Joined: 11 May 2012
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Joined: 13 January 2013
Joined: 11 May 2012
Joined: 01 January 2009
RECAP: Part 85
1.) The misunderstandings between Manav and Archana having cleared, they share a light moment the next morning. Manav also expresses his desire to meet Sachin once before he gets admitted to the hospital. Archana dissuades Manav as she doesn't want Manav to get hurt when Sachin refuses him, the way he did to her.
2.) Savita Aai however, tells Manav that she knows about Sachin's whereabouts. Both of them together go to the place, despite their obvious awkwardness, only to find that Sachin has vacated the place.
3.) Savita Aai confesses to Manav that she hid about Sachin's whereabouts all these days as she was trying to convince him to patch up with rich girl Sweety and marry her. She defends her plan by pointing out the financial problems the family was going through, along with Manav's ailment. Manav gets angry but somewhere finds solace in the fact that she had thought of him and his problems. He further gets emotional when Savita says that she had accepted her wrongdoings and given him Sachin's address cos she knew he wanted to meet Sachin before his surgery.
4.) They are in for a shock when they reach home, since Sachin has returned! After any days, the Deshmukh family shares a truly happy family moment.
5.) Sachin, who has returned by paying heed to Archana's words and out of concern for his Dada, is told by Archana to not reveal their argument and encounter. Manav guesses that Archana had a hand in Sachin's return but is unable to pinpoint exactly what she did. Sachin meanwhile has an altercation with his Aai, as he realises his Aai is hating on Archana for all the wrong reasons. Aai is shocked to see Sachin siding with Archana too, and that he came home on Archana's convincing.
6.) Manav tells Sachin everything that happened in the last few days, and how hard Archana has tried to fit into the Deshmukh family. He also confesses that with Sachin's return, he feels stronger to face the hurdles ahead.
Joined: 01 January 2009
Finally the d-day arrived when Manav had to be admitted to the hospital. With all the planning done, estranged family members united, family politics on a hold and emotional strength gathered, everyone had expected the whole affair to be a cake walk.
Turned out it was far from being one, actually.
The preparations had been done. Tarun's parents had handed Manav a cheque of five lakh rupees, along with assurance that they would be there with him throughout. For someone who had been their son's closest friend and such a positive influence on his life, this was the least they felt they could do, no matter how awkward they had felt accepting him in the past.
The hospital authorities at Tata Memorial hospital, a top semiprivate hospital in Mumbai, had sorted out everything. Not wanting to keep beds occupied unnecessarily, they had done most of the tests in advance and planned to admit Manav when they had a date for his surgery. Now they had one- three days following the date of his admission.
At home too, everyone was ready. They had more or less settled down now, and planned to work together as a team- Archana, Sachin, Baba, Vandita and Vedant, and even Aai. Aai did not talk much though, and they did not go to her specifically to ask for help. One night before the admission, all of them sat after dinner and discussed- one person would have to stay with Manav in the hospital at all times, in case any medicines were needed or errands for paperwork etc meant to be done, and most importantly to give Manav company. And so they decided their shifts. Baba would stay in the day when Archana was in office, the kids at school, and Sachin deep in sleep after working all night at the call centre. The kids and Sachin would stay with Manav in the afternoon and evening, individually or together.
And Archana volunteered to stay at nights, after she had wrapped up office and household work.
No one asked Aai to do any work. From her corner, she waited for them to speak up for help. She expected Archana to speak up about not being able to handle the housework alone, or being tired after a day at work, Baba to speak about the rehearsals for the play which took place in daytime, Vedant to speak uncertainly about the loss of his studies- and consequently asking her for help- but no one said anything. She felt disturbed. As part of the family, she also wanted to feel involved.
It was after the conference was over that she came over to Archana and declared,
"I will make food for Manav everyday." She stoutly announced. "I will also deliver it to him."
Archana looked up in amazement.
"There is no need for that Aai." She said in a small voice. "Manav will get everything from the hospital. They have special dieticians. I will manage the household meals, don't worry."
