Joined: 15 October 2005
Joined: 03 November 2009
As soon as the door was closed, he tried to reach his bedroom to locate the scarf. Once there, he was left in shock. It was gone! He frantically looked below the sheets and pillows and even surveyed his room quickly but it jst wasn't there!!! He flopped on the bed scratching his head. Did Nidhi found it first and took it with her.. but thn why didn't she enquire? Did she guess wat transpired with it in the night.. how it ended up here on his bed.. from his bathroom..Shit!.. He flushed heavily.
After 15 minutes, he was still trying to unravel the mystery of Nidhi's missing scarf. The uncertainty was bugging him. On top of everything that had been going on betn him and Nidhi, THIS had to happen. He was still scratching his head over this when he heard the doorbell. Before he could get up, he heard it clicked open to his utter amazement. He stopped. "Sir.. wer r u?" he heard her sweet voice from the living room. "Dr. Nidhi, I am here in the bedroom, wait I am coming," replied he and started for the living room. He saw Nidhi tentatively entering his den. "but how did u get in?" he asked in confusion. She flushed a bit and replied sheepishly, "Oh.. I was in a real hurry and it skipped my mind? I picked up the extra key from your kitchen." "You found our secret cabinet?" he was amazed, "that means we need to b more careful hiding our keys." He chuckled, but she in answer quickly rushed to the kitchen and brot in some tea and b'fast in tray. "wer did u get this?," he enquired. "I asked dadi bua to pack it for you, " she replied spreading the bfast on the bedside table. He was impressed. This girl was smart! She pulled up a chair making it little b'fast-4-two table. She went up to the window and opened the curtains to let in fresh air and morning sunlight. His room was lit up and fresh breeze travelled from the window thru to the open door. He never thot his bedroom cud b so welcoming. The thing was tht tht he was really feeling happy abt all this and his heart was enjoying this apparent attention.. shamelessly!!. As Nidhi came back and took her seat, he noticed she had put on a pretty orange kurti tht complemented her skin tone pretty well and she had matched it up with a matching set of earrings, which sparkled teasingly. Finally, he turned his attention to his bfast. "Dr. Nidhi, one should eat slowly for a good digestion," remarked he as he saw Nidhi gobbling up parathas. "emm? hmm.. cant,"replied she with her mouth still full. She chomped it fast and swallowed it at one go. "sorry Sir, getting late for the hospital. I need to reach by 9,"said she gobbling up some more. "Oh," replied he. He had completely forgotten about KGH!!! He cudnt believe it. Just then, he heard the footsteps at his bedroom door and saw an amazed face staring back at them with big wide eyes. It was Hiraman kaka. "Oh.. Hiraman kaka, welcome home?. finally," he welcomed him. Nidhi turn to look at him with her mouth full. She made a pretty cute picture and that brot instant smile on Hiramankaka's face. He nodded approvingly and beamed back at Dr. Ashutosh with a pretty wide grin. Dr. Ashutosh nodded his head sideways to suggest there was nothing like?like whatever he thot but kaka rolled his eyes and gestured, Oh yeah. He greeted Nidhi and left them alone. Nidhi had finished her bfast by that time and was about to get up. "Sorry Sir, really need to go,"she said apologetically. "Its fine.. In fact I shud thank u? u did so much for me," he said sincerely. She smiled back and said, "Oh I almost forgot sir." And she pulled out a bunch of fresh red roses from her big jhola. She beamed at it pleasingly for a while and then she set it neatly in the nearby vase. She was happy that Hiraman kaka was back to care of him. She wished Dr. Ashutosh good health and took his leave. With her gone, his room suddenly felt quite empty and his heart was already missing something.
For both Ashutosh and Nidhi, the day jst seemed too long. Nidhi wanted to go and meet Dr. Ashutosh but Dr. Ashutosh had little hope that he would see Nidhi any soon and the long day wasn't helping either. He had briefed Dr. Rangnath abt his condition and Dr. Mallika had paid him a visit and took his sign on required documents. He tried on reading, but he could not concentrate for long. Finally, the clock struck 5. At last he had something to do. He had an appointment for his x-ray.
