Kuch Toh Log Kehenge


Kuch Toh Log Kehenge
Kuch Toh Log Kehenge

FF: Dhoop Kinare: New Announcement Pg. 33

sharmishtha02 Senior Member

Joined: 02 January 2012
Posts: 858

Posted: 07 January 2012 at 11:21pm | IP Logged

Parts 1-9: Pg  1-2 (consecutive posts)
Part 10: Pg 3
Part 11: Pg 5
Part 12: Pg 6
Part 13: Pg 8
Part 14: Pg 9
Part 15: Pg 10
Part 16: Pg 11
Part 17: Pg 13
Part 18: Pg 14
Part 19: Pg 17
Part 20: Pg 20
Part 21: Pg 23
Part 22: Pg 26
Part 23: Pg 28 (Last part)

Author's Note:

Taking inspiration from MB - When you have DK, just stick to it, this FF is an adaptation of Dhoop Kinare with KTLK characters.

When KTLK started, I thought we would see the slow process of development of relationship between Ashutosh and Nidhi. Being a daily soap, it could have gone into nuances and details. But what it was made in to was a disappointment.

So, this FF is an attempt to show what I would have liked to see. It is an adaptation of DK. Some scenes are directly lifted from there, some have been changed and some new ones have been added keeping the character consistency.

I have skipped the scenes of other characters, sometime implying the incidents as they happened in DK. The reason is that I have already wasted my time since friday on this. If I started writing for all characters... well I should be paid then for doing this. LOL

I also intend to write a post-confession phase, which was not covered in DK. But may be later.

Do give you comments. This is the craziest thing I would ever have done for a serial. Big smile


Part 1

"Good morning doctors," Dr. Ashutosh Mathur welcomed the new interns to his ward in a professional uptight tone.

"Good morning, Sir," came the reply in the chorus as if it was a school classroom.

"Let's have a quick round of introductions please. Starting from left."







"Great! I am Dr. Ashutosh, in-charge of children's ward at Dr. Kotnis General Hospital. Dr. Rangnath se app log pahle se hi touch mein rahe honge. He is the senior administrator of our ward. Dr. Mallika, senior doctor. She would be responsible for assigning your duties. Clear?"

A few 'yes'es and other nods came his way, after which he continued, "Aaj se aap log apne professional life ki practice mein utarne ja rahe hain. Hamare profession mein hamare haath mein zindagi aur maut hoti hai. Yahan mistakes ki, carelessness ki ya inefficiency ki koi gunjaish nahin hoti hai. Aur khaas kar ke is ward mein bilkul nahin. So, imaandaari aur mehnat se aap apna kaam karein. Dr. Verma? Aap itne dhyaan se kya note kar rahi hain?"

Ashutosh had tried to ignore Dr. Nidhi Verma doodling on her notebook, but it was too distracting and finally he had snapped.

"Woh... Sir... Wahi jo aap bata rahe the. Imaandaari aur mehnat se..."

Ashutosh gave her a sharp look and took the notebook away from her. She bit her lips at being caught. Ashutosh found a badly sketched face, which was probably his. He threw the notebook in the dustbin and without glancing again at either the dustbin or Nidhi, continued with his introduction and instructions for the interns.

Nidhi looked at Priyanka, who, in turn, was giving her a "I-had-told-you-so" look. Nidhi and Priyanka had been together at the medical college. They were happy, when both got the internship offer from Dr. Kotnis General Hospital together. They could keep each other company. Nidhi had jumped with joy, when she had seen that their posting was in the children's ward.

"Wow! Priyanka. Bas ye hi ek cheez sahi hui hai mere saath. Children's ward mein posting. Medicine mein to mujhe interest nahin tha. Lekin bachche mujhe bahut achche lagte hain."

"Bachche achchhe lagte hain to shaadi kar ke paida kar leti. Children's ward mein posting achcha idea nahin hai. Tuhje pata hai Dr. Ashutosh Mathur India wapas aa gaye hain aur children's ward ke in-charge ban gaye hain phir se."

"Woh kaun hain?"


"Mujhe nahin pata tha ki wards ke in-charge terrorists hote hain."

"Main mazaak nahin kar rahi hoon. Meri ek cousin ne kuchh saal pahle yahan Dr. Ashutosh ke under internship ki thi. Bata rahi thi ki khud bhi workohalic hain aur poori duniya se waise hi kaam karwate hain. Aur agar kissi se zara si bhi galti ho jaye, to uski khair nahin."

"Achchha!" Priyanka had managed to scare her, at least for a while.

Nidhi came out of her thoughts, when Ashutosh announced that it was time to take their first visit to the ward. Dr. Mallika also accompanied them.


"Dr. Verma," Ashutosh lost her cool with her again in the ward. While he was explaining the case of a patient, an eight years old girl, to the interns, Nidhi was busy talking in gestures to the patient. Her mischievous smile disappeared when she heard his voice.

"Yes Sir."

"Kya administer kar rahe hain is pateint ko."

"Sir, Zofran."


"6-hourly Sir."

"Okay," he was surprised that she had been listening to him even while busy in her silent tete-a-tete with the child.


"Nidhi. Teri ye shaitaaniyan ne Medical college mein chal jaati thi. Kyonki classes bunk kar ke aur class mein so kar bhi tere number theek thaak aa jate the. Yahan Dr. Ashutosh ke saamne na tu thoda bach kar hi rah." 

"Dekh Priyanka. Mujhse aisi roni si surat bana kar nahin raha jaata. Kya farq padta hai yaar? Zyada se zyada nikaal hi denge na."

"Arre. Nikaal hi denge matlab? Tujhe koi fikr nahin hai?"

"Tujhe pata hai na. Mujhe ye doctor-woctor nahin banna tha. Sirf Baba ki zidd ki wajah se main yahan hoon. Ab Baba mujhe to resign karne nahin denge. Hamesha Mummy ko le kar emotionally blackmail kar hi lenge mujhe. Lekin agar Dr. Ashutosh hi mujhe nikaal dein, to phir Baba kya kar paayenge, haan?" Nidhi's eyes brightened like that of child who has been promised her favourite toy.

"Tu pagal hai Nidhi. Itne saal mehnat kar ke padhai karne ke baad profession ko aise hi chhodna chahti hai."

Their conversation was interrupted by another intern who reminded them that the break was over and Dr. Ashutosh was expecting them back in the ward.


Ashutosh entered the ward to see the other interns discussing cases of patients amongst themselves. Nidhi, however, was busy playing with a kid. He shook his head in disbelief. How the hell did the hospital manage to hire her? He was about to chide her for what she was doing when he saw her picking up the glass of milk from the table and making the kid drink it. He stopped in his tracks. He recalled that this particular boy always created a fuss in drinking milk. If he was ready to scold for unprofessionalism, he was also ready to praise for a job well done. So, he approached her with an intention to complement her, "Dr. Verma."

Nidhi, however, got startled on hearing his voice. She almost jumped away from the patient's bed and dropped the now empty glass of milk on the floor. The sound it created had everyone looking at them. Not only that, as she turned around, she hit the table by mistake and dropped a medicine bottle.

Ashutosh hit his forehead in frustration.

"Sorry Sir. Main ye... ye saaf karwati hoon. Aap kuchh kah rahe the?"

"Never mind. Aap ye sab saaf karwaiye. Aur dhyaan rakhiye. Itna shor patients ki need kharaab kar sakta hai."

"Yes Sir," she ran out of the ward to call the housekeeping staff.


"Wah, wah! Dr. Nidhi. Aap to pahle hi din se chha gayi hain," Dr. Rangnath had joined the interns in the common room during the tea break. He was the one who had helped her locate the housekeeping staff to clean the mess she had created in the ward.

"Dr. Rangnath. Aapko mazaak soojh raha hai. Meri to jaan nikal gayi thi."

"Nikalni bhi chahiye. Agar aap aise medicines gira gira kar barbaad karti rahengi, to pahle patients ki aur phir aapki jaan nikalni hi chahiye."

"Arre. Aapko medicine ki padi hai. Main la doongi ek bottle aapke store ke liye kal. Dr. Ashutosh ne jaise mera naam liya, usse meri jaan nikal gayi thi. Daantne hi aaye honge. Achchha hi hua medicine gir gayi. At least unka dhyaan daantne se to hata."

"Wonderful. Wonderful. I like your positive attitude. Dr. Ashutosh ko survive karne ke liye iski zaroorat hoti hai. Agar aapka ye attitude Dr. Ashutosh, also known as Dr. Hardstone, ko survive kar jaaye to."

"Waise Nidhi. Tujhe kissi se finally dar lagne laga?" Priyanka teased her.

"Kyon? Kya ye kissi se darti nahin?" One of the other interns asked.

"Ab tak to yahi claim tha. Lekin I think..."

"Lekin kya? Lekin kya?" Nidhi interjected, "Main ab bhi kissi se nahin darti."

"Achchha! To aise badhawaas kyon ho gayi thi Dr. Ashutosh ke aane se."

"Woh.. woh dar ki wajah se nahin hua tha," Nidhi said unconvincingly. Then an alibi struck her, "Woh to main bas chaunk gayi thi achanak unki aawaaz sun kar."

"Achchha!" Priyanka chuckled.

"Aapka pahla din to kaafi evenful raha. Aur kaafi lucky bhi. Jwalamujhi ke itna kareeb se ho kar aa gayi aap, par woh aap par fata nahin. Aage se zara saawdhaan rahein."

"Thanks for your advice Dr. Rangnath. But Dr. Ashutosh bhi insaan hi hain. Jwalamukhi nahin ki yun hi fat jayen."


"Nidhiii" Anji came to her room screaming.

"Kaan phaad daalegi kya. Kya hua hai?"

"Tujhe meri koi chinta bhi hai?"

"Pahle apni jaan ki chinta kar loon, phir teri bhi kar loongi."

"Teri jaan ko kya hua? Ab to tu practising doctor hai. Apni jaan to bacha hi legi."

"Lekin jab doctor ki khoon ke pyaase hon tab kissi ka kya ho sakta hai?"

"To doctor bani hai ya Dracula. Khoon ki pyaasi kyon ho rahi hai?"

"Khoon ki pyaasi main nahin Dr. Ashutosh hain. Hamare boss."

"Kya hua Nidhi? Aaj to tera pahle din tha. Kuchh gadbad ho gayi kya?"

"Anji. Gadbad to mera doctor banna hi tha. Ab jo ho raha hai woh uska natural outcome hai."

"Tu na to doctor bani hai, na Dracula. Mujhe lagta hai to dukh aur gham mein poetess ban gayi hai. Ab saaf saaf bata ki hua kya?"

"Kuchh nahin yaar. Ye hamare boss bade hi khadoos type ke insaan hain. Pata nahin unko life mein problem kya hai. Pata hai, unhein sab Dr. Hardstone bulate hain."

Anji laughed, "Bada cheeky naam hai."

"Khair chhod. Ab to ye roz ki kahani hone waali hai. Tu bata. Tujhe kya hua?"

"Arre yaar! Daddy mujhe job nahin accept karne de rahe hain."


"Kyonki unke hisaab se unki beti ko mistri nahin banna chahiye. Balki unke saath business mein haath bantana chahiye."

"Mistri??" It was Nidhi's turn to laugh, "Bada hi cheeky naam hai, interior designer ke liye."

"Nidhi. Mazaak ka time nahin hai. Kuchh kar."

"Ek hi insaan hai jo kuchh kar sakta hai."

"I know. Baba. Chal na - unhein is kaam ke liye taiyaar karne mein teri madad chahiye hogi."



"Baba. Aapko Anji ki madad karni hi hogi, warna main apni internship se rrsign kar doongi. Aur phir gayi meri doctori bhaad mein."

"Apne hi baap ko blackmail kar rahi ho. He bhagwaan. Meri parwarish mein aisi kya kasar rah gayi?"

"Kasar ye rah gayi Baba ki aapne mere andar ke poet ko maar kar ek doctor bana diya. Ab bhugatiye."

"Tum logon ne woh kahawat nahin suni hai - Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."


"Arre. Anji beta. Tumhari to tumahre Daddy ke saath roz roz ki struggle hai. Pahle Arts padhne ke liye thi, aaj job karne ke liye hai, aage kissi aur cheez ke liye hogi."

"To? Aap meri madad nahin karenge?"

"To main tumhein apni madad karne ke liye khud taiyaar kar doonga."

"woh kaise?"

"Tum apne Daddy se baat kyon nahin karti?"

"Unke saamne jaate hi meri to jabaan hi munh mein kahin chipak jaati hai Baba, itna dar jo jaati hoon."

"Haan. To ek kaam karo."


"Uski aankhon mein mat dekho."

"Usse kya hoga?"

"Aankhon mein nahin dekhogi, to uska gussa tumhein dikhyi nahin dega. Phir bilkul bhi dar nahin lagega."

"Sach?" Anji was skeptical.

"Bilkul sach."

"Chaliye ye bhi try kar ke dekhti hoon."


"Dr. Mallika. How are the interns doing? Maine socha ki ek baar dekhta chaloon." Ashutosh saw Mallika briefing the interns on their duties for the day and came in to the room.

"They are doing fine, Dr. Ashutosh."

"Good," he was about to leave when Nidhi came in.

Mallika shook her head knowing about the storm that was about to hit the room. Nidhi really had to barge in just then?

"Dr. Verma?" Ashutosh looked at her questioningly.

"Good... Good Morning Sir."

"You are late."

"Late? No Sir. Reporting time to aath baje ka hai."

"Abhi aath bajkar paanch minute ho rahe hain."

"Sir, aap bhi achcha mazaak kar lete hain," Nidhi smiled broadly, "Paanch minute ke liye..."

"Dr. Verma. Main koi mazaak nahin kar raha hoon. Ye profession koi mazaak nahin hai."

"Yes Sir."

"Dr. Mallika. Ward No. 3A mein aaj kis intern ki duty hai?"

"Dr. Sonali ki."

"Exchange it with Dr. Nidhi Verma's. And for next one week, she is going to be posted in that ward only."

"Okay Dr. Ashutosh."

"Dr. Verma. I want to see you there in five minutes. Not a second late," he glared at her and left. It was then that she realized that she was to work with Ashutosh for next one week. She cursed her luck, while Sonali sighed in relief from not having to face Dr. Ashutosh.

"Well Dr. Nidhi. You had it coming. Sorry - can't help. If possible behave yourself in his ward and keep away from trouble," Dr. Mallika sympathetically patted her shoulder, "Now go there quickly."

"Yes Ma'm."


"Dr. Gupta, how is Nishant doing?" Ashutosh enquired a resident doctor on duty in the ward.

"He is improving, Sir. His blood pressure is under control."

"Dr. Verma, take the briefing of the case from Dr. Gupta. His duty is about to be over. The patient will be under your observation for the rest of the day."

"Okay Sir."

"But first check his condition. Heart-beats, pulse, blood-pressure etc."

"Right Sir," her hands went around her neck to get the stethoscope, when she realized that she had forgotten it at home in hurry. Dr. Gupta saw her fidgeting and tried to discreetly hand her his own stethoscope, but it did not escape Ashutosh' notice.

"Aapka stethoscope kahan hai?"

"Woh Sir. Galti se ghar par chhoot gaya."

"Galti se? Ghar par chhoot gaya? Aur aap yahan kaise pahunch gayi? Aap ek doctor hain. Galti se aaj aapki car ka accident nahin hua. Galti se aaj aapko koi chot nahin lagi. Lekin galti se aapka stethoscope ghar par chhoot gaya. This is heights of carelessless and unprofessionalism."

Ashutosh didn't care that all the patients, doctors and other staff in the ward were staring at Nidhi, who was feeling mortified at the humiliation.

"Dr. Gupta," Ashutosh addressed him next, "Aap kissi aur on-duty doctor ko hand over kar dijiye. And Dr. Verma. Please see me in my office in fifteen minutes."

He walked off to check another patient leaving Nidhi embarrassed and confused. She ran out of the ward blinking back her tears.

Dr. Ranghnath found her in the common room, "Kya baat hai? Ye chaand par aise badal kyon chhaye hue hain? Ye phool subah subah kyon murjha gaya?"

"Dr. Rangnath. Please. Main abhi aapki poetic baaton ke mood mein bilkul nahin hoon," Nidhi was irritated.

"Let me guess, let me guess. Subah subah Dr. Hardstone ke darshan ho gaye hain aapko aur jwalamukhi fat pada."

Nidhi just made a face to confirm and did not say anything.

"Arre to phir dukhi hone ki zaroorat nahin hai. Aapko to khush hona chahiye. Kyonki jwalamukhi ke fatne ke baad to maine wahan se laashein aati hi dekhi hain. Aap to zinda hai, sahi salaamat hain. Aur woh kahte hain na ki that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Nidhi sighed and got up to leave.

"Are kahan chali aap?"

"Thoda aur majboot banne. Dr. Ashutosh ke office."

"Itni utaawali ke saath maine to kissi ko suicide karte nahin dekha hai."

"Gun point par suicide karwaya ja raha ho to koi kya kare."

"Ah! To woh aapse milna chahte hain."

"Ji. Aur agar main late ho gayi to phir se duniya ke saare patients ki jaan khatre mein pad jayegi. To main chalti hoon."

"Good luck."


Edited by sharmishtha02 - 15 March 2012 at 4:19am

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sharmishtha02 Senior Member

Joined: 02 January 2012
Posts: 858

Posted: 07 January 2012 at 11:38pm | IP Logged
Part 2


Nidhi had to grudgingly admit that she was mighty scared of Ashutosh. She couldn't figure out why. At best he would dismiss her. She would be happy about it. Then why was she scared? There was something in his personality that was terrifying. She could not put her fingers on what it was.

'Kaise handle karoongi,' she thought and then hers and Anji's conversation with Baba from yesterday came to her mind. Don't looks into his eyes, she told herself.

"So, Dr. Verma. Aapki problem kya hai?"

"Meri problem Sir? Mujhe to koi problem nahin hai."

"Problem nahin hai to aapk itni galtiyan kyon karti rahti hain?"

"Woh Sir. Haan, woh meri problem hai. Kya hai na ki main is profession ke layak hi nahin hoon. Aap mujhe is job se nikaal kyon nahin dete?"

"Woh mera faisla hoga. Waise aap kyon chahti hain ki aapko job se nikaal diya jaye?"

"Sir. Yahan galtiyan nahin kar sakte na."