Aai felt perturbed. She was an illiterate women, who didn't know about hospital diet and stuff- she just knew that sick people needed to be fed lots of nutritious stuff and that was what she had planned. Now she felt confused, not knowing what to do.
"Fine then," she murmured. "Do you need any help? Someone will have to stay with Manav at all times."
"That is all right." Archana smiled. "We decided it amongst ourselves."
"But I want to be with him too!" protested Aai. Archana looked amazed. "Aai you can go and meet him whenever you want, it's not like that. Anyone can go meet him anytime, but at least one person needs to be there all the time."
Aai opened her mouth to protest, but Sachin spoke up. "Arey Aai, there might be running and stuff to do at the hospital. You come to meet whenever you want, but don't take up a 'shift'. You can't manage things alone out there. One of us will be there at all times."
She wanted to speak out more, but Sachin took her to a corner and whispered. "Aai, understand. Manav Dada might not be very comfortable with you alone in the hospital."
She was shocked at this statement. Who the hell did Sachin think he was? She was Manav's mother for god's sake! They might have had arguments, very serious ones in fact but that didn't change the fact that they still cared for each other. She wanted to pull Sachin up for this comment, but he had walked off.
Aai felt uneasy. As she looked back at them discussing about their 'shifts' she felt alone and slighted. This was a family moment, a family thing. She felt awful at not being able to speak actively in it. Somewhere, she did realise the truth behind Sachin's words too- Manav's wounds had been deep. He had been hurt by her a hundred times more than he had been hurt by Archana, or Sachin, or even the Karanjkars. It would be wrong to force herself on him just so that SHE could feel more at ease.
At least she was better off than the Karanjkars, she thought. Vinod who had visited earlier with the 50,000 rupees he owed Manav, had been told off when he had offered to help. The Karanjkars, Vaishali in particular, too had volunteered to help, but Archana had politely said that she was managing just fine and would ask when help was required. Anyways, no one amongst the Deshmukhs would like to take help from them, she had thought. Somewhere Manav too had not forgiven them for treating him poorly and throwing him in jail. So she thought of paying off the loan of 40,000 rupees that Manav had taken long back to help the Karanjkar family in times of need and completing the circle.
Aai however scoffed at the idea. "This is not the time to pay off old loans! You never know when we might need more money now, especially since Manav has no job now!" she said with an irritated look at Archana, who stood confused with the wad of notes in her hand, given by Vinod.
"But we have money!" said Archana. "Tarun's parents.."
"That is for the medical expenses." Said Aai. "I don't expect Manav to use a single paisa out of it later for his garage repairs or to run this house. This money will come in handy then.."
"But the moneylender.."
"The money lender is an old friend." Explained Aai. "I will talk to him and see if he has any problems with us returning the money sometime later. After a long time we have got cash. If we invest this money carefully in the garage, then we might be able to earn enough to pay back all our loans later, not just this one small loan. Understood?"
She did understand, but inwardly she was scared of Manav. He wouldn't like it, she knew that, and she told it to Aai.
"Why do you need to tell this to him?" asked Aai irritatedly. "Why do you need to tell EVERYTHING to him?"
"Bcos I'm his wife." Said Archana. "I don't like hiding things from him. And I know Manav might feel bad if I lie to him about money given by my parents.."
"But we're not lying, we're just 'not telling the truth'. As housewives, we have to use different tactics to run this house and be smart housewives, not just dutiful wives, something you've yet to learn." Said Aai in an acidic voice. "Does Manav tell you everything he does at the garage? Then why do you tell him everything you do to run the house?"
Archana still looked doubtful. She didn't want to ditch 'team Manav' and join 'team Aai', especially when Aai had misused home funds earlier, but Aai took the notes from her hand and started walking away. "I'm keeping them safely in my hiding spot- you know where. No one will find it there. So don't worry. And if anyone finds out, you can take my name and say I pressurized you to do it- I wrung your chicken neck and threatened you to keep mum. Okay?"
Oh well, thought Archana. Team Aai it was.
Sachin on the other hand, decided to take over Manav's spare parts business.