Dr. Nidhi hurried from the hospital as soon as possible to reach Dr. Ashutosh's home, but wen she reached there, she found it locked. She tried calling him but there was no reply. She thot for a moment and then entered with the spare key. It felt as if she was sneaking in but she had no choice if she went home it wud b hard to explain baba why she wanted to meet Dr. Ashutosh again. She jst wanted to see him again. She called up Dr. Ashutosh again, bt he was unreachable. She chuckled at word "unreachable" Yeah.. tht he surely was!..Bounded by big walls of his fort, this king was unreachable but she had found a key to it.. she chuckled as she roamed around his living room to kill the time. Her eyes fell on the big book lying on his bed. A smiled escaped her lips as she approached it. It had a rose as its bookmark. How cute! She picked it up curiously. A medical journal.. huh! Then wat do you expect Dr. Nidhi Verma, a mill and boons romance? She chuckled. Oh.. how boring it wud have been to lie here all day on this big bed reading this big boring journal she wondered as she sat on the bed and turned on few pages. Did he every seek any pleasure in his life?, apparently No. As she flipped some more pages, she felt bored.
Suddenly a mischevious thot ran into her mind. She had her digital camera with her. Actually, she wanted Dr. Ashutosh to see the picnic pics but with everything happening so fast, she never got a chance. She brot it out mischievously. She took the book with the rose and his reading glasses and went back to main room and confirmed the door was closed. She then placed the camera on a table in front of sofa and adjusted the angle and set the timer. She quickly went back to the sofa and made herself comfortable. She then took the book and put on the glasses and began enacting Dr. Ashutosh reading with a serious face and drawn in eyebrows. The camera quickly took her pics as per her settings. Then, she put it aside and got some more with the rose in a cheery mood! Ah.. photo session was so much fun! She mentally reminded herself to transfer it ASAP b4 it got into Dr. Ashutosh' hands as she went thru the pics. She threw herself more cozily on the sofa and began going thru the picnic pics. The kids were jst adorable. It seemed Dr. Ashutosh too had a gud time. She stared at his happy face for some time. He really looked adorable with kids. Her gifted T fitted him perfectly fine. She patted herself for getting the size right. He was lean but had a bit vast chest and she had gud measure of it. She blushed as she remembered their previous "close" encounter and she blushed some more. Her mind slowly wandered to the waterfall scene. It was such a beautiful place. Pity she didn't take her camera with her, but anyways she dbted Dr. Ashutosh knew about anything else other than scalpels and blades. She gave out a big sigh and continued with her browsing. Soon she lost track of time and before she knew, she was fast asleep on the sofa. May be the tiredness of the day did the trick.
An hour later Dr. Ashutosh arrived home. There was a hairline fracture reported. He had his leg plastered and now walked in with a cane to assist. He turned around towards sofa and gave a sharp cry! "Nidhi?" Nidhi was cozily lying on his living room sofa!! He rubbed his eyes hard to believe it! By now Hiraman kaka too had entered in and looked at her most astonished. Then he saw the look on Ashutosh's face. At first, he chuckled, but then he couldn't control. He soon burst into a suppressed laughter. "I didn't know things had gotten this far in my absence," he pulled his legs. Ashutosh stared at him glaringly. He had forgotten all abt his plaster and pain! "Kaka please!," oh! he is gonna die in embarrassment. Wat was this girl doing ?in my house.. like that?.. God have mercy on me! He almost pleaded. With every chuckle of Kaka, his temper was rising! "Kaka please, stop it and wake her up,"he ordered him angrily. "No.. No.. I cant do that.. its ur matter.. u solve it.. don't get me involved in it..please, " and he ran into the kitchen. "Please," he shouted again from outside but there was no reply. He reluctantly went to her side. The setting sun rays were now falling on her face from the open garden window, which disturbed her sleep. She winced her eyes and tried to block the rays and finally opened her eyes slowly. Rubbing it reluctantly, she sat up. As she looked around, she saw an angry Dr. Ashutosh standing right in front of her. Suddenly it struck her like a lightning bolt. She quickly jumped out of the sofa and uttered "Sorry," meekly. Dr. Ashutosh shook his head in anger. This girl was testing his nerves badly today! "Dr. Nidhi Verma, wat exactly r u doing in my CLOSED house?," he asked her as calmly as possible. She looked helplessly. She prayed God for some sort of help. Right then emerged Kaka from the kitchen with snacks and tea. "Had a gud sleep?,"he asked. She blushed profusely and looked down. A quick look from Ashutosh told Kaka that he needs to buzz off and he obliged. He sat across and glared at her. Nidhi bit her lower lip nervously. "Dr. Verma, u didn't answer me?," he asked again. "I came to see u," she replied meekly. "Didn't u already TWICE in the morning?" asked he grilling her. "I? yes," replied she. "So..?," asked he. "I jst wanted to check on u," she replied honestly.