"To mat kijiye galtiyan."

"Lekin Sir. Mujhse galtiyan bahut hoti hain."

"Theek hai. To woh mera kaam hai dekhna ki aap galtiyan karna chhod dein. Waise..." Ashutosh tried to ignore it, but she had managed to distract him again by her antics, "Aapki aankhon mein koi problem hai?"

"Aankhon mein problem? Nahin to Sir."

"To aap meri taraf dekh kar baat kyon nahin kar rahi hain."

"Aisa kuchh nahin hai Sir," She looked at him for a second, then again started looking elsewhere. She moved her eyes all round and said, "Dekhiye main kahin bhi dekh sakti hoon."

Ashutosh sighed. Was she trying to play too smart? He would talk to her in her language then. He dialed a number from the landline, "Dr. Fernandes, can you please come to my office for a minute?"

"Aap Dr. Fernandes ko kyon bula rahe hain?"

"Eye surgean hain woh..."

"Jaanti hoon, isliye to poochh rahi hoon."

"Abhi pata chal jayega."

Dr. John Fernandes had entered the room by then.

"Yes. Dr. Ashutosh."

"Dr. Fernandes. Meet Dr. Nidhi Verma. Children's ward mein intern hain."

John and Nidhi shook hands and exchanged formalities.

"It seems Dr. Verma thodi problem mein hain apni aankhon ko le kar. Kya aap quick check kar sakte hain?"

"Okay. Sure," John said in a rather unsure tone. Is that what Ashutosh had called him about, "Lekin machines to examination room mein hain."

"Woh bhi ho jaayega. Lekin aap ek baar manually check kar lijiye. Ye lijiye - mere paas torch bhi hai."

John realized that Ashutosh was not really serious about the examination. So, he played along. He used the torch to supposedly examine Nidhi's eyes and then declared that her eye-sight was perfect.

"Are you sure Dr. Fernandes? Agar surgery wagerah ki zaroorat ho to interns ka ilaaj bhi hamare hospital mein free mein ho jaata hai."

John suppressed his chuckle and managed to appear serious, "I think iski koi zaroorat nahin hai."

"Main jaun, Sir?" Nidh was really befuddled by now.

"Yes. In Ward No. 3A."

"Right Sir."

"Ye kya ho raha tha Ashutosh?" John asked laughing after Nidhi left.

"Kuchh nahin," Ashutosh did not join him in his laughter, "Har baar jab naye interns aate hain to koi na koi problem case hota hi hai. She is the one this time."

"Come on Ashutosh," Mallika also came into his office just then. She was done with her rounds, "Paanch minute ki deri ke liye tumne subah se use pareshaan kar rakha hai. Interns ke liye koi ICU ya emergency ka patient thode hi na wait kar raha tha."

"Mallika. Zimmedariyon ka ahsaas abhi se nahin hua to aage bhi nahin hoga."

John and Mallika exchanged a glance which said that Ashutosh was incorrigible.


"Nidhi. Baba ka idea flop tha."

"I know."

"How do you know?"

"Maine try kiya na Dr. Ashutosh ke saath."

"Daddy ke saath bhi work nahin kiya."

"Main Baba se iska badla loongi. Itna bekaar idea diya unhone."

"Kya buraiyaan kar rahi ho tum log meri," Baba interrupted their crib session.

"Baba. Aapne kaha tha na ki agar kissi se dar lage to usse baat karte samay uski aankhon mein nahin dekhna chahiye," Nidhi sprang out of her bed and came towards Baba.


"Lekin aapne ye nahin kaha tha ki woh insaan aapki aakhon ka operation bhi karwa sakta hai."

"Solanki kaise aankhon ka operation karwa sakta hai."

"Uncle nahin karwa sakte, Dr. Ashutosh to karwa sakte hain na."

"Ab kya kiya tumhare boss ne."

"Baba. Rahne dijiye. Ab main sab yaad kar ke apna mood nahin kharaab karna chahti. Aap Anji ki problem solve kijiye."

"Nahin maana tumhara baap?"

"Aapka idea hi flop tha. Aankhon mein dekho ya na dekho, unhein mujhe darana aata hai. Please chal kar baat kijiye na."

"Chalo bhai. Tumhari problem bhi nibtate hain. Nidhi to khud hi problem hai. Ab apni beti ko to main nahin nibta sakta."



The next couple of days passed in relative peace for Nidhi. Ashutosh did not get any chance to scold her. Unknown to her, Ashutosh had been observing her keenly. And he liked what he saw, when she wasn't making mistakes.

She had a senstivity towards people which as a doctor Ashutosh thought one had to learn to give up. If one keeps getting affected by everyone's pain, it could easily lead to insanity. It was important to detach oneself from it to be able to cure it professionally and effectively.
But with Nidhi, at least when she was with kids, this sensitivity did not seem to reduce her effectiveness. Kids cried less while taking injections or eating tasteless sick food, because she would often make a game out of these activities for them.


Nidhi parked her car in the first free spot she could find in the hospital parking lot. She was already late. Ashutosh would be ready to burst out on her, she was sure of that. As she rushed into the ward, she was relieved to find that Ashutosh himself had not come by then. How did that happen, she wodnered. A nurse informed her that he had to visit a patient at home, so he would be coming late to the hospital. Nidhi thanked her stars and started doing her rounds.

Ashutosh was annoyed to see his parking space occupied. He was getting late. A child was to be operated upon and the surgean wanted him to be there during the surgery as he was the one who had admitted the patient. Everything was ready. Surgean had called him to inform that they were waiting only for him.

He parked his car just behind the already parked car and rushed inside the hospital.


"Okay. Accepted. Mujhe Dr. Ashutosh to dar lagta hai," Priyanka had finally made Nidhi give in and everyone clapped when Nidhi announced that.

"Khush?" Nidhi said irritably to Priyanka, "Chal. Ab is khushi mein kahin bahar ja kar dhang ka khana kha kar aate hain."

"Tu car le kar aayi hai?"


"To phir chal," all four interns who were on the duty decided to go out for lunch.


"Offo. Ye car kiski hai. Logon ko parking karni nahin aati kya? Aise khadi kar di hai. Ise nikaalenge kaise?"

"Main security se pata karta hoon, kiski car hai," Abhijeet offered. He came back with a fallen face, "Nidhi. Tumhari kismat kharaab hai."

"Tumhein bhi Dr. Rangnath ki beemaari lag gayi Abhijeet. Seedhe seedhe bolo kya baat hai."

"Ye car Dr. Ashutosh ki hai."

"Kya?" all of then said in chorus.

"Ab kya karein? Chal kar canteen mein hi khate hain," Priyanka was sad.

"Are nahin. Unki chaabhi maang kar laate hain aur car hata lete hain. Big deal." Nidhi said.

"Sure? Unse kaun baat karega?"

"Koi bhi kar lega."

"Nidhi. Tumhari car hai na. Tumhein baat karni chahiye," Kabir offered a logical resolution.

"Haan haan. Chalo."

Dr. Ashutosh' office was connected to Dr. Rangnath's. But Dr. Rangnath was not there. 

"Dr. Rangnath hote to kam se kam ye to pata chalta ki unka mood kaisa hai."

"Haan. Aaj subah kissi surgery mein gaye the, to ward bhi nahin aaye. Mujhe bhi nahin pata ki kis mood mein hain," Nidhi said.

"To ab?"

"Ab kya? Jaati hoon andar. Maar thode hi na daalenge," Nidhi said. But she hesitated once again before knocking, "Maar bhi sakte hain. Unhein kaun rokega."

"Ab Ja," Priyanka almost pushed her.

But Ashutosh was not in his cabin.

"Ab kya karein? Bhookh lag rahi hai. Aur jaldi nahin gaye to phir aane mein bhi der ho jayegi."

"Yaar. Chabhi hi to leni hai. Jaldi se jakar le leti hoon. Car nikaal kar wapas rakh denge."


Nidhi decided to go in and asked all of them to keep an eye out. They were to inform her if Dr. Ashutosh was coming in.

To their shock, Ashutosh came in as soon as Nidhi had entered his room.

"Doctors. Aap log yahan kya kar rahe hain?"

"Woh.. kuchh nahin Sir..."


"Hum Dr. Ashutosh, I mean Dr. Rangnath se milne aaye the."

"Lekin woh to ward mein hain."

"Haan... To hum unse ward mein mil lete hain."

They all went out. Ashutosh wondered why they were behaving so weird and entered his room.

Nidhi had overheard the conversation between Ashutosh and interns. But it was too late to escape. Not knowing what to do she looked around for a place to hide in. She hadn't been able to locate one when the door creeked and Ashutosh entered. In a hurry, Nidhi took his coat lying on his chair, hid herself under it and tried to duck under the table. But Ashutosh had already seen her.

"Dr. Verma?" Ashutosh went towards the side of the table where he had seen her ducking. Unaware that while standing he could see her movements, she tried to crawl around the table to avoid him. But he came around and she suddenly found herself crawling in front of him.

With no other option left, she stood up smiling sheepishly.

"Dr. Verma. Aap yahan kya kar rahi hain?"

"Main? Kuchh... kuchh nahin Sir."

"Mere office mein kuchh nahin karne ke liye bhi ghusne se pahle meri permission leni hoti hai."

"Yes... Yes Sir."

"Hadd ho gayi. Mujhe to lagta tha ki aap sirf kaam-chor hain, lekin..."

"Sir!" Nidhi was shocked, "aap mujhe chor samajh rahe hain. Dekhiye mere paas kuchh nahin hai... Main to..."

"Mujhe kuchh nahin dekhna hai. Aur main aapko chor nahin badtameez kah raha tha. Manners kahan chale gaye hain aapke?"

"Sir. Aap aise kyon kah rahe hain?" Nidhi also became offensive, "Aapki car meri car ke peechhe khadi thi. Mujhe nikaalni thi. Main bas aapki keys lene aayi thi. Main kya karti? Aap the nahin cabin mein."

"Achchha. To woh aapki car thi. Dr. Nidhi Verma, aapko pata hai ki Junior doctors ke liye parking space alag se designated hai."

Nidhi stuck her tongue out as she realized that she might have encroached upon Ashutosh' designated parking spot. Her mistake again!

"Yes Sir. Sorry Sir."

"Dhyaan rakhiyega aage se. Ye lijiye chabhi. Gaadi nikaliye aur apni gaadi sahi jagah park kijiye."

"Yes Sir."

"Out Now."

"Yes Sir." Nidhi started going out.


Nidhi turned back all scared, "Ye coat aapko fit nahin aa raha." Nidhi had forgotten all about the coat that was still on her shoulders. She smiled sheepishly again and fumbling with the keys, her handbag, her own doctor's coat and his coat, finally managed to put his coat back on the table.

Ashutosh frowned as she did that. But after she left, he could not help a slight smile. 'Pagal hai ye ladki,' he thought to himself.


"Anji. Aaj Dr. Ashutosh ke ward mein mera aakhiri din tha. Ab hopefully Dr. Mallika mujh par raham karengi aur meri duty jaldi unke saath nahin lagayengi," Nidhi happily informed Anji when she reached home.

"Are wah! Ye to ekdum party karne waali baat hai yaar. Aur Baba ne bhi Daddy ko mana liya hai, meri job ke liye."

"Sach! Phir to bilkul party karne ki banti hai yaar. Disco chalein?"


Nidhi had Anji had just started the car, when Nidhi's mobile phone rang. She was surprised to see that it was from Dr. AShutosh.

"Hello Sir."

"Dr. Nidhi. I want you in the hospital right now."

"Lekin Sir..."

"Right now!" he said and disconnected the phone.

"Inhein ab kya ho gaya? Daantne ka quota poora nahin hua kya poore week mein?"

"Kya hua Nidhi?" Anji asked.

"Pata nahin yaar. Dr. Ashutosh ne hospital aane ko kaha hai."

"Abhi? Teri duty to..."

"Koi nahin Anji. Hum hospital se hote hue disco chalenge."



"Aaye haye Dr. Nidhi. Kahan ki taiyaari kar ke kahan aa gayi hain aap?" Dr. Rangnath found her in the reception. She was decked up to go to disco.

"Meri duty khatam ho chuki hai Dr. Rangnath. Lekin achanak se Dr. Ashutosh ka phone aaya..."

"Ohh! To woh aap thi," Rangnath became serious.

"Kya matlab?"

"Woh bed number four ke patient ko injection dena tha... Aapne diya tha?"

"Woh to maine... Oh my God!" Nidhi's eyes widened in horror, "Woh bahut ro raha tha. Maine socha ki thodi der mein de doongi aur phir main bhool gayi..."

"Uska relapse ho gaya hai. Dr. Ashutosh hain uske saath ICU mein. Jaaiye aap."

"Nidhi main rukti hoon tere saath. Ghabra mat," Anji offered her help.

Rangnath had noticed Anji, but it was hardly the time for introductions.

"Nahin Anji. Mujhe shayad yahin runka pade. Tu ghar chali ja."

"Are you sure?"

"Haan. Tu ja aur ghar par inform kar dena ki main subah hi wapas aaungi," Nidhi walked towards ICU in a daze.

"Oh! Car ki chaabhi to Nidhi ke paas rah gayi," Anji exclaimed after Nidhi had left.

Rangnath saw his chance, "Hello Anji ji. Main Dr. Rangnath. Is hospital ka senior administrator."

"Hello Dr. Rangnath," Anji smiled courteously.

"Main aapko ghar chhod deta lekin unfortunately ye sahi samay nahin hai. Kaash aapse kissi aur waqt mulaaquaat hui hoti to..."

"Aap chinta mat kijiye. Main taxi le loongi."

"Chaliye main aapko taxi dilwa deta hoon."

"Uski zaroorat nahin hai."

"Are kaise nahin hai. Taxi waale kitna lootte hain yahan. Main aas paas ke saare taxi waalon ko jaanta hoon. Sahi kiraya tay karwa doonga. Chaliye."

Anji had to accept his hospitality.

Rangnath found out from Anji that she was an interior designer while they were waiting for the taxi. Anji was irritated with his flirtatious behaviour and sighed in relief after she found the taxi and left.


Nidhi looked on as Dr. Ashutosh struggled with the child in ICU. He was having difficulty breathing. It was after half an hour that his condition showed some imrpovement and hope. Ashutosh gave the instructions to a nurse for administration of oxygen, medicines and injections for the night. Then he walked towards the door. Nidhi was standing there. His dagger eyes made her tremble.

"Apna munh saaf kijiye aur mere office mein aaiye," Ashutosh told her


"Dr. Nidhi. Aakhir aap chahti kya hain?" Ashutosh thundered, "Aapko pata tha na ki us bachche ki halat kitni critical thi. Hamari teen dinon ke mehnat ke baad uski condition improve hui thi aur aapne... Use wapas maarne mein koi kasar nahin chhodi. Dr. Nidhi. Agar us bachche ko kuchh ho jaata hai to remember this. I won't call it a natural death. I will call it a murder."

Nidhi gulped hard. Burdened by guilt, remorse and scared for the life of the child, she was in no position to defend herself or say anything. She walked out from his office teary eyed. She was not a murderer. This should not have happened at her hands. 

She walked into the ICU room the patient was lying in. She took a look at his charts and sat by his bedside. The nurse was around to take care of the patient. But she herself administered him all the medicines and injections for the night.

Ashutosh walked back into the hospital at 6 in the morning after two hours of sleep at home. He came across the nurse and asked, "Sister. Aapne us patient ko saari dawaiyan di thi."

"Ji Dr. Nidhi ne khud di hain."

"Okay. Thanks."

Ashutosh entered the room and saw that Nidhi had fallen asleep by the bedside. He was scared for a moment. Did she forget to give some medicine or injection. He checked the chart and realized that she had given him the last injection for the night an hour back. Relieved, he woke her up calmly.

Nidhi woke up all flustered. 

"Dr. Verma, please go and freshen up."

"Yes Sir," she didn't even look into his eyes and walked out.

Ashutosh checked the child and found his condition to be satisfactory.

He turned to leave the room when something attracted his notice. A pair of black bead earrings were lying on the bed, the contrast against the white bed-sheet making them very noticeable. He hesitated for a moment and then picked them up.


"Baithiye Dr. Verma," Ashutosh spoke calmly when Nidhi came to his office.

She sat down listlessly. Ashutosh felt bad seeing her condition. Her natural, bubbly self was nowhere to be seen at that moment. She was dying with guilt and her spirits were completely broken. Her eyes was downcast and face fallen.

"Dr. Verma. Aapka patient ab khatre se bahar hai."

She nodded.

"Ab iske aage aap kya karengi ye faisla aapko karna hai," the calm manner in which he was talking was surprising to Nidhi. She had come prepared to be blasted some more and probably to be fired, "Ye jo profession hai na, ye doosre professions se alag hai Dr. Verma. Yahan zindagi aur maut ke faisle hote hain. Aur aapki galtiyan doosron ke liye maut to banti hi hain, aapke khud ke liye bhi zindagi bhar ka guilt ban sakti hain. Phir bhi. Hum insaan hain aur insaanon se hi galtiyan hoti hain. Aapne apne hisse ki galti kar li hai. Iske baad aapko khud hi decide karna hai ki aapko is profession mein rahna hai ya nahin. Agar rahna hai to saavdhaani se, discipline se aur man laga kar kaam karna hoga. Aur agar nahin rahna hai to aapki marzi."

Nidhi didn't say anything. So, he continued, "Aap samay le lijiye. Soch samajh kar faisla kar lijiye. Aur phir mujhe bata dijiye ki aapko kya karna hai."

"Yes Sir," that was the first and the last she spoke that morning. She got up to leave.

"Suniye," he called her.

She turned back to see him handing her an envlope, "Ye shayad aapki kuchh cheezein hain."

She was about to ask what it was, but checked herself. She took the envelop and came out of the room. Her hands automatically went to her ears when the ear rings came out of the envelop. Dr. Ashutosh cared to pick up her ear-rings from the patient's bed and give it back to her? She was feeling surprised... and something more. But she could not put her fingers on what it was.


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sharmishtha02 Senior Member

Joined: 02 January 2012
Posts: 858

Posted: 08 January 2012 at 12:16am | IP Logged
Part 3


After informing everyone at home that the patient was fine, Nidhi wanted to be left alone. Dadi Bua was furious at the condition of her baby, but Baba and Anji understood Nidhi and made sure that she wasn't disturbed for the day. Nidhi was tired, but she could not sleep. 