He talked to Dharmesh Jaipurwala, the spare parts dealer, to contact him, and not Manav for any spare parts transaction. Even the phone number on the board outside the garage was changed- Sachin didn't want people to unnecessarily pester Manav in the hospital.
But since he was not a mechanic, and couldn't fix those spare parts, he decided to employ a mechanic to fix them while he took orders, coordinated with Dharmesh and handled money. It involved efforts from his side, since he had to work all night in the call center and then manage the garage in the day time, but now that his Dada's business was showing some promise, he couldn't let it shut down. He had to manage the garage.. or.. emm.. the burnt garage.. or.. erm.. the spare parts thingy.. or whatever.
Dramatically, he sat on Manav's chair in the garage and started calling people who had contacted for the mechanic's post.
The real trouble, however, was not of coordinating the family members, the funds or friends- for all the chawl members who knew of Manav's hospitalisation had come forward to volunteer for any sort of help to the family.
The real trouble was in managing Manav.
"How many times will you come to draw the blood?" barked Manav as he saw the resident doctor entering with a needle capped syringe. "All my blood tests have been done."
"One test has been added now." Said the resident looking into his list. "Don't worry, its just 2 ml." He started tying the tourniquet on Manav's arm.
"2 ml- 2ml.. that's what you guys keep saying all along. And you keep drawing blood. Ever since I've started my treatment here I've had to do so many tests. Why can't you do all the tests at one go? Soon there will be no blood left in my body." Said Manav in irritation.
"Don't be silly Dada, there are 5 litres of blood in the human body." Said Vedant in a light vein. Manav gave him an angry look and Vedant immediately looked into his mobile phone, pretending to type imaginary sms'es on it. The resident drew the blood and was gone. Manav touched the 3-way and needle (gelco)on his left hand and tried to move his hand a little.
"It pains when I move my hand." He said mournfully.
"Then don't move it." Said Vedant matter of factly. Manav gave him another angry look. "Is that how you are going to treat your patients? Huh!"
He folded both his arms and sat sulking. He then adjusted the pillow behind him. "I don't like this bed. It's too hard. The pillows are equally bad."
"As if you were sleeping in a prince's room in our chawl home." Said Vedant dryly under his breath. Vandita giggled.
"For a semiprivate hospital, the room is good actually." Remarked Sachin, looking around him and Manav scowled. "Even though there is no AC and no luxuries." He looked at the only couch in the room where they were all sitting, and the two other patient beds in the room. "But I reckon that the person who stays at night will have to sleep on the floor."
"Why does anyone need to stay with me at night?" asked Manav, alarmed. "I'm not a kid. Come and see me in the daytime. No one needs to stay at night."
"But Dada, how can we leave you alone here?" asked Sachin puzzled.
"I have a tumour, I'm not handicapped!" snapped Manav. "I said it, no one needs to stay with me at night!"
"You're being unreasonable Dada," Sachin started, but was cut short by an angry Manav. "No need to argue with me. I might be ill but that doesn't mean all of you can impose on me. I still decide what has to be done and how it has to be done."
"Fine 'Sir'." Said Sachin, getting up from the couch. "Do what you want." Irritatedly he walked out. Vedant and Vandita uncertainly got up too and followed him out.
They bumped into Archana on the way, who had returned after office. "Hey I was just coming with some light snacks for Manav. How is he adjusting here?"
"Very bad." Said Vandita, raising her eyebrows.
"You better not go in front of him right now, he will rip your head off." Said Vedant, signalling a cut throat with one finger. Confused, Archana looked at Sachin for an explanation.
Sachin finally spoke. "He is in a foul mood, and is venting all of it on us. Says he doesn't like the hospital, the doctors. Doesn't want anyone to stay with him at night, is nitpicking on anything and everything here. I daresay he is behaving like a spoilt child- which sort of contrasts with the way he always happily adjusted with crumbs earlier. I wonder what has happened to him. He has never been this way before."
"Pagla gaye hain Dada." Said Vedant dryly. Archana gave him a warning glance, and then looked at all three. "Go home now, I reckon all of you are tired and hungry. Dinner is ready at home. I will be with your Dada now."
"You sure?" asked Vandita in a small voice. "Very much. Go now." Said Archana.
