyes full of tears. She didn't notice me but I did. I stood there puzzled. Then after few moments saw Armaan coming out of Dr.Keerthi's cabin. Armaan didn't notice me standing there and bumped into me. He quickly apologized and looked at me. I saw him after four days. He was so tired, eyes blood red. He didn't look into my eyes, looked away and left.

My mind hinted at something worse happening. So I ran in the direction where Riddhima went in search of her. Then I found her at the fire escape staircase. She sat on one of the steps, hugging her legs. She was pathetic. She was crying talking to herself. A pain started to rise in my heart. I went closer to her and now was able to hear what she was mumbling between her sobs.

"Armaan, why are you doing this?" I heard her saying and immediately remained still where I was standing.

"Why do you love me so much? Why did you leave me then and why did you return back now? I can't ignore you Armaan. What should I do?" she cried and cried.

I could no longer stand there. So quickly left the place not sure whether Riddhima needed me at that time. I think the last person she would want her true feelings for Armaan to be known would be myself.

I was lost in my own thoughts when the pager in my pocket beeped. I checked the page and headed back to work.

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Atul's POV

(In children's ward, Sanjeevani)

Where was Armaan? I had been searching for him since morning. Where had he been to?

"Champ" a voice brought me back from my thoughts. I recognized the voice even before looking at the person. A sudden breeze of happiness shook me.

"Armaan!!" I turned around and almost shouted. It was such a pleasure to be back with my old friend. I ran to him and hugged him hard. "Armaan, I am extremely happy to see you back" said I with voice full of excitement.

"I am happy too Champ. How are you?" He said with a weak voice but full of happiness.

I drew back and looked at his face. He was not the Armaan whom I knew. All the charm was missing in his eyes. They have no life in them. Immediately I had tears in my eyes. "Ohh Armaan !!" I said and hugged him again. He was in tears too. I could sense his tears drenching my shirt. 'He needed support' I thought.

I didn't know for how much time we had been there. He drew back and said "Champ. Let's go to canteen"

I was delighted at the thought of having a cup of coffee with my best friend after a long time. I soon went with him to the canteen and we sat at our favorite table.

Armaan bought us two cups of Black coffee – his favorite. "How are you Armaan?" I asked slowly. He looked at me for a moment and replied "I am fine champ. Fit and perfect as always."

"But you don't seem to be. Armaan, you are pathetic. It hurts to see you in this state. I am so sorry for you and Ridz." I said immediately. He sat silent for a few moments. I went to his chair and patted his shoulder. "Armaan, everything will be fine. Just be strong." My voice trailed off looking at my friend who seemed to be lost in his own world.

He opened his mouth to say something and hesitated. He took my hand into his and said slowly "Champ. I am leaving Sanjeevani forever" still holding my hand.

My heart skipped few beats. I tried to convince him. "Please champ. I have to leave. I have to leave for the sake of Riddhima. Please don't make it more difficult for me." He cut my words and said.

I couldn't speak more. I sat beside him in a chair and asked him"What happened in Lonavala, Armaan?"

He stared at me in confusion. "I know that you and Ridz went to Lonavala Orphanage for treating the kids." I said. He hesitated at first and finally gave up.

He spoke fighting back his tears. He told me everything that happened in Lonavala.

I didn't understand what to speak. I sat there silent searching for words. I looked straight into his eyes and could identify the trauma he had gone through. I felt so sorry for him having to face all these. I knew his love for Riddhima. It was unconditional and pure. And so was Riddhima's. It's not their fault that they had to be away from each other now. It's destiny that brought them together and separated them.

We sat there for some more time and Armaan left back to his work. I sat there staring at him while he left.

I really lost two of my best friends – Armaan and Riddhima.

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Armaan's POV

(In Sanjeevani)

I no longer had a track of days and time. I had been working continuously for three days, as far as I know. All I know was that I had to avoid my mind wandering around Riddhima. And the only way to make it possible was by keeping it busy, preoccupied with something else. I succeeded in convincing my mind but what to do about my heart?

I stayed in Sanjeevani, day and night, only taking a break of 3 hrs a day n that too fresh up n take a small nap. I was afraid to sleep. I knew Riddhima would be in my thoughts even if I sleep. Atul came to me every now and then to make sure that I was fine.

One morning, Dr.Keerthi called all the doctors for an emergency meeting. By the time I reached the conference room, everyone was already there waiting for me. It was after four days that I saw Riddhima again or it would be better if I say Riddhima saw me. I tried my best to avoid any clash of duties and succeeded. I greeted everyone and took my seat.

"Good morning doctors and interns" Dr.Keerthi addressed the gathering. "I wanted to make an important announcement. As you all know, the work load at Sanjeevani increased for the past few days, Dr.Shashank had decided to recruit few other doctors and interns to lessen the pressure upon all of you." said she.

I heard a loud round of applause from the interns. They all appreciated the decision and thanked her.

Dr.Keerthi continued "And one more important thing. Our resident doctor, Dr.Armaan will be relieved from his duties. He will be leaving Sanjeevani tomorrow." She concluded. I was surprised and looked at Dr.Keerthi. She smiled briefly and nodded. I thanked her with a brief smile.

The conference room fell utter silent suddenly. I looked at Atul. He already had tears in his eyes. His eyes pleaded me to stay back. But I had already decided. 'Sorry Champ' I said to myself. Unintentionally, my eyes stopped at Sid. He was looking at me, eyes full of questions expecting some answers for them. I couldn't answer them. I looked away and stood up to leave the room. I noticed Riddhima leaving the hall before me. I did not look into her eyes but could sense that she was in tears. Why is she in pain now? This was what she wanted. Or something else?

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