She tossed and turned around in her bed. The child was out of danger. She didn't need to dwell on her mistake now. She should look at the opportunity that awaited her. She had a chance to get rid of the only thing she hated about her life. She knew, that at this juncture, even Baba won't object. She could leave medicine for good. And she should. There was no point in torturing herself. Yes she would quit.

But why did the thought make her uneasy? As if there was an umbilical cord binding her to the hospital, to the profession.

'Damn Nidhi! Ab medical terms mein sochna band kar,' she chided herself. But the restlessness would not go away. She wasn't happy. Why?

It was probably the suddenness of it all, she decided to believe. She was feeling anxious about the change awaiting her. It is always easier to go with the flow. Taking a huge decision creates tension. Yes that was it. She should think of something else. Like what was she going to do now? Yes - that would be exciting. Shopping with Anji, of course, to lift her mood. Next few nights of partying... Anji's dad would need to be handled, but she could manage that. And then...

Then what? Anji would get busy with her job. Or if her Dad changed his mind, then with his business. What career would Nidhi take up for herself? Damn! She had never ever thought about it. The only thing she knew was that she had always hated the idea of pursuing medicine, that of becoming a doctor. But she had never thought about what it was that she would love doing?

So what! There never really was a point in thinking about it earlier. Baba wouldn't let her do anything other than medicine. As much as she hated it, she couldn't really have done anything against his wishes. Especially when he always brought Mummy in between.

Mummy! Oh! Her absence was another thing she hated about her life. She hardly remembered anything about her. She had died when Nidhi was too young. Dadi Bua had been with them ever since. Auntie, Anji's Mom, also treated her like her own daughter. And yet - sometimes she did feel motherless. She never told either Dadi Bua or Auntie about that feeling. That would be unfair to them. Given how much they tried to do for her; given how much they loved her. But yes! That was the problem. They tried too hard. Mother's love would be effortless. That's why she felt a tinge of disappointment sometimes.

But why was she spending time with depressing thoughts today. She was supposed to be happy. She should be thinking about a future that she will live her way. And what was her way? Interior designing was not her cup of tea, unlike Anji. She could not be a painter or a singer. She barely managed to pass the "Fine Arts" course in her school. Her performance in medical school would have been much better, if her diagrams had come out a well. And singing? There wasn't a point in even thinking about what it would do to the people around her. She herself could not tolerate her voice, not even for bathroom singing.

An MBA? But duh! She hated the idea of either running her own business or sitting in a big corporate as a manager. Running a business was not like handling human body. She had seen her Baba working on his  business related issues all the time. And the idea of solving those issues never excited her. It was like you never knew what was the right thing to do and what wasn't. With human body, you had to identify the issue and then if you sincerely did the right thing, you would be able to get the right results. A healthy, happy person! That was the beauty of medicine, right? It healed people, it made them happy.

'Offo Nidhi. Is profession ke baare mein nahin, aur cheezon ke baare mein soch.'

'Agar Baba ne zindagi bhar mujhe doctor banne ke liye pester nahin kiya hota, to mujhe aaj ye sochne ki zaroorat nahin padti ki main kya karna chahti hoon. Maine bahut pahle hi soch liya hota ye. Baba ne bhi na... Mujhe bahut achchhe se paala hai. Lekin ye ek cheez sahi nahin ki.'

She still remembered that she would barely have celebrated the end of a semester in medical school, when Baba would be there to remind her that to become a doctor, she could not forget all she had learned in the semester just because the exams were over. Also, she had to study hard for the next semester.

"Offo Baba! Itna bhi mushkil nahin hota hai."

"Mushkil nahin hota hai? Tumhare saare dost to hai-tauba machaye rahte hain ki doctor banne ke liye kitni padhai karni padti hai."

"Haan karni padti hai. Lekin hamari body ko hi to study karna hai na Baba. Koi hazaron saalon ki history ki classes thode hi na hain ki - itna sa dimaag aur itne saare saal - bhala kahan jamaa karoge saari information?"


"Haan Baba. Dekhiye. Human body to main ek baar model dekhti hoon to mujhe samajh mein aa jati hai. Isliye exams mein koi problem nahin hai. Lekin Baba - actual khoon dekh kar na mera sar chakraata hai. To main doctor nahin ban sakti. Main college drop kar doon, please?"

"Nahin," he would say strictly and go away, while Nidhi would pout in frustration.

Human body was definitely something she understood inuitively. Her friends often wondered that how come she remembered everything without having to spend hours studying. And she never understood why they all needed to study so much. So, exams were not a problem for her. But why couldn't Baba stop pestering. She didn't want to become a doctor.

Only if Baba hadn't pestered her so much. Then she could have decided what she wanted to become. What would she have become, if not a doctor??? She tried to think. Why did she hate the idea of becoming a doctor? Because Baba kept pestering... 

Oh God! Wast that it? She hated Baba's insistence? She hated not being allowed to choose? Did she hate the profession or did she... just hate the inability to choose...

She understood the human body. She understood people and connected well with them. So, if she could choose, what would she become?

A doctor, of course.

She smiled and relaxed finally. She slept peacefully for hours. She didn't wake up for lunch. She got up after 5 in the evening. She was well-rested. She went out and saw everyone sitiing in the hall.

"Good evening," her chirpy voice startled everyone, "Kya hua hai aap logon ko? Aisi shakal bana kar kyon baithe hain."

"Nidhi," Anji rushed to her, "Tu theek hai na?"

"Main bilkul theek hoon."

"Chhote Sarkaar. Chai to bana kar laiye sab ke liye," Baba ordered, relieved seeing that Nidhi was all right.

"Aur kuchh nashta bhi le aana," Dadi Bua added, "Khane liye Yograj ne uthane hi nahin diya."

"Sahi kiya Dadi Bua," Nidhi assured her, "Mujhe bahut neend aa rahi thi. Aur thak bhi gayi thi. Ab fresh feel kar rahi hoon."


"Nidhi. Ab kya karne waali hai tu?" Anji asked her when they were in her room later.

"Kya karne waali hoon matlab?"

"Matlab tu hospital phir jayegi ya..."

"Jaungi Anji."

"Sure? Par tu to doctor nahin banna chahti na. Aur ab Baba bhi kuchh nahin kahenge."

"Jaanti hoon Anji. Par ab faisla badalne ke liye bahut der ho gayi hai. Main doctor banne ke alawa kuchh kar nahin sakti."

"Aisa kuchh nahin hai Nidhi. Tu MBA kar sakti hai, koi aur course kar sakti hai..."

"Nahin Anji. Tu galat samajh rahi hai. Main majboori mein ye nahin bol rahi hoon. Mujhe lagta hai ki isi profession mein meri khushi hai."

"Achchha!" Anji said and they sat in silence for a while.

Anji broke the silence, "Nidhi kuchh hua hai kya?"

"Kya hua hai?"

"Mujhe nahin pata. Dr. Ashutosh ne tujhse kuchh kaha kya?"

"Nahin. Bas yahi kaha ki aage ka faisla mujhe khud karna hai."

"Woh to theek hai. Kuchh aur?"





"Haan. Bahut."

"Aur phir bhi tu khush hai. Wapas jaana chahti hai? Nidhi - tujhse to kabhi kissi ki daant bardasht nahin hoti thi?"

"Unki daant theek hi thi na Anji. Koi bekaar mein daante to gussa aata hai. Lekin agar meri wajah se kissi ki jaan khatre mein pad gayi thi. To daantna to unka haq tha."

"Nidhi. Kuchh to hua hai."

"Tujhe kuchh ho gaya hai. Ye Sherlock Holmes kyon bani phir rahi hai?"

"Tu mujhse jhooth nahin bol sakti. Teri shakal par likha hai ki kuchh hua hai."

"Achcha! Shakal par likha hai to tu khud hi padh le."

"Nidhi. Tu batati hai mujhe ya main jaun? Mujhe ab gussa aa raha hai."

"Are. Kuchh hua hi nahin hai. chhoti si baat hai. Mere ear-rings patient ke bed par chhoot gaye the. To Dr. Ahustosh ko dikh gaye aur unhone mujhe utha kar wapas kar diye."

"Itne hungaame ke beech mein Dr. Ashutosh ne tujhe ear-rings wapas kiye?" Anji was surprised.

"Tab tak sab theek ho chuka tha Anji."

"Phir bhi Nidhi. Ye chhoti si to baat nahin hai... Hayee! Main mar jawan. Dr. Ashutosh bade handsome hain na waise? Kabhi milwana mujhe."

"Shut up Anji. Rai ka pahad mat banaa..."

"Kya chal raha hai bachchiyon," Baba entered the room, "Mahaul kaisa hai yahan ka?"

"Mahaul bilkul theek hai."

"Chalo achcha hai sab theek ho gaya. Warna yahan meri jaan nikal rahi thi ki kahin inka transfer hospital se jail ho gaya to main kya karoonga? Lawyer ka intezaam kaha se hoga, jail mein khaana kaun pahunchayega..."

"Baba. Aapko ye mazaak lag raha hai," Nidhi pouted.

"Achchha mazaak chhodo. Ye batao ki tumne kya faisla kiya hai. Aur haan - tum jo bhi faisla karogi mera waada hai ki main tumhara saath doonga. Agar tum hospital chhodna chaho..."

"Nahin Baba," Anji smiled teasingly, "Nidhi hospital chhod kar nahin jaane waali hai. Aap to bas iske liye ek achchha sa apology letter likh dijiye jismein ye kahe ki ab ye bahut dil laga kar aur mehnat se kaam karegi aur Dr. Ashutosh ya hospital ko shikayat ka koi mauka nahin degi."

Nidhi smiled and Baba faked getting perplexed, "Ye likhna padega."

"Haan Baba."

"Theek hai. Ye bhi sahi!"


"Sir. I understand that my actions could be con... constru... construed as..."

"Ye aapke haath mein jo letter hai usmein likha hai?"

"Y... Yes Sir. Actually Baba se help li to unhone kuchh zyada hi formal likh diya hai."

Ashutosh smiled, "Theek hai. Aap letter mujhe de dijiye. Main padh loonga."

"Sir. Main itni formally apne aap ko express nahin kar pati, but I am really serious about it now and I promise ki aage se mere kaam se aapko shikayat ka koi mauka nahin milega."

"Sure. Welcome back and at the cost of repeating myself you must remember that..."

"Sir woh mujhe yaad hai. Hamare profession mein hamare haath mein zindagi aur maut hoti hai. Yahan mistakes ki, carelessness ki ya inefficiency ki koi gunjaish nahin hoti hai. Aur khaas kar ke is ward mein bilkul nahin."

Ashutosh laughed out loud surprising Nidhi. In the last couple of weeks she had spent at the hospital, she had never seen him laughing like that. He didn't look the Dr. Hardstone when he laughed.

Mallika had come to Dr. Ranghnath's office when she heard the laughter from Ashutosh' office. A few moments later, she saw Nidhi coming out of the room. Curious, she went in.

Ashutosh was still laughing slightly, "Kya baat hai Ashutosh? Aaj tum Dr. Nidhi Verma ko daantne ki bajay unke saamne aise hans rahe ho."

"That girl is ridiculously funny Mallika."

"I can't believe this. Itne dinon ke baad maine tumhein hanste dekha. Aur uski wajah ek gair-zimmedaar, galtiyan karne waali ladki hai."

"Let's be fair to her. She has learnt her lesson. Maine use observe kiya hai pichhle ek hafte mein. For a fresher, she knows her stuff well. Carelessness was her only vice and I think ab woh chali jayegi."

Mallika didn't like Ashutosh' praises for the girl. She wasn't tactical enough to hide her irritation, "Logon ka basic nature nahin badalta Ashutosh. I would not trust her to be careful."

"Let's see," Ashutosh ignored the irritation in her voice, "Aise karo Mallika, uski duty agle ek mahine ke liye mere hi saath laga do. I'm sure the discipline will do her good. Main chalta hoon. Mujhe Dr. Gupta se ek case discuss karna hai."


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sharmishtha02 Senior Member

Joined: 02 January 2012
Posts: 858

Posted: 08 January 2012 at 12:34am | IP Logged
Part 4

Later in the day, Mallika walked towards Ashutosh' ward to take a break and have a chat with him. She found Nidhi sitting with the same child whose relapse had happened because of her forgetting the injection.

"Dr. Nidhi. Aap mujhe injections se bacha lengi na. Please."

"Aisa nahin kahte beta. Injections nahin loge to theek kaise hoge. Yaad hai na pichhli baar injection nahin liya tha to aapki tabiyat kaise kharaab ho gayi thi. Chalo koi nahin. Mujhe na ek jaadu aata hai. Usse injection machchar ke kaatne jaisa lagta hai. Bilkul dard nahin hota. Sister. Aap mujhe de dijiye. Injection main laga doongi."

"Dr. Nidhi," Mallika interrupted, "Injection aap sister ko hi lagane dijiye. Ye ab aapka patient nahin hai."

Nidhi was embarrassed. But it had been her fault, so she could not oppose Mallika. She nodded sadly.

"Dr. Mallika," it was Ashutosh who had overheard their conversation, "She has learnt her lesson. She will take good care of the patient, I am sure. Dr. Verma - he is your patient. Please continue," he smiled slightly.

"Thank you, Sir," Nidhi hoped that her gratitude was coveyed to Dr. Ashutosh through her "thank you". She felt really happy that he trusted her.

Mallika was annoyed. But she could not say anything just then.


"Ashutosh. Aaj raat kahin dinner par chalte hain na."

"Bilkul mood nahin hai Mallika aaj. Bahut thak gaya hoon. Kissi aur din chalte hain."

Mallika sighed. As much as she tried, she could never really get through to Ashutosh. Anyone would think she was a fool. But she was hopelessly in love with this man. And could never really think beyond him. She had waited for him for last twelve year and was ready to wait for the rest of her life. It wasn't like Ashutosh was going anywhere. She had the satisfaction of being the only woman who mattered in his life. And she was happy with that. Her mother was not. But she could handle her. After all, it wasn't she who was dependent on anyone. She was taking care of her mother too, when her brother had refused to take full time responsibility of their aging mother. Nobody could really tell her how she should be living her life.

"Ashutosh. Thak nahin jaate tum is akelepan se?"

"Akelapan woh pahla ahsaas hai to maine jaana tha Mallika. I am naturally comfortable with it. Beech ke saal abberation the."

"Ek baar koshish to karo isse bahar nikalne ki. Achchha mahsoos karoge. Khush rahoge."

"Khushiyon ka mujhe bharosa nahin hai Mallika. Jab chali jaati hain to bahut chot pahunchati hain. Aur woh chot khane ki himmat mujhme nahin hai."

"Raaste par accident ke dar se log agar raaston par chalna chhod dein, to hum doctaron ka kya hoga Ashutosh. No emergency cases!" Mallika joked.

"Raaste par chalna to band nahin kar sakte. Lekin seat-belt laga kar to drive kar sakte hain na."

Mallika smiled accepting her defeat. She will have to be happy with whatever there was. Not push for more. Else she might end up losing even what she had.

"Chalo Mallika. Main jaane ke pahle ek baar ward ka round le loon. Dekh loon ki koi emergency to expected nahin hai."

"Main bhi tumhare saath chalti hoon. Maine apne ward ka dekh liya hai."

"Okay. Chalo."


"Sister. Kya halat hai is bachche ki?" Ashutosh asked about the first patient he visited.

"Blood pressure stable hai, Sir."

"Ashutosh. Tumne Dr. Nidhi ko round lene ko kaha tha kya?" Mallika asked as she looked at the patient's charts.

"Nahin to. Kyon?"

"Woh abhi round le kar gayi hain."

"Yes Sir," the nurse said, "Dr. Nidhi abhi abhi round le kar gayi hain."

"Impressive," Ashutosh said, "Pahle to kuchh kaho phir bhi nahin maanti thi. Ab khud initiative lekar kaam kar rahi hain."

"I think she is trying too hard to impress you," Mallika felt bitter.

"Good for her. Uske professional growth mein help karegi," Ashutosh did not take the bait. It annoyed Mallika.

"Ashutosh. Mujhe kuchh zaroorai kaam yaad aa gaya hai. Main ghar ja rahi hoon," she said hoping that he would ask her to wait for him.

But Ashutosh was not affected, "Theek hai. Tum jao Mallika. Main thodi der aur rukne ki soch raha hoon."

"Kyon? Ab to rounds lene ki bhi zaroorat nahin hai."

"Haan. Lekin kuchh aur kaam nibta leta hoon."

"Fine," Mallika said and left the ward.


"Dr. Verma," 

"Y... Yes Sir," Ashutosh' voice startled Nidhi as she was taking water from the water cooler. She spilled the water over her dress, as she turned around.

"I am sorry. Maine aapko dara diya lagta hai."

"Nahin Sir. Main bas zaraa chaunk gayi thi. Koi kaam tha Sir? Waise main ward mein wapas ja hi rahi thi."

"Nahin theek hai. Aap aaraam kar lijiye. Abhi to aap rounds le kar wapas aayi hain na?"

"Aapko kaise pata?"

"Main gaya tha wahan. Waise maine aapko is waqt rounds lene ko to nahin kaha tha."

"Haan. Par Sir aap roz lete hain. Main night duty ke liye jaldi aa gayi thi aur free thi to maine socha... Ismein kuchh problem to nahin hai?" her voice suddenly became weak and unsure.

"Nahin nahin. Koi problem nahin hai. Initiative le kar kaam karna to achchi baat hoti hai."

"Thank you, Sir."

"Lekin haan. Ye dhyaan rakhiye ki khud ko over-work na kar lein aap. Burn out ho sakta hai."

Nidhi smiled, "Ye baat aapke munh par shobha nahin deti, Sir."

"Kya matlab?"

"Aap khud itna kaam karte hain ki aap kissi aur ko aaraam karne ki salaah dein, ye to sahi nahin hai."

Ashutosh laughed, "Theek hai. To jab aaj aapne kaam karne ka faisla kar liya hai, to main jaldi ghar chala jaata hoon. Aaraam karta hoon. You take care."

"Good night, Sir."

"Good night."


Ashutosh had forgotten his mobile in the living room. Still  his sleep was disturbed when it rang at midnight.

"Kaka, aap jage hain kya? Mera phone to dijiye."

"Jaga hoon beta. Lekin itni raat mein phone uthana zaroori hai kya?"