The others didn't look so sure, but begin walking away. "All the best." Sachin muttered as he walked by, leaving Archana to ponder by herself.
She walked to Manav's room. The 10 year old boy on the next bed was now sitting with Manav on his bed, looking at Manav's hand.
"See, when I move it like this, it pains.. ouch!" said Manav. The boy shook his head.
"If you move your hand, obviously the needle will pierce through the vein it is in and come out. Then the doctors will have to take it out and put another one on your other hand to give medicines." Said the boy. "I've had 6 of them on different veins of my two hands. So be a good boy and be sensible."
Archana smiled at the exchange. Manav asked the boy how long he had been in hospital and whether he missed his home.
"I've been here for 8 weeks now, I will be here for 2 more weeks I think." The boy said. "I do miss my friends, but it's not so bad. I got a chance to bunk school for two months, and everyone who comes to visit me gets chocolates and comics for me."
He offered Manav a comic book, but Manav shook his head, saying his eyesight had got affected due to his illness and so he couldn't read. The boy went back to his bed and Archana came in, smiling cheerily at Manav, asking him how his day had been. Manav tore into a description, telling him of how everyone had troubled him, the doctors, the nursing staff, and even his own family members were not sympathetic- Vedant in fact was getting very rude. He complained about the hospital and showed her the pricks on his arm, and altogether gave her a very dissatisfactory report. Archana gave him the snacks, listened in silence and let him vent.
She helped him eat his food that night by feeding him with a spoon (as he couldn't move one hand) while he criticised the food.
"Bad!" he said in irritation. "I wonder what they are taking so much money for."
"Do you want a cold drink?" the boy in the next bed volunteered, taking out a can hidden under the bed. 'Pepsi Atom' was written on it in big bold letters. Manav took a sip and made a face. "I don't like it. The coke is too much and the fizz is too strong! It hits hard."
"It's meant for MEN, asli mard, not for cribbing babies!" laughed the boy. Archana tried to hide a smile while Manav scowled.
She smiled as he cribbed some more and continued feeding him. The boy on the next bed watched the two of them with interest. By the end of dinner, Manav was quiet again. "Where will you sleep?"
She pointed on the floor next to his bed. He looked hurt.
"I have sheets with me." She said. He didn't say anything.
"What happened to you?" she asked with a smile. "You look like a child who lost his candy."
"Nothing." He answered. "Arey, won't you complain anymore about the hospital, how bad it is etc etc." She said, laughing to herself.
"What is the point of complaining." He said in a small voice. "It's not like anything will change."
He did not say anything, simply lay down and looked the other side. Archana waited for a while and then sighed.
"Manav, what has happened to you?"
He did not say anything for a while. Then he spoke, "I don't like this place."
"Should we get you admitted elsewhere?"
He stayed quiet for sometime more. Then he spoke again. "No, nothing is wrong with this place. I'm unnecessarily finding faults with it and directing my frustration at it, whereas everything is nice here- the doctors, the nursing staff, the food, that Pepsi cola.. whatever..
"Pepsi Atom" said Archana, reading from the can.
"Yeah whatever.- everyone has been good. It's just that everything is wrong with me."
"What is wrong with you?"
He did not answer. Archana made him turn over to her side and was touched to see the forlorn expression on his face.
" I have never ever felt so useless in my life." Manav said. "Not able to do anything for all of you. Not able to help you even- financially, emotionally, physically. It is not a nice feeling - this uselessness. What a downfall for someone who was the pillar of his family, the one who single handedly ran the house. And today, I can do nothing. Even the younger ones in the family are contributing to the house, I am doing nothing. And all of you are having to go through so much bcos of me."
Archana did not say anything, but understood. For someone on whom everyone depended for literally everything in the house, to come to a position of not being able to do anything for anyone, to a position of helplessness was heartbreaking.
She tried to console him. "Manav, you speak as if things are never going to change. This is just a temporary situation- you know that well. In a few days, you will go back to being the SuperMan of your family like always." She tried to laugh.
