Joined: 21 December 2009
Joined: 25 May 2010
Joined: 25 May 2010
This is a really interesting start. I liked your comparison of the psychological couch and the bartender's stool. How true it is!
Would love to know what happens next so continue soon :)
Joined: 25 May 2010
Joined: 25 May 2010
"Please don't speak so loudly and the locker door' my head'" Riddhima sighed and rubbed her head. Anjali laughed in response.
"You asked for it little sister. You were beyond smashed last night. Who dropped you anyway?" Anjali asked her sister and helping her to pick out necessities from the locker. That question caught Riddhima's attention.
"You did not see the person who dropped me?" Riddhima looked at Anjali in surprise. Anjali searched Riddhima's face for feigned ignorance but could not find any. Riddhima crossed her fingers in her white coat pockets and prayed her sister to ignore her. After few minutes of contemplation, Anjali responded.
"No. I only saw the rear profile of a man who was walking back to the cab. I think he is the one who texted me to open the front door for you. That was pretty smart of him." Riddhima pondered over her sister's response. The guy she had met at the bar was a decent man and she mentally scolded herself for losing control like that. Her paranoia of being a victim of random crime on street had flown out of the window after fourth glass of bourbon. She sighed and pressed her head in a vain attempt to stop the non-stop throbbing. She was surprised to see a bottle of water hovering in front of her. She smiled gratefully when her sister dropped two tablets in her palm and handed her water.
"Muskaan is bringing coffee for you", she replied seeing her sister gulp down water. She wasn't the greatest sister in the world and they never really had the bond that most sisters would generally boast of but when the time came, they really pulled through for each other. Apart from that, their lives were pretty much private. And both were okay with that kind of relationship.
"You look like shit", Muskaan chirped and handed coffee to Riddhima.
"Thanks, I think", Riddhima grabbed the steaming cup of freshly ground java and hot water and took a long sip. Anjali tutted about burning her tongue in the process and Muskaan simply stared at disastrous looking Riddhima.
"I am sorry I bailed out on the last minute Riddhima. If I had known you were in a state that you were in last evening, I would have canceled my date", Muskaan spoke quietly. Riddhima smiled at her friend.
"It's alright Muskaan, no biggie. Thankfully there were no muggers or rapists or psychopaths on the prowl last night so I got home safely. " Riddhima's paranoia was a common knowledge and the way she blatantly disregarded any help from anyone kind enough to provide but was a stranger had put her family in few embarrassing situations. But there were things that one didn't speak in her family and never really forced her to change and overcome her paranoia. Therapy hadn't helped either.
It was after all a topic that no one wanted to uncover. A permanent curtain was drawn around it and over the years the stink, the dust and the mess had been out of their sight. It wasn't healthy, everyone knew. They were doctors for god's sake; her parents, her sister and herself. But in the end the thing which makes them human had won out.
After saying good-byes they left the lockers and went to on-call room to check their assignments for the day.
At administration office:
"It's good to see you again Armaan", Dr. Abhimanyu Modi smiled and shook hands with the newest doctor in the hospital ' Dr. Armaan Mallik.
"It's nice to see you too Abhi. You have a MBA degree besides MD? Talk about over achievement!" Armaan replied.
"It sounded pretty cool when I thought about it, you know. I can switch being boss and peer as required and also influence investors from a doctor's point of view."
"You are not happy about it?" Armaan was genuinely surprised. He knew Abhi from college as his junior and knew how driven the man was.
"Paper work is a bitch", Abhi sighed. Armaan let out a burst of laughter.
"How did you know that I was back in India?" Armaan asked.
"There was word on the streets that Armaan is back in India after being in Africa for this long."
"Word on streets? You make me sound like a popular gang banger freshly released from prison", Armaan retorted for which Abhi laughed.
"Ivory coast was it?" Abhi asked Armaan after a moment of silence.
"Yes, that was my last engagement."
"How was it there?" Abhi asked Armaan and walking him out while talking.
"Being a doctor with UN was a different experience all together. No fancy equipments, not much of companionship with other doctors. Many times we lived amidst the terror so the fun factor never really existed." Armaan replied as they walked past swiftly working nurses towards the on-call room. Abhi was taking him there to get him introduced to other doctors and make him comfortable with new people.
"I am looking forward to work with you Armaan. I am sure all of us here can learn something new from the experiences you have accumulated overseas."
"Who told you about my return?"
"Who else do you think?"
"Rahul!" They both said the name together. Abhi in a "its-so-obvious" tone and Armaan in an exasperated one.
Rahul had been Armaan's friend since college. He was one of the few ones with who Armaan still kept in touch. They were good buddies, drinking partners and gave each other a kick when the other was being an ass. Rahul was surprised when Armaan signed up for volunteering work. Volunteering was one thing but Armaan was adamant on his decision. Rahul had given up trying to persuade him to a more lucrative career and supported him as a friend would. All Armaan asked was to keep in touch.
When they arrived at on-call room, everyone had already assembled and were about to go about their day when Abhi stopped and introduced everyone to Armaan. Armaan's eyes stopped at Riddhima's for a moment more than he did for others. The face was hard to forget. He remembered her from the bar, of course. The lady dumped by a cheating boyfriend. The contrast of the personality from the night before was too strong. Last night, she was a hapless woman and now she looked strong and sincere in her blue scrubs and white coat. Her impassive face had made him believe for a moment that she had not recognized him. Just before he turned, there was a tiny nod and a tinier smile. He nodded back in reply.
The greeting wasn't something exaggerated or even defined normal on many circumstances. It was greeting between two random people who just had a fateful encounter.
"So Armaan, how do you know Abhi?" Muskaan chirped.
"He was a senior in college. He was one of those guys who was either loved or envied."
"So you loved him?" Anjali smirked. Armaan smiled.
"It was both, actually. Abhi is one of those guys who have both brain and brawn. He was excellent in his studies and was an amazing athlete. I met him in basket ball court actually. "
"You two bonded over basket ball?" It was Muskaan again. To Rahul's immense annoyance, Muskaan had completely taken over by Armaan and was looking at him like a fan would look at her favorite idol. It was odd on many levels.
"Actually we started playing street basket ball where there are no rules and fouls do not exist. The friendly one-on-one game turned very violent in thirty minutes and had half the college witnessing two guys practically fighting using basket ball as a ruse."
"Did you guys get into trouble?"
"Big time. But after a healthy game, we shook hands and became good friends from then on", Armaan finished the story.
"Nothing like a spot of violence to induce some male bonding", Riddhima clipped. Armaan merely nodded and laughed.
"How about we all meet up in the evening for drinks? My treat", Armaan invited.
There were sudden roar of approvals and "what-time" and "let's go here, not there" were heard. It was Anjali who finally yelled a "Stop" which got the murmurs to subside and decided for everyone.
"Let's meet at 8 PM in parking lot and by the time I will decide where we can all go. By the way Armaan, there are two more doctors whom you have to meet. They are in surgery right now. Maybe you can meet them during lunch. If not, you will meet them tonight."
"Yes madam", he saluted. Anjali merely smiled.
Armaan and Riddhima nodded at each other as the entire group dispersed to do their respective work. She knew that he would bring up their encounter sometime in future. She just hoped that the future was very far away. As she started her work for the day, she wondered if Armaan's issues stemmed from the time he spent as a volunteer.
Armaan had a haunting look about him. She wondered what secrets he had buried in him.
She shook her head and greeted her first patient of the day.
To be continued.
Joined: 03 October 2008
Joined: 25 June 2009
Joined: 25 May 2010
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