Ashutosh had come out of his bedroom by then, "Ye to is par depend karta hai ki phone kiska hai?"

Phone had stopped ringing. Kaka looked at the missed call list and said, "Dr. Mallika ka hai."

"To dijiye na Kaka. Koi zaroori baat hogi," he took his phone, went inside his room and called Mallika back.

"Mallika, kya baat hai? Koi emergency hai kya hospital mein?"

"Hospital mein to nahin hai."

"Phir kahan hai?"

"Mere ghar mein."

"Kya hua tumhein?" Ashutosh asked worriedly.

"Mujhe neend nahin aa rahi hai Ashutosh."


"Haan to mujhe bahut urgently ek dost ki zaroorat hai jisse main baatein kar sakoon."

"Oh God! Mallika. Tumhein ye aadhi raat ko mazaak soojh raha hai. Mujhe subah hospital jaldi jaana hai."

"I am sorry Ashutosh! Lagta hai maine tumhein bahut annoy kar diya."

"Nahin Mallika. Agar sach mein koi problem hai to batao. Tumhein pata hai ki uske liye main samay nahin dekhoonga."

"Mujhe pata hai Ashutosh ki zarooratmandon ke liye tum kuchh bhi kar sakte ho. Lekin kuchh zarooratein alag hoti hain. Unhein roti, kapda, makaan, health - is tarah ki zarooraton ke saath nahin rakha ja sakta. Kabhi logon ki waisi zarooraton ke baare mein socha hai tumne?"

"Mallika. Tumne pee rakhi hai kya? Itni raat ko itni philosophical kyon ho rahi ho? Mujhe kuchh nahin samajh mein aa raha hai."

Mallika laughed sadly, "Chalo koi baat nahin Ashutosh. Bas tumse baat karne ka man ho raha tha. Woh kar liya. Tum so jao. Good night."

"Good night, Mallika."


Ashutosh had hardly kept the phone back when it rang again. It was from Nidhi. This worried Ashutosh. She was on the night duty. Had something gone wrong?

"Dr. Verma? What's the problem?"

"I am sorry Dr. Ashutosh ki itni raat ko aapko disturb kiya. Lekin yahan ek bachche ki tabiyat bahut kharaab ho gayi hai. Mere hisaab se immediately operate karna padega. Dr. Mallika ka patient hai, lekin unka mobile switched off hai. Aap hospital aa sakte hain?"

"Main immediately nikal raha hoon."

Ashutosh picked Mallika up from her house on his way.

"Kya problem hai Dr. Verma?"

"Sir, meri diagnosis ke hisaab se use appendix ki problem hai. Lekin..."

"Lekin kya?"

"Lekin ye nonsense hai. Use maine admit kiya tha. Use ulcer ki problem hai," Mallika replied sharply.

Ashutosh looked at the case files and asked whether certain tests had been done while admitting.

"Unki zaroorat nahin thi Ashutosh. Its a simple case."

"Dr. Verma?"

"Sir. Ulcer aur Appendix ke symptoms bahut similar hote hain, ye mujhe pata hai. Lekin main sure hoon ki ye case ulcer ka nahin hai. Aur operation immediately karna hoga. Patient bahut pain mein hai aur mujhe dar hai ki appendix rupture kar sakta hai."

"Agar aapke diagnosis galat saabit hua to?"

"To responsibility meri hai."

"Okay then. Bachche ko operation ke liye taiyaar kijiye aur surgeon ko bulaiye."

"Yes Sir."

Mallika was surprised. She snapped at Ashutosh after Nidhi left, "Ashutosh. Ye kya bachpana hai? Tum is ladki ke diagnosis par bharosa kar rahe ho. Ye kal ki ladki..."

"Mallika. Tumhein aisa lagta hai ki main kissi patient ki jaan ke saath kheloonga?"

"Nahin Ashutosh. Lekin..."

"Main operation theatre mein ja raha hoon."

Mallika stayed back. She didn't join the operation.


Nidhi was pacing in front of the operation theatre, praying furiously that her diagnosis was right. Otherwise, she might have, yet again, placed a patient's life in danger.

She ran towards Ashutosh when he came out of the theatre.

"Aapka diagnosis bilkul sahi tha Dr. Verma. Appendix rupture ho jaata agar surgeon se samay par sambhaa nahin liya hota."

Nidhi sighed in relief and happiness. A life was saved!

"Good job Dr. Verma."



"Jab aapne operate karne ke liye decide kiya tha to aapko pata tha..."

"Haan. Mujhe pata tha. Lekin main chahta tha ki aap khud confidence se faisle lena seekhein."

Nidhi smiled with gratitude, "Thank you, Sir."


"Mallika. Tum ab tak yahan baithi ho?"

"Haan. Ab to dubara padhai karne ki zaroorat padegi na? Ek intern ka diagnosis mujhse behtar saabit ho raha hai. Socha tumhari kitaabon ki madad le loon."

"Come on Mallika. Bachchon ki tarah baatein mat karo. Admit it. She is good!" he tried to laugh it off.

"Ashutosh. Ab tum mere jale par namak chhidak rahe ho."

"Listen Mallika. Don't over do it," Ashutosh became serious.

"Overdo what?"

"Mallika. Tum mujhse naaraaz thi isliye phone switch off kar diya tha mujhse baat karne ke baad. Ek baar bhi ye nahin socha ki agar tumhare kissi patient ko tumhari zaroorat padegi to woh tumhein kaise inform karenge? Aur abhi? Abhi tumhein khush hona chahiye ki tumhare galat diagnosis ke baawjood us bachche ki jaan bach gayi. Kyonki Dr. Verma ne sahi samay par sahi diagnosis ki aur mujhe phone kiye. Uske liye bajay unhein complement dene ke ya thanks kahne ke, tum ye bachchon ki si race laga baithi ho unke saath? Ye kaisa bachpana hai Mallika? Kya hum personal aur professional life ko alag nahin rakh sakti?"

"Mere liye bahut der ho chuki hai Ashutosh. Aaj tak main inhein alag nahin rakh payi. Warna shayad is hospital mein nahin hoti. Mere liye bahut der ho chuki hai aisa kuchh bhi karne ke liye."


But she did not give him the chance to say anything else and ran out of his office.

Ashutosh sank into his chair. What was he to do with Mallika? There was no doubt that she was loyal to him. She had always been. But he couldn't reciprocate her feelings. He hadn't given her any false hopes either. He had always told her that there could be nothing else between them other than friendship. Even when he hadn't closed himself to the possibility of love, relationship and trust, she wasn't the one. He respected her loyalty, but he had to be honest with himself. He didn't identify with her, he didn't have the kind of respect for her that he would have wanted in a life partner. He didn't want to be rude to her. He wished that she would understand. She didn't. Now, he wasn't looking for love or relationship in his life. So, it was easy not to hurt her. He would tell her that there could be no woman in his life. That's the escapist route he had taken with her. Normally, it didn't create a problem. But sometimes...

"May I come in, Sir?"

Ashutosh came out of his thoughts and smiled as he recognized the voice, "Please come in Dr. Nidhi. Patient theek hai?"

"Yes Sir. Use OT se shift karwa diya hai. Uski condition stable hai. Lekin aapke aaraam karne ka plan to aaj fail ho gaya. Main aapke liye chai layi hoon," she kept the cup on the table. Ashutosh noticed that there was something pleasant in her demeanour, which made him forget his tensions and feel happy.

"Thank you Dr. Verma. Aapki duty kab tak hai?"

"Sir subah ke 6 baje tak. Aap wapas ghar nahin jayenge?"

"Nahin. Phir kuchh ghanton mein aana hi padega. Main yahin ruk jaata hoon. Aap baithiye na."

"Ji," Nidhi sat down on a chair.

"So, Dr. Nidhi. Aapki PG entrance ki preparation kaisi chal rahi hai?" Ashutosh was not conscious, but Nidhi noticed that he had called her Dr. Nidhi and not Dr. Verma, as he normally used to. But his question took her by surprise, "PG ki preparation?"

"Haan. Kyon? Post graduation to karna hai na aapko?"

"Umm.. Acutually kabhi socha hi nahin. Main to..."

"Doctor hi nahin banna chahti thi..."

Nidhi laughed embarrasedly, "Ji."

"Lekin ab to aap doctor ban rahi hain. Apni marzi se. Aur mere khayaal mein bahut achchhi doctor ban rahi hain. To ab to aapko PG ke baare mein definitely sochna chahiye. Achchhe career ke liye zaroori hai."

"Ji. Main zaroor sochungi."

There was an awkward silence for a while. Then Nidhi broke it as she got up, "Sir. Main ward mein jaati hoon."

Ashutosh nodded. Though he was longing for her company. It cheered him up. But he didn't have any reason to keep her there. He wasn't good at even small talk.

There was a couch in his office. Ashutosh decided to take a nap on it. He slept peacefully and woke up only at seven in the morning.

He got up and thought about checking on Nidhi. Then he realized that she would have left by six.


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sharmishtha02 Senior Member

Joined: 02 January 2012
Posts: 858

Posted: 08 January 2012 at 12:46am | IP Logged
Part 5

"Dr. Nidhi? Aap yahan? Subah hi to aapki duty khatam hui thi?" Ashutosh was surprised to see Nidhi in the hospital at half past ten in the morning.

"Ji. Lekin aaj woh Chandan discharge hone waala tha. Aur maine usse waada kiya tha ki jab woh theek ho jayega to main use ghumaane le jaungi. Isliye main aa gayi."

Chandan was the same child whose injection Nidhi had forgotten to give. The one injection that had changed her life for good.

Ashutosh smiled, "To apne waade ki bahut pakki hain aap."

"Koshish karti hoon ki na todoon."

Nidhi noticed a flicker of sadness on his face before he started smiling again, "Achchha hai Dr. Nidhi. Waade nahin todne chahiye. Saamne waale ko bahut dukh hota hai. Lekin haan - aap aise waade saare patients mat karne lagiyega. Warna aapki saari salary aur saara time unhein ghumane mein hi chala jayega."

Nidhi laughed, "Yes Sir."


Nidhi reflected on her life over last few days as she roamed around the city with Chandan. She was a completely different person than what she was before the night she had forgotten his injection. And she felt content, happy with the way she was now. Even proud. She was proving to be a good doctor. Even Dr. Hardstone, Dr. Ashutosh admitted that. She grinned to herself as she thought about that. And there was only one person who was responsible for this transformation of her. Dr. Ashutosh. Anyone else in his place would have fired her. But he had let her decide. Dr. Mallika still considered her incapable of anything after that incident. But Dr. Ashutosh gave her a chance. No wonder she had come to look upto him and respect him so much. She sent up a silent prayer that she should never fail his trust. He was her idol.


"Mujhe pata tha aap yahin hongi," Dr. Rangnath entered the common room, where Nidhi was sitting alone, "Baat kya hai? Aaj kal jab bhi dekho aapka hi chehra hospital mein nazar aata hai. Main to bore ho gaya dekh dekh kar. Baaki sab ko kaam se nikalwane ka irada hai kya?"

"Irade to aap Dr. Mallika se poochhiye. Unki kuchh zyada hi meharbaani ho rahi mere oopar. To night duties par night duties mil rahi hain."

"Achchi baat hai. Chai pijiye," he handed her a cup.

"Nidhi!" Suddenly they heard Anji's voice at the door of the common room.

"Anji. Tu is waqt yahan kya kar rahi hai?"

"Are kya karoon? Tujhe to aaj kal baat karne ki bhi fursat nahin hoti? Baba bhi kah rahe the ki tu aajkal milti hi nahin. To maine socha yahin aa kar mil loon."

"Haan. Anji. Aajkal night duties lag rahi hain na."

"Teri itni night duties kyon lag rahi hain aaj kal? Aur doctors nahin hain kya hospital mein?"

"Pata nahin Anji."

"Dr. Nidhi," a nurse came in, "Bed No. 5 ke patient ko saans nahin aa rahi hai. Shayad oxygen ki zaroorat hai."

"Anji. Main 10 minute mein aati hoon. Tu yahin ruk."

"Are aap fikra mat kijiye," Dr. Ranghanth spoke in his typical style, "Main hoon na inka khayaal rakhne ke liye."

"Meri friend ko zyada pareshaan mat kijiyega Dr. Rangnath."

"Are. Kaisi baatein karti hain aap? Itna sa bhi bharosa nahin hai aapko mere oopar?"

"Dr. Rangnath..." Nidhi chided him and then went with the nurse.

In his flirting session, Rangnath managed to get Anji to accept that designers take up freelancing assignment and she would think about taking up an assignment of redecorating the children's ward at Dr. Kotnis General Hospital.

As Nidhi was coming back, she met Ashutosh on the way. 

"Doctor Nidhi. Everything all right?"

"Yes Sir. Bas woh bed no. 5 ke patient ko oxygen ki zaroorat thi. Woh laga kar aayi hoon."

"Good. Aap common room mein ja rahi hain?"

"Ji. Darasal meri friend aayi hui hai. To main thodee der wahin baithne ki soch rahi hoon."

"Sure. In fact, main bhi common room hi ja raha tha, coffee lene. Chaliye."

Nidhi introduced Anji and Ashutosh, after which Anji took their leave, "Daddy ko pata nahin hai ki main akeli yahan aa gayi hoon. Ab chalti hoon warna ghar par toofaan aa jayega."

Everyone laughed and Nidhi said, "Theek hai Anji. Main tujhse ghar wapas aa kar milti hoon."

"Main inhein bahar tak chhod aata hoon," Rangnath said.

Nidhi looked at him with a smirk.

"Iski zaroorat nahin hai Dr. Rangnath," Anji said.

"Are kaise zaroorat nahin hai. Aap bhi kya sochengi ki hum doctors ko hospitality ka matlab nahin pata. Kyon Dr. Ashutosh?"

Ashutosh was caught by surprise, "Yes. Of course. Bilkul."

Ashutosh and Nidhi smiled at each other after they were left alone.

"Dr. Rangnath ka kuchh nahin ho sakta," Ashutosh said.

"Haan. Lekin ye to manna padega ki woh hospita ke mahaul ko light rakhne mein bahut helpful hain. Warna to..."

Ashutosh stared at Nidhi and she realized her faux pas. If there was one person in the hospital that could be considered a complete contrast to Rangnath, it was Ashutosh. "Nahin, nahin... Mera woh matlab nahin tha," she but her lips.

Ashutosh was amused, "Aapka kya matlab nahin tha Dr. Nidhi?"

"Matlab... Nahin mera kuchh matlab nahin tha. Main aapke liye coffee lati hoon. Ya aap chai lenge?"

"Coffee will be good."

"Dr. Ashutosh. Aapse ek baat kahni thi," Nidhi said sheepishly after she brought the coffee.


"Agar aapko sahi lage to main kya kabhi kabhi aapko OPD mein bhi assist kar sakti hoon?"

"Sure. Ismein galat lagne waali kya baat hai? Lekin OPD mein kyon?"

"Wahan ka experience different hota hai. Thoda unpredictable. Immediate diagnosis karni hoti hai jahan tak ho sake. Main uska bhi experience chahti hoon."

Ashutosh looked impressed, "Sure. Main generally dopahar mein do baje se chaar baje tak OPD mein baithta hoon. Agar aap free hon to jab chahe mere saath aa jaiye."

"Thank you, Sir. Aur haan... Maine PG entrance ki preparation bhi shuru kar di hai."

"Ye to bahut achchhi baat hai. Agar aapko kissi tarah ki madad ki zaroorat ho to aap behichak mere paas aa jaiyega."

"Ji Sir."

"Chaliye. Coffee khatam ho gayi. Main chalta hoon."


Nidhi had come back after thirty consecutive hours of duty at the hospital. Dadi Bua was fussing around her and even Baba looked worried.

"Dadi Bua. Main hospital se aayi hoon, koi war se nahin. Main theek hoon. Abhi bhookh nahin hai. Hospital mein khana khaya tha. Bas aap Chhote Sarkar se kah kar mere liye chai bhijwa dijiye, mere kamre mein," she managed to calm Dadi Bua down and went to her room. She didn't feel like sleeping yet and took out her books for PG entrance exam preparation, when Baba came in.


"Baba. Aaiye na."

"Beta tumse kuchh baat karni thi."

"Haan Baba. I am sorry. Aaj kal kuchh zyada hi time hospital mein ja raha hai. Aapse baatein karne ka mauka hi nahin milta. Bataiye kya baat hai."

"Nidhi. Tumne meri baat maan kar MBBS kar liya, internship bhi join kar li. Lekin ab chhod do."


"Nidhi, main nahin chahta ki meri beti ki muskurahat yun gayab ho jaye. Jab bhi dekho ya to hospital mein rahti ho, ya PG ki preparation ko le kar kitabon mein doobi rahti ho. Aankhon mein gaddhe pad gaye hain tumhare. Main tumhein aise torture to nahin karna chahunga na."

"Baba. Ab main ye profession nahin chhod sakti. Uske liye der ho gayi hai. Ye jo profession hai na Baba , ye dheere-dheere hamari life ka ek hissa ban jaata hai. Zindagi rahte hum ise nahin chhod sakte," Nidhi had heard Ashutosh say those words some time and she realized that she indentified with them word by word now.

"To phir tum khush ho?"

"Bahut khush hoon."

"Aur ye tumhare khadoos boss, Dr. Ashutosh tumhein pareshaan to nahin karte ab zyada."

Nidhi smiled, "Nahin Baba..."

"Baba! Dr. Ashutosh ki against aap kuchh mat boliye," Anji suddenly entered the room.

"Kyon bhai?"

"Kuchh nahin. Woh bahut achche doctor hain," Nidhi did not let Anji speak, "Daantte bhi hai to sahi cheez ke liye hi. I look up to him."

"Chalo achchha hai. Tum log baatein karo. Main dinner ke pahle thoda walk kar loon."

"Aur Nidhi madam. Aapko kuchh hosh bhi hai ki hospital ke bahar aur Dr. Ashutosh ke alaawa kissi aur ke saath kya ho raha hai?"

"Mujhe pata hai ki hospital ke andar Dr. Rangnath ke saath kya ho raha hai."

"Kya matlab?"

"Nahin. Woh aaj kal children's ward ke redecoration ko le kar kuchh zyada hi obsessed ho gaye hain. Aur suna hai ki tu free mein kaam kar rahi hai."