Manav shook his head. "I don't know." He confessed. "I have no job. I have no garage. I have loans. I have the court case looking on my head. Varsha has still not been found. I have no hope even outside the hospital. And in here, I am just sitting waiting for the struggles that will unfold once I go out of here."
Archana ruffled his hair slightly, trying to calm him. He looked at her for a while, then looked away. Manav's insecure side, the one which felt helpless and useless was coming out now.
"Come now Manav," said Archana, feeling very bad. "So what if the months ahead look difficult. Sachin is there, I am there! And so what if you won't be able to contribute? You have handled everything for so many years, what is the big deal if for some time someone else takes responsibility?"
"There's nothing bad in it." He said quietly. "Its just that I am not used to sitting like a spectator watching my family members fend. I can understand how Baba must have felt all these years, when he saw Aai and me handling the house, and even though he tried his best, he could not do anything about it. It is a bad disease, this.. uselessness..!"
"But Manav this is just temporary." She said softly. "Only for a short while, after that you will be back at home. This short.. phase of.. helplessness.. it's just treatment, a pathway to get you better again, for your future. Everyone is waiting for you to get back so that they can go back to being their lazy selves while you run round taking responsibility again." She tried to laugh. "And why do you think you wont be able to do anything once you go from here? I am sure you will once again be the busiest."
"Yeah yeah." Muttered Manav.
"Come on Manav.." said Archana, thinking very hard of how to cheer him up. "You shouldn't look at this period as bad luck, or helplessness or disability or a forced retirement. You should look at the positive side of things.."
"Positive side?" asked Manav sarcastically. "There is a positive side?"
"Of course.." she said, gulping and thinking of what to say. "Why not think of this.. as a.. as a.. holiday?"
"Holiday?" said Manav loudly. The boy in the next bed looked alarmed.
"Umm yes." Said Archana thinking quickly. "Think Manav, in all these years, ever since you started working, have you taken a single day's holiday? Did you ever get the time to do all that you wished to do as a young boy- read books, watch movies, have fun, take rest? You can do all that now!"
Manav looked at Archana's excited face, thinking she had gone mad. "Holiday? In a hospital? Yeah right!"
"No Manav, I'm serious! There must be so many things that you had to forego bcos you were busy working all these years, bcos you had no time for yourself. Think of it, you have PLENTY of time now! So go on, do all that you couldn't do all these days. Or, maybe not fun things, but.. you know.. many a times we have so many ideas but no time to develop them. Maybe you can develop those ideas now, and then when you get out of here you can get busy executing them?"
She could see a doubt on Manav's face and realised she was coming across as foolish now. She looked at herself, her hands were in the air with excitement, stressing on every word. She calmed down, then said, "I will make preparations to sleep."
She took out the bed sheets from her bag and made her bed on the floor right next to Manav's. She put up her pillow and lay down on it. She gave a smile to Manav as he watched from above with a sad expression on her face. A relative of the other patient switched off the lights.
She was on the verge of falling asleep when she felt someone sitting close to her. She was about to shout when the person spoke in a husky voice, "Hey Archana, its me!"
"Manav?" she asked, getting up. "What happened?"
"Nothing. I just felt like talking."
"Now?" she asked. It was past twelve.
"Um yeah. Have you read any book on Maharana Pratap.
She shook her head.
"This was the last book I read- only halfway though. It belonged to Tarun. I joined the garage soon after that. When you spoke right now about things I was never able to do, I remembered the book. And that I never came to know what happens in the end. Can you get me that book from your library at night-school?"
Archana sat up on bed. "You will read it?"
"I might as well.. I have nothing to do. It's a story, after all. I never came to know what happened in the end. Can you get that book for me.. I want to complete that story now!"
"Umm.. fine Manav.." said Archana, touched by Manav's simple innocent desire. "But how will you read? Your near vision is pretty bad."
Manav turned silent for a while. The excitement had left his face. Archana hurried to speak. "Don't worry, I'll read out the book to you, or maybe someone else could?"
He didn't seem convinced but he smiled nevertheless. Archana sat up in bed and asked if he would like to do anything else while in hospital. "The problem is you get bored. An idle mind is the devil's workshop. From tomorrow, we shall get something to occupy your time. You want to watch movies? I am sure Sachin can arrange for a laptop.."