"Chup kar. Sun Baba ka birthday hai next week, tujhe yaad bhi hai?"

"Of course, yaad hai."

"To kuchh preparation karni hai ki nahin..."

Just then Nidhi's mobile rang. They both saw that it was from Dr. Ashutosh.

"Ek minute Anji," Nidhi said apologetically.

"Go ahead. Pick up. Dr. Ashutosh ka hai. Main kaise mana kar sakti hoon?"

Nidhi hit her playfully and picked up the phone.

"Yes Sir... Lekin Sir..." The call was disconnected. Nidhi looked disturbed.

"Kya hua Nidhi?" Anji asked worried.

"Pata nahin Anji. Mujhe abhi hospital jaana padega."

"Lekin abhi to tu 30 ghante ki duty kar ke aayi hai. Phir abhi raat ko?"

"Abhi mujhe kuchh nahin pata Anji. Tu Baba ko bata dena..."


"Yes Sir?" Nidhi entered Ashutosh' cabin.

"Yes Sir? Dr. Nidhi aap aaj apni duty par kyon nahin thi?" Ashutosh was clearly angry.

"Duty par. Sir. Abhi do ghante pahle to meri duty khatam hui hai. Main tab tak yahin thi."

"Dr. Nidhi. Aaj aapki night duty thi. Aapko pata hai na ki Bed No. 5 ke patient ko oxygen ki zaroorat padti rahti hai. Aaj jab use zaroorat padi to wahan koi doctor nahin tha."

"Par aaj meri duty nahin thi Sir. Maine jaane ke pahle notice-board par dekha tha."

"Maine notice-board se dekh kar hi aapko bulwaya hai."

"Phir Dr. Mallika ne mere jaane ke baad notice lagaya hoga. Aur mujhe kissi ne inform bhi nahin..."

"Bas kijiye Dr. Verma. This is a first. Kam-se-kam aap pahle apni galtiyan doosron par nahin thopti thi. Ab aap Dr. Mallika ke oopar ilzaam laga rahi hain."

"Main kissi par koi ilzaam nahin laga rahi Dr. Ashutosh. Lekin..."

"Oh God! Mujhe laga tha ki aap apne profession ko, apne career ko le kar serious ho gayi hain. But I was wrong. Aap ratti bhar bhi nahin badli Dr. Verma."

Nidhi's eyes moistened at this, "Dr. Ashutosh. Maana ki mujhse galtiyan hui hain. Lekin iska matlab ye nahin ki yahan jo bhi galti hoti hai, woh mujhse hi hoti hai. Aapko main pasand nahin hoon, iska ahsaas mujhe pahle din se hi hai. Aur main poori koshish kar rahi hoon ki achchhe se apna kaam karoon. Aapko shikayat ka mauka nahin doon. Lekin lagta nahin ki usse mere baare mein aapki opinion zara bhi change hui hai. Aapko nahin lagta ki main aapke under kaam karne ke layak hoon. Aap chahte hain ki main resign kar doon. Hai na?" 

Her outburst suprised Ashutosh and her accusations hurt him, "You know that is not true."

"Nothing else be more true. Warna bina apni galti ke main is waqt aapki daant nahin sun rahi hoti. Aap mujhe bol dijiye jo aap chahte hain. Main kar doongi resign. Lekin isliye nahin ki main kaam nahin karna chahti, ya nahin kar sakti. Balki isliye ki aap aise chahte hain."

Tears were uncontrollably flowing from her eyes now and she ran out of his office to not let herself break down in front of her.

Ashutosh was exasperated. Did he indeed over-react? Was it indeed not her fault. Just then the landline in his office rang.

"Hello Dr. Ashutosh. Dr. Nidhi ki father aapse baat karna chahte hain," the receptionist told him.

"Call transfer kijiye."

"Hello. Dr. Ashutosh?"

"Ji main bol raha hoon."

"Dr. Ashutosh - main Yograj Verma bol raha hoon. Nidhi Verma ka father."

"Ji Mr. Verma. Kahiye."

"Sorry to disturb you. Lekin baat aisi ho gayi ki main Nidhi ke liye thoda pareshaan ho gaya. Aur woh apna mobile ghar par bhool kar aa gayi hai, to main usse baat nahin kar pa raha. Abhi do-teen ghante pahle hi woh duty se lauti thi. Phir Anji ne bataya ki aapka phone aaya aur jaldbaazi mein wapas chali gayi. Kya phir koi galti ho gayi usse?"

"Nahin. Nahin Mr. Verma. Unse koi galti nahin hui hai. Yahan kuchh confusion ho gaya tha. I am really sorry. Aapko itni pareshaani hui. Main unhein wapas bhej doonga. Aap pareshaan mat hoiye."

"Thank you Dr. Ashutosh."

"No Problem."

Ashutosh went to Dr. Rangnath's cabin first to have a look at the duty chart. Nidhi was right. She had done a 30 hours duty. It made no sense to have another night duty for her starting right after that. Mallika must have messed up.


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sharmishtha02 Senior Member

Joined: 02 January 2012
Posts: 858

Posted: 08 January 2012 at 1:13am | IP Logged
Part 6

"Dr. Nidhi," he woke her up.

"Yes Sir," she was clearly cross with him.

"Aapne rounds le liye?"

"Yes Sir."

"Theek hai. Ab aap wapas ja sakti hain. Main Dr. Kabir se baat kar li hai. Baaki ki night duty par woh rahenge."

"Nahin Sir. Ab main subah hi jaungi."

"Aapke father ka phone aaya tha. Aap apna mobile ghar par bhool aayi hain." Nidhi's hands automatically went to the mobile case attached to her purse. It was indeed missing.

"Woh bahut pareshaan hain," Ashutosh continued, "Aapko ghar jaana chahiye."

"Main unhein phone kar loongi. Car driver ke paas hai. Woh subah wapas aayega."

"That's not a problem. I will drop you," Ashutosh said and smiled.

For some reason, Nidhi no longer felt upset at him. She also ended up smiling.


"Sir. Aap Baba se nahin milenge?" Nidhi asked him when the car pulled up in front of her home.


"Mere father."

"Aap unhein Baba kahti hain?"

"Ji. Mummy ne sikhaya tha jab woh zinda thi. Woh bhi apne father ko Baba kah kar bulati thi."

"Jinhein aap Baba kahti hain, main unse zaroor milna chahunga."

"Kyon? Agar Baba na kah kar kuchh aur kahti to?"

"Jise Baba kaha jaata hai, woh definitly bahut achcha aadmi hota hai."

"Woh bahut happy-go-lucky insaan hain, logon ki taang kheenchne mein to unhein bahut mazaa aata hai. Agar aap woh enjoy karte hain, to main itna to promise kar sakti hoon ki aap bilkul bore nahin honge unke saath."

"I am sure. Chaliye. Aapke Baba se milte hain," Ashutosh smiled.


"Aaiye. Aaiye Dr. Ashutosh. Itna suna tha Nidhi se aapke baare mein. Finally mulaquaat ho rahi hai. Baithiye please. Kahiye. Kya shiquayat hai aapko Nidhi se?"

Ashutosh laughed out loud, "Ji nahin. Main shiquayat karne nahin. Coffee peene aaya tha."

"Bilkul. Bilkul. Nidhi zara Chhote Sarkar se kahna..."

"Ye unka TV dekhne ka time hai Baba. Unhein rahne dijiye. Main bana kar laati hoon."

"Ye bhi theek hai. Dr. Ashutosh. Kuchh aur banana offer karti to main aapko khatre mein nahin daalta. Lekin coffee ye achchhi bana leti hai."

Ashutosh laughed once again and Nidhi's heart leapt with joy to see him bond do well with Baba.


"Anji. Bistar se nikal aur abhi ke abhi yahan aa ja," Nidhi cried on phone.

She quickly checked herself in the mirror, brushed her hair and dabbed her face with face powder before rushing to the kitchen.

"Aadhi raat ko kya hua Nidhi?" Anji's voice was still sleepy when she entered the kitchen.

"Dr. Ashutosh aaye hain."


"Haan. Woh mujhe drop karne aaye the. To maine unhein coffee ke liye bula liya."

"Coffee ke liye. Quite meaningful!" Anji winked.

"Shut up Anji. Maine unhein Baba se milne ke liye bulaya tha."

"Of course. Lekin ghar mein to kai log aate jaate rahte hain. Aaj tak ye special coffee to kissi ke liye nahin bani."

"Woh mere boss hain Anji."

"To kya hua?"

"Mujhe machchhar barabar bhi nahin samajhte woh. Ha samay daantte rahte hain!"

"To bhi kya hua?"

"Chup kar Anji aur meri madad kar. Ise achche se mix kar. Main cocoa powder nikalti hoon. Aur kuchh snacks bhi le jaane chahiye na?"

"Main to kahti hoon ki Baba ko bolo abhi baat kar daalein. Mere ghar mein mithai rakhi hai. Munh bhi meetha kar lenge."

"Anji tu chup karegi. Apni mithai Dr. Rangnath ke liye rakh. Free mein redecoration ho rahi hai Children's ward ki. Dahej bhi nahin maangenge."

"Shut up Nidhi. Free mein main isliye kaam kar rahi hoon kyonki mujhe itna experience nahin hai ki confidently redecorate kar sakoon. Paise nahin loongi to kuchh gadbad bhi hui to koi kuchh kah nahin payega."

"Of course. Chal ab."


"Nidhi ki koi galti nahin hai Dr. Ashutosh jo woh thodi betakalluf hai. Maine use paala hi aise hai. Koshish ki hai ki Baap nahin, dost ban kar uske saath rahun. Mujhe lagta hai ki bachchon ko bahut pyaar dena chahiye aur unhein, unki baaton ko, unki personality ko importance deni chahiye. Isse woh khush rahte hain, aur unke man mein kissi tarah ka koi complex nahin hota."

Ashutosh seemed affected by it for a moment, which Baba noticed. But he pulled himself back to the conversation, "Bilkul sahi soch hai aapki. Bas is baat ka dhyaan rakhna chahiye ki jo care, jo pyaar aap unhein de rahe hain, woh kabhi wapas na le lein. Maine logon ka bharosa tootte dekha hai."

Baba looked at him for a moment, then said, "Nidhi ne jaisa kaha tha tumhare baare mein, tum usse bahut alag ho. Achcha hai jo us par thodi sakhti rakhte ho. Zindagi ka saamna karne liye khushmizazi hi nahin, discipline bhi zaroori hai."

"Baba. Aap meri shikayatein kar rahe hain?" Nidhi and Anji entered with the coffee tray.

"Nahin. Main to bas Dr. Ashutosh ke munh se sach nikalwane ki koshish kar raha tha. MBBS to rote rote kiya hai isne Dr. Ashutosh. Ab pata nahin PG ka bhoot kaise sawaar ho gaya hai. Kar bhi payegi ye?"

Ashutosh sipped his coffee and said, "Bilkul kar payengi. Doctor ko bahut achchi hain. Ismein koi shaq nahin hai."

"Achcha. Lekin mareezon ka khayal bhi to rakhna hota hai."

"Bachche inse bahut hile mile hue hain. Aur mujhe lagta hai ki bachchon ko insaan ki pahchaaan hoti hai. To usmein bhi koi problem nahin hai." Ashutosh and Nidhi's eyes met for a moment when he said that. Nidhi saw something there which she hadn't seen before and she could not hold the eyelock. She averted her eyes.

"Coffee bahut achchhi bani hai," Ashutosh added almost immediately.

"Nidhi. Coffee mein kuchh khaas milaya hai kya beta?" Baba asked seriously.

"Nahin to Baba. Kyon? Taste different hai?"

"Nahin. Dr. Ashutosh tumhari... taareefon ke pul baandhe ja rahe hain. Kuchh to gadbad hogi na?"

"Baba!" Nidhi was embarrassed and everyone else laughed.

"Dr. Ashutosh. Aap Anji se to mile hain na pahle? Ye meri bachpan ki dost hai. We are best friends."

"Ji haan. Mila bhi hoon aur Dr. Rangnath ke munh se taareef bhi suni hai. Ward redecoration ka kaam kaisa chal raha hai."

Anji blusehd at the mention of Dr. Rangnath and replied, "I am trying my best Dr. Ashutosh. Jab apke paas final designs aa jayenge to aap khud hi dekh lenge ki kaisa raha kaam."

"I am sure achcha hi hoga. Waise aap log itne achchhe dost hain. Phir aapke raaste alag alag kaise ho gaye?"

"Aise ho gaye ki Baba ne mujhe zabardasti doctor bana diya."

"Achcha. To aur kya banne waali thi tum ye bhi bata do zara?" Baba teased.

Nidhi did not say anything in reply. Ashutosh did, "Is ek baat ke liye zabardasti kar ke aapne achchha kiya. Hamare hospital ko achchhi doctor mil gayi is wajah se."

Nidhi blushed and Baba patted her back proudly.


Ashutosh was worried about Mallika's attitude towards Nidhi. She made no bones about mixing personal and professional lives. So, trying to talk to her was only going to make the matters worse. He kept an eye on the duty chart and it was clear that Nidhi was getting unfair share of long and night duties.

Until he figured a way out of this situation, he decided to help Nidhi out. He started spending the nights, when Nidhi was on duty, in the hospital.


"Dr. Nidhi. Aap bahut thaki hui lag rahi hain. Chahein to thodi der aaraam kar lein. Main hoon agar koi problem hui to."

"Thank you Sir. Par main theek hoon. In fact, free thi to socha thodi padhai kar loon."

"Bahut zyada mehnat kar rahi hain aap. Apni health ka dhyaan rakhiyega."

"Ji Sir. Uske liye Dadi Bua hain na. Har samay shor machati rahti hain khane, peene aur sone ke liye."

"Kaafii... dilchasp hain aapki Dadi Bua." Ashutosh was reminded of the time when Dadi Bua had marched into the hospital with food for Nidhi and had raised a hell when she could not find her.

Nidhi laughed, "Aap mile to hain. Aap unki burai kar sakte hain. Sabko pata hai ki woh kaafi ridiculous ho jaati hain. Lekin unhein meri bahut chinta rahti hai. Bachpan se paal pos kar bada kiya hai na."

"Aap khushkismat hai Dr. Nidhi jo aapko chahne waale aur pyaar karne waale itne log hain."

"Phir bhi Mummy ko miss karti hoon. Insaan ki greed kabhi khatam nahin hoto na," Nidhi laughed self-deprecatingly, "Aapne apni family ke baare mein kabhi kuchh bataya nahin Sir."

"Family?" Ashutosh smiled sadly, "Meri family, in fact, meri saari duniya mere Baba ke saath shuru ho kar, un par hi khatam hoti thi. Lekin ab woh nahin rahe."

"I am sorry."

"Its okay Dr. Nidhi. We all have to come to terms with our losses. Mujhe dukh is baat ka hai ki unki sabse pyaari nishani mujhse chhin gayi. Agar woh mujhe wapas mil jaye to shayad is loss see zyada achchhe se cope kar sakoonga."

"Main to apne aas paas itne logon ke hote hue bhi Mummy ko miss karti hoon. Jabki mujhe to kuchh yaad bhi nahin hai unke baare mein. Phir aap to... Main pray karoongi ki aapko woh nishani jaldi se wapas mil jaye. Waise aap bhi apne father ko Baba kahte the?"

Ashutosh nodded and smiled.

"Aap kuchh aur bataiye ne apne Baba ke baare mein."

Ashutosh looked at her for a second, as if wondering if he should open up to her. Then he decided to talk, "Baba ne mujhe bahut pyaar diya Dr. Nidhi. Itna pyaar jitna koi apne bachche ko bhi nahin de sakta."


"Unhone mujhe adopt kiya tha. Woh bhi duniya mein akele the. Main bhi... Aur hum logon ne saath mein apni ek duniya banayi thi. Main jo kuchh bhi hoon unki wajah se hi. Aur meri personality, meri aadatein, meri hobbies sab unko mirror karti hai. Unhein gardening ka aur music ka bahut shauk tha."

"Kya coincidence hai? Mummy ko bhi gardening aur music ka bahut shauk tha. Baba abhi bhi Chhote Sarkar ko daant daant kar ghar mein chhota sa garden maintain karwate hain, Mummy ki yaad mein. Aur unke kai purane records pade hue hain. Ab to maine unhein digitize kar diya hai. Kabhi kabhi sunti hoon. Khaas kar ke ghazalein."

"Achcha? Usmein Bade Ghulam Ali Khan ke collections hain kya?"

"Bilkul. Unka to sab kuchh hai. Woh Mummy ke favourite Ghazal singer the."

"Baba ke bhi. Lekin unke records to ab tak kharaab ho gaye honge."

"Main aapko CD bana kar de sakti hoon," Nidhi was excited.

"Ab to main sunta nahin."


"Bas aise hi... Khair aap bataiye. Aur kya hobbies hain aapki? Apni Mummy ke collection ki Ghazalein sunne ke alawa."

"Aur? Aur to pata nahin. Anji ko dekh kar kabhi kabhi paintings banane ki koshish ki thi, lekin jo banaya use dekh kar khud hi dar gayi."

Ashutosh laughed, "Aapka ye self-deprecating humour kaafi achcha hai."

"Main kuchh self-deprecation nahin kar rahi. Sach kah rahi hoon. Haan - paint kar ke to kuchh kagaz par utarna mere wash ki baat nahin hai. Photography se kar leti hoon kabhi kabhi. Mujhe agle birthday par Baba se apne camera ke liye ek naya lens lena hai gift mein. Bahut dinon se taal rahe hain woh."

"Kabhi dikhaiye apni photographs."

"Zaroor. Agli baar aap ghar aayenge to dikhaungi. Waise aapse poochhna to bekaar hai ki aapki hobbies kya hain? Aap to poore time hospital mein hi baithe rahte hain. Apne patients ke liye."

Ashutosh laughed, "Aap mere hospital mein rahne ko exaggerate kar rahi hain."

"Bilkul nahin. Ab aap aaj raat kyon ruke hue hain? Sufficient logon ki duty hai aur koi emergency bhi nahin hai."

"Main patients ke liye nahin ruka hoon Dr. Nidhi."


Ashutosh fell silent. It was an awkward moment. Then he sighed and said, "Shayad apne liye."

Nidhi didn't understand, but did not ask further.

"Mujhe ek baar round le lena chahiye," she said and got up to leave.

"Sure. Aur agar aapko padhai karni ho to aap mere office mein baith sakti hain. Wahan aapko disturbace nahin hogi."

"Ji. Thank you."

Nidhi walked into the ward late at night and saw a little girl still awake.

"Kya hua? Soyi kyon nahin ab tak?"

"Mujhe dar lag raha hai?"

"Itne saare bachche hain yahan? Main hoon. Nurse hain. Phir aapko dar kyon lag raha hai?"

The girl did not say anything.

"Koi aur baat hai? Batao mujhe?"

"Ghar par Mamma roz story sunati hain sone se pahle."

"Ye baat hai na. Koi baat nahin. Aaj main tumhein story sunaungi. Batao kiski sunogi? Lion ki, bear ki ya elephants ki?"

"Ya saat baunon ki?" Ashutosh suddenly appeared beside her and asked the girl in a whisper.

"Saat baunon ki!"

"To suno... Ek jungle mein saat baune the..."

The girl was lost in the story and Nidhi was lost in Ashutosh. His countenance was unusually affectionate and soft. No hint of Dr. Hardstone there.

Towards the end of the story, Mallika also walked in the ward.

"Mallika. Hum ise saat baunon ki kahani suna rahe hain. Aao, tum bhi hamein join karo," Ashutosh said cheerfully.

"Maine medicine ki pahdai ki hai Ashutosh, literature ki nahin. Kahaniyan tum hi sunao, achchhi bana lete ho. Waise is kahani mein kya aap bhi shaamil hai Dr. Verma?"

"Ji?" Nidhi was taken aback by her rude question.

Ashutosh rubbed his forehead in frustration as Mallika walked out. Ashutosh looked back at the girl and continued the story until she was asleep. Then both of them came out of the ward.

"Sorry about Dr. Mallika. I think she is stressed out."

"Aapko sorry bolne ki zaroorat nahin hai Dr. Ashutosh."


"Dr. Nidhi. Kahan thi aap apni duty chhod kar? Aapke ward mein ek patient problem mein tha aur aap use attend karne ke liye thi hi nahin," Mallika blasted Nidhi when she found her.

"Dr. Mallika. Main ek emergency case attend kar rahi thi... Mujhe Dr. Ashutosh ne..."

"Agar aisi bureaucracy karni hai Dr. Nidhi to ja kar koi government hospital join kar lijiye. Yahan doctors responsibility se kaam karte hain. Jaiye apne ward mein abhi."

Ashutosh reached there just then on hearing Mallika's raised voice. But Nidhi had left - almost in tears. 

"Kya hua Mallika?"

"As usual Ashutosh. Dr. Nidhi aur unki galtiyan. Woh apne ward mein nahin thi."

"Mallika. Maine hi use bheja tha emergency case attend karne ke liye aur nurse ko bola tha ki tumhein ya mujhe inform kar dein agar ward mein koi problem ho to."


"Mallika. Tum aaj bahut stressed up ho. Din mein bhi kuchh zyada hi cases aa gaye the. Main hoon aaj hospital mein. Tum ghar jao. Please." He sent Mallika home.

He walked towards the ward to talk to Nidhi. But on his way, he saw a shadow on the hardly used terrace. At first, he was worried if it was some intruder. But then he had realized that the door which led from the corridor to the terrace was open. So, it must be someone from the hospital. When he walked closer, he could make out Nidhi's silhoutte on the dimly lit terrace.

"Dr. Nidhi," she was startled on hearing his voice.

"Sir! I am sorry. Woh main ward ka round laga chuki thi to thodi der ke liye yahan aa gayi. Main wapas ja rahi hoon," she made to leave.

She tried to appear calm, but Ashutosh could make out that she had been crying.

"Rukiye Dr. Nidhi," he stopped her, "Aap pareshaan hain."

"Nahin to," she lied.

"Main jaanta hoon ki aap bahut able prankster hain, lekin phir bhi, mujhe nahin lagta ki jhooth bol paana aapki strength hai."

"Ji?" Nidhi was taken aback by his seemingly irrelevant rambling.

"Ji. Aap jhooth bol rahi hain. Aur ye pata chal raha hai aapke chehre se. Itni kam roshni mein bhi. Aap Dr. Mallika ki baaton ko lekar pareshaan hain, right?"

"Aapko kaise pata?"

"Maine sun li thi aapki baatein, lekin main zara der se pahuncha. Unke behaviour ke liye main aapse maafi maangta hoon. Mujhe pahle hi unhein bata dena chahiye tha..."

"Nahin. Nahin Sir. Aap kyon maafi maang rahe hain?" she didn't like him apologizing to her, "Galatfahmi to kissi ko bhi ho sakti hai."

"To ab aap rona band karengi."

"Main nahin ro rahi," she didn't want to admit that she was crying.

Ashutosh laughed slightly and said patronizingly, "Of course. You are a brave girl. I believe you. Aap nahin ro rahi thi."

"Agar aap aise mera mazaak udayenge to main sach much ro doongi."

"Main mazaak nahin uda raha. Aur aap Dr. Mallika ki taraf se pareshaan mat hoiye. Maine unhein bata diya hai ki aapki galti nahin thi."

"Thank you, Sir."


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sharmishtha02 Senior Member

Joined: 02 January 2012
Posts: 858

Posted: 08 January 2012 at 2:28am | IP Logged
Part 7

"Mallika. Main soch raha tha ki tumhari zimmedaariyan badh rahi hain. To kuchh administrative tasks main Dr. Rangnath ko hi de doon. Duties lagane ki responsibility."

"Iski koi zaroorat nahin hai Ashutosh. Main overworked nahin hoon."

"Lekin ye administrative kaam tumhari abilities ka best use to nahin hain."

"Itne saalon se kar rahi hoon Ashutosh. Achanak tumhein ye kaise dhyaan aa gaya ki meri abilities kya hain."

"Mallika. Itne saalon mein haalaat bhi to badal gaye hain. Hamare paas kahin zyada staff hai. Log hain jo is kaam ko sambhaal sakte hain."

"Ya phir tumhein mere kaam se koi shikayat hai. Agar aisa hai to seedhe seedhe baat karo Ashutosh. Yun ghuma-phira kar karne ki zaroorat nahin hai. Main dekh rahi hoon ki tum aaj kal hospital mein raat mein kuchh zyada hi ruk rahe ho. Koi problem hai?"

Ashutosh sighed. Mallika won't let him do it the safe way. She has to bring it to confrontation everytime, "Tum khud ek professional ho Mallika. Tumhein pata hai ki mujhe kya shikayat hai. Maana ki hum doctors hain aur hamein apne profession ke usoolon ki hisaab se kaam karne ke liye din-raat ki nahin sochni hoti hai. Lekin as employers hamein apne employees ka bhi to khayaal rakhna hota hai. Isliye duties rotate hoti rahti hain."

"Mujhe pata hai."

"To phir Dr. Verma ki itni zyada night duties kyon lag rahi hain?"

"Woh night duties mein hi theek hain Ashutosh. Din mein ward mein rahti hain to ward playground ban jaata hai."

"Kya matlab?"

"Jab woh ward mein rahti hain, to tumne kabhi dekha hai ki bachche kitna shor karte hain. Ek din ek trustee visit kar rahe the. Jab woh Dr. Verma ke ward mein pahunche to woh us samay bachchon ko football khelna sikh rahi thi, lete lete. Takiye ko football bana kar."

Ashutosh tried to imagine the scenario and smiled in amusement, "Koi problem hui?"

"Nahin. Woh bhale insaan the, kuchh kaha nahin. Lekin isse to department ki badnaami hogi hi na."

"Bachchon ko entertained rakhna bura to nahin hai."

"Nahin. Lekin unhein disciplined na rakhna to bura hai. Ek din kissi bachche ko injection de rahi thi to usne itni zor se haath maara ki injection gir gaya aur toot gaya. Lekin unhone us bachche ko kuchh nahin kaha. Apne paison se injection mangwaya."

"Beemaar bachche se kya kah sakte hain Mallika? Are, hum-tum bhi beemaar padte hain to bachchon jaisi harquatein karne lagte hain. Phir bachchon ka kya hai."

"Mujhe samajh nahin aata hai ki tum Dr. Nidhi Verma jaisi ek irresponsible, immature aur inefficient ladki ko kaise bardasht kaise kar sakte ho?"

"Well... Mallika. Main doctor hone ke shayad thoda-bahut painter bhi hoon. Jab koi painting bante hue dekhta hoon na, to mujhe achchha lagta hai. Aur mujhme ye pahchaan karne ki bhi ability hai ki woh painting kaisi banne waali hai. To jo ladki tumhein aaj irresponsible, immature aur inefficent lagti hai, main dekh raha hoon ki kitni tezi se ye painting ban aur badal rahi hai. Ek din main use ek bahut capable doctor bante hue dekh sakta hoon."

"Are you sure Ashutosh ki tumhari ye opinion completely professional hai?"

"Kya matlab?" he asked sharply.

"Tumhein shayad pata na chalta ho Ashutosh, lekin tum Dr. Nidhi Verma ki khoobiyan kuchh zyada hi dekhte ho, aur khaamiyan kuchh kam."

"That's rubbish Mallika."

"Meri baaton ko rubbish karne se pahle khud se honestly poochh kar dekho Ashutosh. Kyon rukte ho tum aaj kal raat mein hamesha hospital mein? Patients ke liye? Nahin Ashutosh. Tum Nidhi ke liye rukte ho. You are infatuated with her. Apne se aadhi umra ki ladki se pyaar karne lage ho tum Ashutosh. Aur agar aisa kiya hai to himmat karo aur accept karo."

Mallika let go of her pent-up frustrations and walked out of Ashutosh' room leaving him completely baffled.


Nidhi threw the tea in the sink. She had taken it for Dr. Ashutosh. She was about to enter his room with the tea, when she had heard Mallika, "Mujhe samajh nahin aata hai ki tum Dr. Nidhi Verma jaisi ek irresponsible, immature aur inefficient ladki ko aise bardasht kaise kar sakte ho?"

She had stepped back immediately and walked away. So, that's what she was to him, still. Irresponsible, immature, inefficient. Was there no way that she could do better in his eyes? Could she do anything more? Anything better? She felt heart-broken. She was crying.

But what good it would do to cry. He was so senior to her, so experienced, so well-renowned a dotcor. How could she ever measure up to him? Even if she did her best, it would take her years to reach a stage where he would respect her as a doctor. And there was nothing she could do about it.

She washed her face and came out looking composed. She was stepping out of the common room, when Ashutosh walked in. She saw him, but averted her eyes and walked out. Ashutosh was puzzled. He, himself, was not sure why he had come looking for her. What would he talk to her? So, when she did not stop, he also could not call her back. He just looked on as she walked away.

Mallika walked into his office the next morning, "May I come in?"

"Aao Mallika. Tumhein kab se izaazat ki zaroorat padne lagi?"

"Pata nahin. Kal ki apni harqat ke baad main sure nahin thi Ashutosh."

Ashutosh did not say anything. He had hoped that Mallika would not start that conversation again. But that was not Mallika.

"Main tumse maafi maangne aayi hoon Ashutosh. Mujhe aisa nahin karna chahiye tha."

"Uski zaroorat nahin hai Mallika."

"To tumhein gussa nahin ho."

"Hona chahiye tha kya?"

"Hona to chahiye tha. Agar maine sach kaha tha to bhi, aur agal galat kaha tha to bhi. Ya tumhein meri aur meri baaton ki itni bhi parwaah nahin hai?"

"Mallika. Kya har cheez par itne bade bade sawaal khade kar ke unhein uljhaana zaroori hai? Main hamari dosti ki kadra karta hoon Mallika. Aur main chahta hoon ki woh dosti waisi hi bani rahe."

"Okay boss. Main aapse aapki terms & conditions par hi dosti rakhoongi."

"Mera woh matlab nahin tha."

"Mera bhi woh matlab nahin tha Ashutosh. Main bas tumse jhagda nahin karna chahti. Jeetoon ya haaroon, dono tarah se meri hi haar hai."

"Jhagda na karna achchi baat hai Mallika."

Mallika smiled sadly and left.

His mobile rang just then.

"Yes. Dr. Nidhi?"

"Sir. Reception par kissi orphanage se phone aaya hai. Woh aapko poochh rahe hain. Receptionist yahan nahin hai aur mujhe call forward karna nahin aata. Shayad koi bachcha bahut beemaar hai. Aap reception par aa kar call receive kar sakte hain please."

"Sure. Aap unhein hold karne ko kahiye. Main abhi pahunchta hoon."


"Thank you Dr. Nidhi," Ashutosh took the receiver from her hands.

Mallika had also seen Ashutosh rushing towards the reception and she could not help her curiosity. She also reached there.

When Nidhi saw Mallika coming towards the reception, she left. But she stood behind a pillar within a hearing distance and heard Ashutosh' conversation on the phone.

"Aap chinta mat kijiye. Main khud aa raha hoon... Bachche ko kuchh nahin hoga... Ye Aliganj waala orphanage hai na?"

"Tumhein jaane ki kya zaroort hai Ashutosh?"

Ashutosh smiled sadly at Mallika, "That's bad Dr. Mallika. Agar ye kissi rich and famous aadmi ka bachcha hota, tab bhi aap yahi kahti?"

Mallika was embarrased, "Ashutosh. Itni jaldi kissi ki neeyat par shaq nahin karte. Mera ye matlab nahin tha... Main to... Main to bas ye kah rahi thi ki bachche ko hospital bhi to la sakte hain."

"Orphanage ke paas gaadi nahin hai Mallika. Main dekh loonga. Aur agar zaroorat hui to use apne saath hi hospital le aaunga."

"Main bhi chaloon tumhare saath."

"Nahin. Mere absence mein tumhara hospital mein hona zaroori hai." Ashutosh dashed off.

Nidhi was smiling hearing that conversation. Whatever he thought of her, she could not help admiring this man. Rushing off to treat an orphan. From what she had known of him till now, she knew that he was going to even pay for the treatment of the child.


"Dr. Nidhi. Would you like to take charge of this patient?" Ashutosh asked after he returned from the orphanage. The child was suffering from severe pneumonia and had to be admitted in the hospital.

Nidhi could not understand him. When he talked to her, it looked like he trusted her more than anyone else in the world. It was clear that this case was close to his heart, the child being an orphan. And he wanted her to take charge of him. And yet, she was irresponsible, immature and inefficient for him.

But she did not say anything on that outwardly. "Sure Sir," she reponded and went forward to examine the patient.

"Aur haan. Jab aap paper work karein to dhyaan rakhein ki bill orphanage ko na bheja jaye. Woh..."

"Aap pay karenge. Main jaanti hoon. Dhyaan rakhoongi."

Ashutosh smiled, "Thank you, Dr. Nidhi."

"Thanks kyon bol rahe hain aap?"

"Mujhe samajhne ke liye."

Nidhi again didn't know what to make out of his behaviour with her.


"Main jaanta hoon ki tum bahut busy hoge. Lekin haalaat hi kuchh aise ho gaye Dr. Ashutosh ki mujhe tumhein phone karna pada," Nidhi's baba was extremely apologetic over phone to Ashutosh.

"Aisi baatein kyon kar rahe hain aap? Bataiye kya baat hai?"

"Main shahar ke bahar hoon business ek silsile mein aur Nidhi kissi wajah se bahut pareshaan ho gayi hai. Phone bhi nahin utha rahi to main baat nahin kar pa raha hoon. Kissi ko bataya nahin hai usne ki woh kahan hai. Shayad tum phone karo ya milo to woh baat kare. Please."

"Ji Baba. Aap bilkul chinta mat kijiye. Main abhi unse baat karta hoon aur aapse bhi baat karwata hoon."

Ashutosh was worried. Nidhi was child-like, but she wasn't immature. She even survived Mallika at the hospital. What happened that she was so upset? He rang her mobile, but she did not pick up. He looked in the ward and then in the common room. He found her mobile there, but she was nowhere in sight. There were several missed calls in it from her home, her Baba, Anji and one from himself. Where could she be?

Then he tried to think calmly and remembered the incident from a few days back and he knew where to look for her. He rushed towards the terrace. Most surely, the door was open and there she was! Sitting on the dusty bench. He silently walked to her. He made to place his hand on her shoulder, but stopped and resisted. Instead he called her name softly, "Dr. Nidhi!"

Nidhi was, yet again, startled as she got up with a jerk from the bench and looked at Ashutosh. It was day time and there was no way she could have hid her tear-stained face. But she did quickly wipe her tears off.

"Sir. Aap? Meri duty abhi shuru nahin hui thi to isliye main..."

"Jaanta hoon Dr. Nidhi. Aap apni duty chhod kar kahin nahin jayengi."

Nidhi didn't say anything. So, Ashutosh continued, "Baithiye. Aapse kuchh baat karni hai," he indicated towards the bench she had been sitting on.

She looked at him confused. So, he repeated with a slight smile and nod, "Please sit down." Nidhi obliged him and sat down hesitatingly. Then Ashutosh also sat down beside her and started speaking while looking directly at her, "Aise to aap itna bolti hain, bilkul chahakti hui si ghhomti rahti hain, lekin jab koi baat aapko pareshaan karti hai, to aap use kissi ke saath share kyon nahin karti hain?"

"Main samjhi nahin."

"Phir se jhooth bolne ki koshish? Maine pahle bhi kaha tha na aapse ki aap jhooth nahin bol pati hain. Koi bhi sane insaan khush hone par to yun akele mein baith kar nahin rota hai. Aap pagal to hain nahin. Isliye obviously aapko koi baat pareshaan kar rahi hain. To aap batati kyon nahin hain?"

"Kise bataun?" Nidhi spoke without thinking.

"Aap mujhe bata sakti hain."

"Aapko?" Nidhi was more incredulous than she let on and Ashutosh could see that. Then she continued with a sad, slight smile, "Aapko meri bachkani baaton par hansi aayegi."

"Ye kaisi baat hui?" Ashutosh did not like it that she didn't trust him.

"Main aapki ya Dr. Mallika ki tarah mature nahin hoon. Mujhe pata hai. Isliye to aap log mujhe immature, irresponsible aur childish samajhte hain."

What had Maalika been telling this girl, Ashutosh wondered. Are her insecurities messing up with Nidhi's head?

"Dr. Nidhi. Kissi aur ke baare mein main kuchh nahin kah sakta, lekin agar aapko lagta hai ki main aapko immature ya childish samajhta hoon, to aapko bilkul galat lagta hai."