"I don't know.. maybe I could chart out my old ideas related to the garage? We have loans to pay.."
"Uff! Don't jump straightaway to work!" Archana admonished him. He opened his mouth to explain but she laughed and spoke.
"Work out all your ideas peacefully." suggested Archana. "No stress this time. You have been handling so much all these years.. you have never really got the time or space to figure out everything peacefully.. now you have time.. to think.. do whatever you want. You relax, then only you can think of solutions with a calm head."
Manav looked at her dazzled eyes, smiling slowly to himself. He nodded slightly to her.
She lay down again on her floor-bed while Manav went back to his own bed. He did not feel sad or hopeless now, he felt more hopeful and positive, uncertain of what tomorrow would hold, but yet, a little more strong thinking that he had something to do tomorrow, which would hopefully result in something concrete for his future, or at least help him pass the time. All the plans and dreams that he discarded even before they rooted themselves firmly in his mind, he would develop them now. He had so much to think about.
The garage! The spare parts business! Dharmesh had seen potential in it. Maybe he could develop it on a large scale? Maybe put some more money into it? But how?
Varsha and Abhimanyu! He would have to put more time into tracing them. Last time Archana had asked Sulochana Aai to get Abhimanyu's number through old contacts. Calls had not given any result though they had left several messages on the answering machine in Abhimanyu's parents house. But they had to keep trying. Time was less. Abhimanyu and Varsha had to be contacted and brought back before the police case caused trouble for everyone involved.
And then there was that flame of vengeance that kept getting stronger every time a little breeze stroked it.
Ajit! He had yet to settle scores with him.
He closed his eyes and shut his head, repeating to himself what Archana had said. He had to keep calm and focus on positive things. Ajit or revenge was not one of them.
Rather he could work on his marriage.
He was taken aback as he thought of this. He felt silly, then thought deeply about Archana and himself. So many things had happened in their lives since they had got married. They had separated, united through twists and turns and today understood each other much more than they had done at first. They, and a lot of other people had gradually come to accept this marriage. He knew she loved him and that she knew of his feelings too, and that both of them would never opt for a separation again.
But what next? The vehicle seemed to have stuck here.
He turned to his other side, and his gaze fell on Archana, sleeping peacefully on the floor. He again felt bad about it, but at the same time, there was contentment deep inside that she was there with him at this moment. She seemed to somehow know exactly the right things to be said, and even when she didn't say anything, she let him speak and express himself fully and sometimes that was most important. Even her presence made him feel more hopeful and relaxed.
He kept looking at her for a long time even when everyone else had fallen asleep. Sometime after midnight, when he was sure she had fallen asleep, he slowly crept down next to her. In the moonlight falling on her face from the open window, he admired her beautiful, kind, serene face. Softly he bent down until his lips touched her fair cheeks. Once. Twice.
He heard a rustling sound and got up with a start. Archana was still deep in sleep. He looked around, trying to figure out who was the peeping tom in this love story. To his surprise, he saw the boy in the next bed, hiding his face in his blanket.
He got up, walked to the boy's bed and sat on it. He waited for a while, then pulled the blanket from the boy's face. The boy grinned sheepishly. "I saw." He said.
"What did you see?" asked Manav.
"I saw what you did there." Said the boy, pointing on the floor.
"She is my wife." Said Manav defensively, feeling very silly.
"Whatever. I saw. And I'm going to tell her tomorrow."
"Fine, tell. As if I'm scared of you or her." Said Manav, getting up to go. In a moment however, he came back and bargained with the boy for some more cans of Pepsi Atom. He didn't want the boy to tell Sachin or Vedant and end up becoming the butt of their jokes.
The deal sealed, Manav walked back to his bed. Today had been the first of the many nights he would spend in this place, and as he lay down on his bed again, he just hoped that God would give him the strength to bring out the positive, if any, from all the trouble he was undergoing.
Sorry for all the trouble I have given all my readers over the last 6 months. I will try to update regularly now.Comments and feedback are welcome as always.
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