Nidhi did not reply and kept looking down.

"Meri baat samajh rahi hain na aap?" Ashutosh asked when she did not say anything. But she still did not reply.

"Meri taraf dekho Nidhi," Ashutosh said forcefully. Nidhi's heart skipped a beat when she heard Ashutosh addressing him as "Nidhi" instead of "Dr. Nidhi" and also saying "dekho" instead of his usual, formal "dekhiye". She hoped that Ashutosh didn't notice her goosebumps. And she could not ignore him, when he spoke like that. So, she looked at him, trying to keep her tears in control.

"Umra ke jis daur se tum guzar rahi ho, usmein logon ko zindagi ke baare mein, future ke baare mein confusions hote rahte hain. To koi bhi aise samay mein kuchh irrational kaam kar sakta hai. Shayad tumne bhi kuchh aisi cheezein ki hain. Aur agar mujhe laga hai ki main tumhein samjha sakta hoon, ya guide kar sakta hoon, to maine woh karne ki koshish ki hai. Lekin iska matlab ye nahin hai ki mujhe tumhari harqatein ya baatein bachkaani lagti hain. In fact, sach ye hai, ki mujhe lagta hai ki apni umra ke hisaab se tum bahut mature aur sorted ho."

The expression of sadness on her face changed to surprise as she heard him.

"Aap sach kah rahe hain?" she asked earnestly.


The slight smile that appeared on her face warmed his heart. He continued, "And now I expect you to behave with the maturity that I think you have. Yahan aise bachcon ki tarah akele baith kar rone ki bajay aap mujhe ye batayengi ki problem kya hai?"

He had reverted to "aap". Though slightly disappointed, Nidhi thought it was for better. If he addressed her more intimately, it was difficult for her to think straight and speak coherently.

"Main Mummy ko bahut miss kar rahi thi," Nidhi started speaking.

"Koi khaas baat hui aaj?" Ashutosh prodded.

"Dadi Bua Baba ko bhala-bura kah rahi thi. To mujhe gussa aa gaya aur..."

"Woh Baba ko kyon kuchh kah rahi thi..."

"Unhein aisa lagta hai ki bin Ma ki bachchi, yani ki mujhe, Baba ne sahi se paala nahin aur bigaad diya hai. Mujhe Dadi Bua ke baare mein kuchh aise kahna nahin chahiye. Mummy ke jaane ke baad unhone hamare parivaar ko sambhaal ke rakha hai. Lekin unhone Baba ko aise kaha to mujhe bilkul achchha nahin laga. Baba mujhse bahut pyaar karte hain. Agar Mummy hoti to hamein aise kissi ka ehsaan nahin lena padta, ya kissi ki baat nahin sunni padti."

Ashutosh sighed, "Dr. Nidhi. Yakeen maaniye. Rishton ko khone ka dukh kya hota hai ye main jaanta hoon. Aur kuchh rishte to aise hote hain jinki kami koi poori nahin kar sakta. Lekin phir bhi, aapki zindagi mein to kai aise log hain na jo aapko pyaar karte hain?"

Nidhi nodded.

"To aapka ye farz banta hai ki aap bhi unki parwaah karein. Jahan tak main aapki Dadi Bua ko samajh paya hoon, unki zubaan thodee tez zaroor hai lekin unka dil bilkul saaf hai."

She nodded again. Of course, she also knew that. Yet sometimes...

"Aur aapke Baba aapse kitna pyaar karte hain, ye aap jaanti hain. Kissi aur ko ye jaanne ya samajhne ki zaroorat nahin hai. Main theek kah raha hoon na?"

Nidhi smiled, "Aap kabhi kuchh galat nahin kahte hain Sir."

Her innocent acceptance made Ashutosh smile too, "Phir theek hai. To un sab logon ki khatir, ab rona-dhona band kijiye aur us mood mein aa jaiye jo aapko suit karta hai. Happy and smiling. Okay?"

Nidhi's smile got broader as she nodded.

Then he surprised her by taking out her phone from his coat pocket. He gave it to her and said, "To phir aap abhi apne Baba, apni best friend aur apni Dadi Bua ko phone kijiye. Aap kissi se kuchh kahe bina ghar se aa gayi aur sab pareshaan hain."

Nidhi nodded, "I am sorry. Maine aapko bhi pareshaan kar diya."

"Aap mujhe jitna chahe pareshaan kar sakti hain. That's not a problem," Ashutosh said earnestly making Nidhi's hear skip a beat again, "Ab chaliye. Munh dho lijiye aur sabko call kijiye."

He waited till Nidhi started walking towards the corridor and smiled after her.


"Doctor Sahib. Mera bachcha theek to ho jayega na?" Nidhi was interrupted during her ward visit by a woman.

"Ji aap kiske saath hain?" she asked patiently.

She pointed towards the bed besides which Nidhi was standing. Nidhi was surprised, "Aap iski Maa hain?"

The woman nodded.

"Lekin ye to orphanage, mera matlab hai anaath ashram mein tha."

The woman started crying, "Kya karti main? Iske pita ko guzre chaar saal ho gaye hain. Main chhote mote kaam kar ke guzara karti hoon. Aur ye din bhar yun hi bekaar karta rahta tha. Kissi ne kaha ki anath ashram mein daal do. Achchhe se pal jayega aur wahan iski padhai likhkai bhi ho jayegi. Iske kal ka soch kar maine ise khud se alag kar diya."

Nidhi was pained to hear her story. She noticed Ashutosh overhearing their conversation. His face was tense. He didn't come to them and walked out of the ward. Nidhi returned her attention to the woman, "Aap chinta mat kijiye. Ye bilkul theek ho jayega. Beemari kabhi kabhi zyada dinon se ho to gahri ho jaati hai. To thoda samay lagega. Lekin ye theek ho jayega."

After doing her rounds she went to Ashutosh' office, "May I come in, Sir?"

"Please come in Dr. Nidhi. Ah! I was waiting for my tea," he smiled. Whenever Nidhi came to him for no other reason, she brought tea as an alibi.

She smiled and sat down without waiting for his invitation. Ashutosh didn't mind that she was carefree around him. He liked it!

"Aapne us orhpanage waale bachche ki Ma ki baat suni?"

Ashutosh stopped smiling, "Haan. suni."

"Mujhe aisa kyon laga ki aap usse gussa ho gaye?"

"Shayad isliye Dr. Nidhi ki main gussa ho gaya tha."

"Lekin aapko itni jaldbaazi mein uski feelings ko judge nahin karna chahiye. Woh apni taraf se bachche ke future ke baare mein achchha hi soch rahi thi. Aisa nahin hai ki uske dil mein bachche ke liye mamta nahin hai."

"Shayad aap theek kah rahi hain. Mujhe koshish karni chahiye judge na karne ki. Lekin kuchh cheezein aisi hoti hain jinmein dil dimaag ki nahin sunta. Kabhi aapne aisa mahsoos kiya hai Dr. Nidhi?" His tone in the last sentence had changed. The way he asked her that question gave her goosebumps. She felt nervous and turned red. Somehow she managed to say, "Sabke saath hota hai. Insaan ka dil bahut ziddi hota hai. Jab tak woh achcha karne ko uksaye tab tak koi burai bhi nahin hai. Lekin agar dil aapko naaraaz kare, gussa dilaye to shayad us waqt use daba kar rakhna chahiye."

Ashutosh smiled wistfully. Nidhi got up to leave, "Main ward mein ja rahi hoon."


"Hello everyone," Ashutosh looked curiously at the going ons in the children's ward. The ward was filled with colored papers, glues, sticks etc. "Ye kya ho raha hai?"

"Dr. Nidhi ne upcoming elections ke liye jhandiyan banane ka theka le liya hai aur child labour use kar rahi hain hamare ward se," Dr. Rangnath replied.

"Thank you Dr. Rangnath for the helpful explanation. I am not sure my friend Dr. Armaan would be very pleased to know that this is how we treat our kids here. He is working with WHO," Ashutosh introduced his guest to them.

"Ohh!" Rangnath realized that it was a bad time to crack a joke. Everyone got up to greet Armaan.

"Sir. Dar-asal ye Dr. Nidhi ka idea tha, bachchon ko bore hone se bachane ka. Bistar par lete lete ye bachche phool bana rahe hain. Aur ye phool hum un bachchon ko bhejenge jo bahut beemaar hain," Dr. Rangnath explained.

Nidhi was sitting on a low stool and had not gotten up. She was uncomfortable and it did not help that after Rangnath's explanation, everyone was looking at her.

Armaan praised the effort, "Bahut achcha idea hai Dr. Nidhi. Mujhe achchha laga ki is ward mein bachche bore nahin ho rahe, ya shaitaaniyan nahin kar rahe. Balki productively khud ko entertain kar rahe hain."

Ashutosh could not understand why she was not getting up, when everyone else was standing. It was awkward.

"Dr. Armaan yahan WHO ke ek project ke silsile mein aaye hain. Aur hamara hospital inke saath closely kaam karega aas paas ke gaon mein medical centres aur medical camps karwane mein. So, I think you all will be interacting a lot with him in coming days."

"Looking forward to it, Sir," Priyanka said and Ashutosh and Armaan took their leave. But Ashutosh excused himself from Armaan saying that he had some work in the ward and came back, "Dr. Nidhi. Aapke pairon mein koi problem hai."

"N... No Sir."

"To aapko nahin lagta ki jab koi guest aaye aur jab baaki sab log khade ho kar baat kar rahe ho to aapko bhi khade hona chahiye."

"Y... Yes Sir." 

"Will you get up now?" Ashutosh tried not to shout.

Nidhi finally got up and everyone broke into a laughter as the stool she was sitting was lifted with her. "Main super glue par baith gayi thi," Nidhi explained.

Ashutosh also laughed and was surprised to find someone else joining in their laughter. He turned around and found Armaan standing near the door. He had followed him to the ward.

Ashutosh went back to him still laughing, "Children's ward ko playground bana diya hai in logon ne aur ye Dr. Nidhi in sabki leader hain."

"Achcha hi hai Ashutosh. Isi bahane tumhare chehre par bhi hansi dekhne ko milti hai."


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sharmishtha02 Senior Member

Joined: 02 January 2012
Posts: 858

Posted: 08 January 2012 at 4:46am | IP Logged
Part 8

"Ab ye bilkul theek hai. Bas aap ye dhyaan rakhiyega ki ise zyada thandh ya zyada garmi na lage. Aur agar aap kahin dhool waali jagah par kaam kar rahi ho to wahan se ise door rakhiyega."

"Ji ab uski koi chinta nahin hai."

"Achcha. Kaise?"

"Dr. Ashutosh ne mujhe apne ghar kaam par rakh liya hai. Khana banane ke liye. To ab ye bhi wahin rahega. Unhone kaha hai ki wahi uski parvarish bhi ho jayegi aur school bhi jayega."

"Achchha!" Nidhi genuinely felt happy. For the boy as well as for Ashutosh. This decision meant that he had let go of his bitterness about the mother for leaving her child in the orphanage.

She looked around and saw that Ashutosh was also in the ward. They eyes met and they smiled at each other.


"Mallika? Kya hua? Tabiyat kharaab hai kya?" Ashutosh entered his office to see Mallika sitting there. She was holding her head in her hands.

"Achchha to nahin lag raha hai."

"Ghar chali jao Mallika. Kissi ko depute kar do apni jagah."

"Ghar ja kar hi kaun sa achcha lagta hai Ashutosh. Khali ghar kaatne ko daudta hai."

"Auntie nahin hain kya tumhare saath?"

"Maa ko bhi apne bete aur poton ki yaad aati rahti hai. Unke bhare-poore ghar mein rahna chahti hain."

"Lekin Aditya to unhein rakhna nahin chahta."

"Phir bhi. Unka dil nahin maanta. Mere ghar ke akelepan se ghabra kar wahan chali hi jaati hain beech beech mein."

"Mallika. Aise dil chhota nahin karte," Ashutosh went towards her. He did feel bad for her. But how should he convince her to move on.

She got up, "Main kya karoon Ashutosh. Kabhi kabhi ye sab bardasht ke bahar ho jaata hai. Aur phir main tumhein pareshaan karne aa jati hoon."

"Ismein bura mahsoos karne waali kya baat hai? Doston ko koi apni pareshaaniyan nahin batayega to kahan batayega."

"Lekin mujhe to tumse bhi shikayat hai Ashutosh. Main kya karoon?" Mallika started crying and to Ashutosh' surprise, leaned on him for support. He was startled, but patted her head slightly to soothe her.

Nidhi entered his office just then. They separated hastily.

"Ye Dr. Nidhi?" Ashutosh asked.

Nidhi averted her eyes and spoke hurriedly, "I... I am sorry. Dr. Armaan aapka wait kar rahe hain. Unhone mujhe aapko inform karne ko bola tha."

She went out immediately. It had been a long day for her. But that was quite the routine. She sailed through it. But today, she suddenly felt very tired.


"Anji... Anji... Main bahut thaki hui hoon."

"La tere shoulders ka massage kar deti hoon. Achcha lagega."

"You are the best Anji!"

"Haan. Jab matlab niklega tab to main best hoon hi..."

Anji had just started massaging her shoulders when Nidhi's mobile rang.

"Anji mobile to de."

"Rahne de Nidhi. Apni halat dekh. Waise bhi kiska phone hai..." Anji saw the caller's name and smirked, "Nahin. Ye phone uthane se to main tujhe nahin rok sakti. Le."

It was from Ashutosh.

"Hello Sir."

"Dr. Nidhi. Dr. Armaan aaj ek tea-party de rahe hain. Un sabhi hospitals ke representatives ke liye jo WHO ke project ka hisaa hain. Aapko aana hai. Hotal Regale. Saadhe paanch baje."

"Thank you, Sir. Lekin meri jagah koi aur nahin ja sakta kya. Main bahut thaki hui hoon..."

"No Dr. Nidhi. You are on this project and you must come."

"Lekin Sir..." Ashutosh had disconnected the call.

"Kya hua? Kahan hai date?"

"Party!" Nidhi said.

"Woh bhi chalegi."

"Khaak chalegi Anji. Main kitni thaki hui hoon."

"Tu tension na le. Main tera aisa make-up karoongi ki thakaan dikhayi bhi nahin degi."

"Tujhe make-up ki padi hai?"

"Kyon na padi ho. Mujhe pata hai ki party mein tujhe kisne bulaya hai aur iski kya importance hai."

"Bakwaas band kar Anji."

"Chal. Pahle tere liye dress select karte hain," Anji jumped out of the bed and opened Nidhi's cupboard, "Yaar... Ye boring cotton kurtis ke alawa tere paas kuchh hai nahin kya... Wait... wait... Ye Saree. Wow! Ye woh hai na jo tune college ki farewell party ke liye kharidi thi. Bas - ye mast hai."

"Anji. Main tea party mein ja rahi hoon. Kissi shaadi mein nahin."

"Shaadi ka bhi time aayega. Abhi to teri kismat mein sirf night duties, beemaar bachche aur ye waqt-bewaqt ki parties hi likhi hain. To inse hi kaam chala lete hain... Ye set sahi jayega iske saath. Aur tu ruk. Maine jo abhi sandle khareedi hain na silver color ki, woh is saree ke saath bahut sahi lagegi. Ek size hone ka kitna fayda hai na?"

"Anji. Woh itni high-heals hain. Main chal bhi nahin paungi."

"Are abhi time hai party mein. Hum tujhe practice karwa denge."

"Lekin main ye sab kyon pahnoon?"

"Kyonki tu bilkul bachchon ki tarah lagti hai. Aur tujhe mature aur bada lagne ki zaroorat hai."

Nidhi sighed. Did Anji understand things better than she herself did?


"Welcome Dr. Nidhi," Ashutosh was stunned to see Nidhi in a blue Saree with silver work. She looked very different. But while speaking, he managed to hide how unsettled he was. "Please come in," he had spotted her in the hotel lobby and led her to the party hall. Suddenly she stumbled and Ashutosh supported her.

"I am sorry. Thoda dheere chal sakte hain hum? Maine pahli baar high heals pahni hain. To chalne mein dikkat ho rahi hai," she was embarrassed, but told him her problem.

Ashutosh was amused, "Kyon pahan li high heals aapne?"

"Anji insist kar rahi thi."

"Koi baat nahin. Chaliye."

Nidhi met Armaan and was introduced to some other guests she didn't know. Then she slowly slipped away from the crowd. She watched Ashutosh. He was smiling and laughing while talking to the other guests in the party. She felt a tug at her heart. She didn't know how to interpret it. Physcially she was still very tired. She walked out of the hall to sit in the open lawn. Ashutosh also had his eyes on her. He saw her walking out. He waited for a while before following her. He carried a glass of juice for her and handed it to her.

"Lagta hai aap bahut bore ho gayi hain."

"Nahin to."

"Agar ho gyai hain aap to is baar aapne jhooth achche se bol diya. Kyonki aapke chehre se kuchh pata nahin chal raha."

"Agar aapne ek aur baar kuchh aisi complicated baat boli to main ro doongi. Main bahut thaki hui hoon aur mujhe abhi kuchh samajh nahin aa raha hai."

"Thank you Dr. Nidhi. Meri baat rakh kar yahan aane ke liye."

"Iske liye thank you ki zaroorat nahin hai."

"Waise ye rang aap par bahut suit karta hai. Pahna kijiye. Aur Saree bhi bahut achchi lagti hai aap par."

"Rang to pahan sakti hoon, saree nahin. Warna main din bhar saree hi sambhalti rah jaungi, kaam kuchh nahin hoga."

Ashutosh laughed, "Aapki ya baat mujhe bahut achchhi lagti hai Dr. Nidhi. Simple aur direct. Apne man ki baat express karne mein aap hichkichati nahin hain."

"Ye compliment hai ya complaint?"

"Compliment hai. Mai bhi itna tedha insaan nahin hoon. Aap meri baat par bharosa kar sakti hain."

"Mujhe pata hai. Aap bharosemand insaan hain. Lekin aapko nahin lagta ki aapko andar hona chahiye aur logon ke saath."

"Aap bhi to akeli bahar chali aayi."

"Aap yahan Dr. Armaan ke saath mejbaan hai. Mujhe zyada freedom hai. Main mehmaan hoon."

Ashutosh smiled and said emotionally, "Right. Thodi de ke liye main bhool hi gaya tha."

Nidhi felt her heart skip a beat and her cheeks turning hot and red at how he said that. Could there be...

"Aap to party enjoy kar rahe the?" she broke the awkward silence.

"Main normally parties mein bahut bore ho jaata hoon."

"Aaj to aapko dekh kar aisa nahin lag raha tha."

"Insaan har kuchh apni marzi se to nahin karta. Kabhi kabhi doosron ki khushi ke liye bhi kuchh karna padta hai. Rather mujhe to lagta hai ki hum apni maximum life doosron ke liye hi guzaar dete hain. Apne liye to kabhi samay hi nahin milta."

"Aapke liye to ye baat bilkul sahi hai. Aapke patients aur hospitals ke alawa kissi cheez ke liye samay hi nahin hai aapke paas."

"Aisa kyon lagta hai aapko?"

"Jitna dekha hai..."

"Aankhon dehi baat bhi kabhi kabhi sahi nahin hoti Dr. Nidhi. Jo dekhne mein kuchh lagta hai, uski haqueeqat kuchh aur ho sakti hai. Hum kuchh karte hain, kuchh kahte hain, lekin shayad woh sab dikhawe ke liye ho aur sachchai kuchh aur hi ho. Aisa ho sakta hai na. Aap meri baat samajh rahi hain?"

Nidhi wondered. Was he talking about what she had seen that day. Ashutosh and Mallika in his office...

"Shayad. Shayad.. main samajh rahi hoon."

"Good. Mujhe achchha lagta hai jab koi bina mere kahe meri baat samajh jaata hai."

They sat in silence for a few minute. Then Ashutosh' mobile rang. The line was disturbed.

"Kya?... Aapki aawaaz nahin sunayi de rahi... Aap kaat kar... nahin... kya... Oh God! Main pahunchta hoon... Haan kai doctors hain yahan... sabhi aa rahe hain..."

"Kya hua Sir?" his face told her that something was severely wrong.

"Hamein abhi hospital jaana hoga Dr. Nidhi. Bahut badi emergency hai."

They gathered other doctors of Kotnis General Hospital from the party and rushed towards the hospital.


Someone had planted a bomb in a school. It had gone off after the the school was over. Otherwise the damage would have been much more severe. But many children were still waiting for their parents and they had been injured. The school was close to Dr. Kotnis General hospital and a large number of kids had been brought in there.

There was already a huge crowd of injured kids, their parents, onlookers and media in front of the hospital. The doctors pushed their way through it. The on duty nurse gave Ashutosh a quick update. Some kids had minor injuries. They had put the bandages for them and sent them back. There were 44 kids severly injured and 5 were critical and admitted to ICU.

Nidhi watched as Ashutosh took control of the situation. He directed doctors to take charge of different wards. There wasn't enough space available in IPD for everyone. He asked Nidhi to get the medicines and injections and first aid material in the lobby and start treating those waiting there. Nidhi immediately started on her job with help from Priyanka and a nurse. But she could not help notice how Ashutosh had converted a chaotic looking situation into a manageable exercise. Even amidst the howling kids, crying parents, and intrusive media, everyone was clear on how to go about doing things. After assigning work to everyone, Ashutosh himself also started attending the patients. But not before taking care of something that was troubling Nidhi.

"Dr. Verma, please come to my office for a minute please," he addressed her formally. Nidhi asked Priyanka to take care of the patient she was attending and went with him.

"Dr. Nidhi. Meri ek spare pair of slippers yahan padi rahti hain hamesha. Aap ye le lijiye. Thodi badi hongi, lekin comfortable rahengi. High heels mein aap bhaag daud nahin kar payengi."

Nidhi was so surprised, she stared at him for a while. 

"Kya hua Dr. Nidhi?"

"Haan? Nahin... Kuchh nahin..." she came out of her trance, "Thank you. Aapne itna dhyaan rakha."

She took the slippers, put them on and rushed out of the room. She didn't know why, but she felt very shy. Ashutosh smiled seeing her almost run out. She had left her sandles right near the door of his office. He picked them up and placed them behind his table, where they won't be visible to the visitors.


Priyanka noticed her slippers when she came back. 

"Nidhi. Ye slippers?"

"Haan woh yahan pade hue the extra. High heels mein kaam karna mushkil hota na. Isliye..."

Priyanka looked at her questioningly, but Nidhi ignored her.

For next two hours they worked without a break. In between a crying woman approached Nidhi, "Doctor. Meri bachchi kaisi hai? Use kitna dard ho raha hoga?"

Nidhi looked at the nurse to know what happened to her daughter, "Severe burn ka case hai Dr. Nidhi. Use quarantine mein rakha gaya hai."

"Dekhiye aap chinta mat kijiye. Theek ho jayegi. Use alag isliye rakha gaya hai taki germs use nuksaan na karein."

"Phool si meri bachchi. Zara si chot aa jaati thi to ro ro kar aasmaan sar par utha deti thi. Itni jalan kaise bardasht karegi?"

"Use pain killers diye hain na humne. Aur abhi to anaesthesia mein hogi. Use koi dard nahin mahsoos ho raha hoga. Lekin aap please apna khayaal rakhiye. Agar aap hi ro ro kar beemar pad gayin to uski dekh bhaal kaun karega," Nidhi repeated what she had often heard Ashutosh tell the attendants of patients.

And that simple logic seemed to drive the point home. She did calm down. Nidhi decided to check on the child anyway. And what she saw there shattered her. The child was under anaesthesia. That with pain killers would probably keep her pain away. But will she or her mother be able to stay calm when they see her burnt face and body. What mental trauma it will be for them, when even as a doctor, Nidhi was horrified to see her face? She rushed out of the room.


Finally it looked like everything had been attended to. The corridor was empty now as extra beds had been put and everyone had been accommodated in the rooms. As per the policy of children's ward, parents and attendants had been sent home for the night. 

Nidhi sat down on a bench in the empty corridor trying to take a stock of the things around her. She had never seen anything like this before. She read about the terrorist attacks, accidents; she saw the clippings on the TV. She had felt bad for people, but what she felt by being in the middle on all this was very different. She could not even name that feeling. Disgust? Fear? Anger? Sickness? Tiredness? All combined!

She did not realize when Ashutosh came and sat by her. She noticed him only when he spoke, "Ise imtihaan kahte hain Dr. Nidhi. Woh imtihaan nahin jo hum paper-pen par dete hain. Real life ka imtihaan."

Nidhi smiled weakly, "Aap to expert hain, real life ke imtihaan dene mein."

"Achchha. Aisa kyon lagta hai aapko?"

"Jis tarah se aapne sab kuchh sambhaala... Hum sab log to kitna hadbada gaye the."

"Ye to bas professional maturity hai. Samay ke saath aapme bhi aa jayegi."

"Hope so."

Ashutosh smiled, "Take care Nidhi." Then he walked away.

Nidhi also decided to go back to the ward and check on the patients.


"Dr. Ashutosh. Ek bachche ko saans nahin aa rahi hai. Aap please mere saath chaliye," Nidhi came rushing to Ashutosh.


Ashutosh went to the child. He quickly checked his condition and sent the nurse to fetch the cardiologist. Cardiologist came, but it was too late. Ashutosh looked at his watch and noted the time of the death.

Nidhi was so horrified that she stumbled while walking away from the bed. Nidhi should have completed some formalities after the child's death, but seeing her condition Ashutosh decided to do that himself. He saw her walking towards the common room absent-mindedly. He decided to check on her after completing the formalities.

Nidhi sat on a chair in the common room and then she broke down. She started sobbing uncontrollably. Sonali was there in the room. She came to her tried to calm her down. Dr. Rangnath and couple of other doctors also walked in just then. They all understood what she was going through. They all were in the same boat. It was just a question of who could withstand how much before breaking down. They tried to comfort her, but to no avail.

Finally Ashutosh walked in, "Dr. Verma. Kya ho raha hai? Ye kya halat bana rakhi aapne apni? Aap aise karengi to patients aur unke parents ka kya hoga? Jaiye. Ja kar munh dho kar aaiye. Jaiye please."

Nidhi obeyed him and walked towards the washroom.

Ashutosh looked at the other doctors sitting in the room, many of them on the verge of breaking down. It wasn't the first time he had seen this. Unfortunately calamities kepts striking around them far too often. And there always were those young doctors, who would find it difficult to cope. He had handled them many a times. He had to do that now.

"Aur aap log yahan kya kar rahe hain? Dr. Verma se zyada bahar ward mein patients ko aap logon ki zaroorat hai. Aur unke saamne aap aisi roni shakal bana kar nahin ja sakte. Dr. Ranghnath? Aap to senior hain. Sambhaliye in sab ko."

"Sir, insaan to hum sab bhi hain. Itna kuchh dekh kar asar to hum par bhi padta hi hai."

Ashutosh softened, "Main jaanta hoon. Hum sab bahut pressure mein hain. Ye sab bahut darawana hai. Ek taraf to hum doctors se ye ummeed ki jaati hai ki hum insaaniyat ke saath rahein. Wahin doosri taraf aam insaanon ki tarah emotional bhi nahin ho sakte. Ye hamare profession ka sabse bada challenge hai. Lekin iska kuchh kiya nahin ja sakta."

Rangnath gathered himself together. He had to help his boss, not break down himself, "Aap theek kah rahe hain Sir. Aap chinta mat kijiye. Ye sab log meri zimmedaari hain."

"Thank you Dr. Rangnath. Aur dhyaan rakhiye ki ye sab log bhi kuchh kha pee lein baari baari se. Doctors, agle ek-do dinon tak ho sakta hai ki aap logon ko aaraam karne ka mauka nahin mile. Lekin is samay aaraam kar bhi kaun sakta hai?"

"Yes Sir. Aap hamari chinta mat kijiye. We will manage," said one of the interns.

"Thank you."

With this everyone left the room. Ashutosh sat down on the sofa. Nidhi came out of the washroom after a minute or so.

"Come here Nidhi. Sit down." She did that.

"Kya hua? Ghabra gayi thi?" She nodded.

"Nidhi. Shayad aaj pahli baar tumne kissi patient ki death hote dekhi hai."


"Emotionally hamein break kar dene waala moment hota hai ye Nidhi. Lekin professionally, ye ek humbling moment hota hai. Jab tak patient ki saans chal rahi hai, hum use kuchh bhi kar ke bachane ki koshish karte hain. Lekin kuchh cheezein hamare haath mein nahin hoti. Life ke exam mein bhi out of syllabus questions hote hain."

Nidhi smiled slightly at that quip.

"Un questions se hamein haar maanni hi padti hai. Lekin hum unke saath toot jayen, ye afford nahin kar sakte. Baaki ke sawaal hamara intezaar kar rahe hote hain. Unhein hamare answers ki zaroorat hoti hai. Baat samajh rahi ho na?"

"I am sorry Sir."

"Sorry?" Ashutosh rued, "Ye to mujhe kahna chahiye. Tumhare oopar itna pressure daal raha hoon. Waise hum log ek-doosre ke saath itni formalities kyon karte hain? Thank you. Sorry. Inki zaroorat hai kya?"

Another one! Nidhi turned red and felt goosebumps on her skin.

Before either of them could say anything, they had an interruption.

"What a sweet little scene," Mallika said sarcastically, "Suna hai Dr. Nidhi ki tabiyat kharaab hai. Ashutosh. Koi special dawai di ya nahin?"

Nidhi glared at her, but did not say anything. She walked out of the room. 

Ashutosh had had enough. After Nidhi went away, he told her, "Mallika. Kissi ke tolerance ko itna mat test karo ki woh tumhein jawaab dene par mazboor ho jaye. Main kabhi nahin chahoonga ki mujhe tumhein kissi aur ke saamne koi kadwi baat kahni pade. Lekin please mujhe force mat karo."

He walked out of the room as well. He was surrounded by media persons. He sent them to his office and looked for Nidhi, "Dr. Nidhi. Aap Dr. Mallika ki baaton ka bura mat maaniyega. Zindagi kabhi kabhi logon ko kadwa bana deti hai."

"Woh aapki dost hain. Main unhein bardasht kar sakti hoon," Nidhi said with a faint smile, "Main ward mein jaati hoon."

Ashutosh nodded and watched her go with a smile on his lips. She understood him!


Amidst al this, the media was insatiable. Dr. Rangnath tried his best, but after things settled down a bit, they thought it was better for Dr. Ashutosh to give a statement and satisfy them. Tired and exhausted, he did even that.

Then he walked into the common room, where all the doctors and interns were sitting. They all had gotten some time to relax after a while. 

"Sab kuchh theek thaak hai?" he asked.

"Yes Sir."

"Kuchh khaya piya aap logon ne?"

"Yes Sir. Aap fikr mat kijiye. Yahan sab theek hai."

"Great. Main apne office mein hoon. Koi issue ho to mujhe bata dijiyega."

"Ji Sir."

Nidhi wondered if the last bit was meant for her. She decided to risk it and reached his cabin with tea.

"Thank you Dr. Nidhi. Lekin aap meri aadat bigaad rahi hain."


"Aapke chai laane ki aisi aadat pad gayi hai ki kitni bhi thakaan ho rakhi ho, khud laana yaad hi nahin rahta."

"To ismein kaun si badi baat hai. Main kaun sa bana kar laati hoon. Ek button hi to dabana hai. Aapke liye chai to la hi sakti hoon."

"Haan jab tak aap yahan hain, tab tak... Par uske baad?"

"To main kahan ja rahi hoon?"

"PG nahin karni aapko?"

"Yahin kaam karte hue karoongi. Credit to mil hi jayega."

"Children's ward mein?"

"Bilkul. Main pediatrics mein hi specialize bhi karoongi."


The question caught her off guard for a moment. What was she to say? Because she had to follow his footsteps? Because she wanted to be like him?

"Mujhe bachche pasand hain," she finally said.

Ashutosh smiled, "Haan. Woh to dikhta hai mujhe. Lekin phir bhi. Meri aadat mat bigadiye. Mujhe dar lagta hai."

"Kis cheez se?"

"Khushiyon se?"

"Ye kaisi baat hui? Khushiyon se bhala kyon dar lagta hai aapko?"

"Kyonki woh chhin jaati hain to bahut dukh hota hai. Woh dukh bardasht karne ki himmat nahi hai mujhme."

"Aapke Baba ki nishani chhin jaane ka bahut dukh hai na aapko?"

Ashutosh looked surprised. She remembered!

Nidhi thought that he did not remember telling her and hence was surprised.

"Aapne khud hi bataya tha mujhe..." Nidhi explained hesitantly.

"Pata hai. Lekin aapne bhi yaad rakha, ye bahut badi baat hai."

"Aakhir kya cheez thi woh?"

"Janna chahti hain aap?"

"Of course."

"Theek hai. Kabhi aapko dikha doonga."

"Par woh to aapke paas nahin hai?"

"Lekin dikha sakta hoon."

There was a silence for a few moments. Then Nidhi took his leave to go to the ward.


"Dr. Nidhi. Aapke liye phone hai," the receptionist called Nidhi. Nidhi took the receiver from her. It was the mother of one of the kids whom she had treated yesterday and then sent back. Apparently the child had developed severe pain in her arms now. After the bombings, many areas of the city were under curfew and the parents could not bring the child to the hospital. Nidhi assured her that she would come to their house as doctors would be allowed to go and took the address down.

Nidhi checked for Ashutosh, but he was out. She asked the receptionist and was informed that he had gone out with Dr. Armaan for some work. The mobile network was practically jammed in the city after the blasts. So, Nidhi gave the address to the receptionist and asked her to inform Dr. Rangnath and Dr. Ashutosh that she'd be there.

Then she went to the common room to pick up her things. Mallika was sitting there. So, as a courtesy she informed her, "Dr. Mallika. Main ek patient ko dekhne bahar ja rahi hoon. Ek do ghanton mein lautungi."

"Really?" Mallika responded.


"Mera matlab hai ki bahar jaane ka reason batana zaroori nahin hai. Lekin ye batana zaroori hai ki aap kiske saath ja rahi hain."

"What do you mean?"

"Na to aap koi bachchi hain, na hi bewkoof. Baaki baatein ko aapko achchhe se samajh mein aati hain?"

"Aapka kah rahi hain ki main jhooth bol rahi hoon?"

"Tumhari umra mein sabhi jhooth bolte hain. Maine bhi bahut bole hain. Kabhi time ho to Dr. Ashutosh se poochh lena."

"Main jhooth nahin bolti."

"Theek hai. To phir jo baat main tumse poochh rahi hoon, uska sach sach jawaab dena."

"Aapko mujhse problem kya hai? Why do you hate me so much?"

"Tumne dil khol kar apni baat kahi hai, to main bhi sach hi bataungi. Koi aurat ye bardasht nahin kar sakti ki jise woh pyaar karti ho, use koi usse chheen le."

Nidhi sighed in exasperation.

"Itni bholi nahin ho tum. Tum achchhi tarah jaanti thi ki mera aur Ashutosh ka rishta kitna gahra hai. Lekin tumne apni umra aur chehre ko hathiyaar bana kar istemaal kiya. Main galat kah rahi hoon kya?"

"Dr. Mallika. Aap mujhe badtamizi karne par majbooor mat kijiye."

"Meri baatein tumhein bhale hi pasand na aayen, lekin apni bhalai ke liye sun lo. Ashutosh ko mujhse zyada koi nahin jaanta. Tum uske saamne kuchh nahin ho. Tumhein kya lagta hai ki he will fall for an immature, irreponsible girl like you? Kabhi nahin. Aur agar tumne use phansa bhi liya, to ye samajh lo ki woh ek bahut hi kamzor insaan hai. He is a weak man. He is not someone who can protect you. Jab duniya tumhare rishte par sawaal khade karegi, to woh tumhein beech majhdhaar mein chhod kar chala jayega. Woh sirf apne kaam se, ya apne aap se pyaar kar sakta hai."

"I can't believe this Dr. Mallika. Aapki soch kitni cheap hai. And how can a woman stoop so low? Itna kaise gir sakti hai koi aurat?"

"Nidhi. Aurat mein bahut taakat hoti hai. Aur ye tumhein us din pata chalega, jab tum mere aamne-saamne khadi hogi."

"Main aur aap kabhi aamne saamne nahin khade honge, Dr. Mallika." Nidhi stormed out of the room leaving an angry Mallika behind.


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