"hmmm?even if u had to sneak in?,"he asked in most calm voice. "I didn't sneak in..i had the key," she argued in slightly sharp voice. "But not my permission," he added staring her down. "I tried calling u but u were not reachable," she replied defensively. "so u jst sneaked in.. like that.. Y.. u cud've waited for tomorrow?," he asked her rationally. "you wont understand," she replied in a low voice. "yeah, how can I wen I cudnt understand ur early morning wake up call," he said sarcastically. She looked at him briefly and then looked away but didn't answer. "y did u call.. was there anything urgent or important?," he asked. "I just wanted to share abt yesterday bt how can that b of any importance to u?, replied she. "at 6:30 in the morning,"he asked. "wat has time to do anything with tht.. wen u feel it u jst say it.. haven't u ever felt like calling someone jst like that .. to share what u felt..havent u ever had any desire to jst simply talk to someone?" she asked questioningly. Instantly yesterdays night event flashed in his mind when he had this strong desire to hear her voice. "but u don't do it at any odd time or hour,"explained he in a slightly exasperated voice. U cannot act on ur impulses jst like tht, thot he! There was a brief silence and then she said in a low voice, "I am sorry that I felt I cud talk to you whatever I felt at any time, but... it wud never happen again.""From now on, I will try and stay well within my limits," she finished quietly. She pulled out the spare key from her bag and placed on the table. Without even glancing at him, she turned and walked away. He jst sat thr quietly staring after her.
With his foot in plaster and practically lying whole day in bed, there was nothing much for him to do. In the evenings, Kaka wud take him to the garden on wheelchair. In day time, he wud have visits from his colleagues and juniors. Among them, one person was still missing. Nidhi hadn't visited him once for 2 days now. He was advised at least a week's rest and that meant he wudnt be seeing her for quite a few days now, but knowing her, he knew she wud visit him sooner or later. And on day 3, he heard her voice outside just as he woke up from his evening nap. Nidhi was apparently chatting with Hiraman Kaka, but wen he called out Kaka, she fell silent. Kaka answered promptly but he came in after some time and asked for the bed tea. "No, I will have tea outside. Its Nidhi right?," he asked him. "She has left.," he replied. Ashutosh stared back at him questioningly. "She did came in to enquire about your health but she left as you got up. She said that u might not want to meet her," said he. Ashutosh suddenly felt something heavy in his chest. "but I have told her she can come to meet me any time or any odd hour as she feels. She had helped you so much in my absence, at least I can return it this way," he added briefly and went away to bring the tea. Ashutosh just turned his face away and stared blankly outside the window in response.
For the next 3 days, every evening he wud b awakened by her voice. She would come, enquire abt his health, and wud leave without seeing him. Every day, he wud lie there silently listening to her voice and waiting for her. He was so sure she wud definitely come one day, but she didn't. To his bad luck and for most part his carelessness, he had slipped in bathroom and got his other leg sprained too. So practically now he was confined in the bed and wheelchair for 3-4 days more to his disappointment. This and the apparent boredom of lying idle were making him insane. He knew no other particular means of interest that wud entertain him. And to top it all, there was this Nidhi. Every day he would long for her, but she just wouldn't come in to see him. It was a sweet torture that was driving him crazy with each passing day.
On day 7, finally his plaster was taken off and now, he was standing by the window. He had walked around a bit in the day and was feeling pretty fine. He was advised some physical therapy exercises. The other leg was doing pretty fine already. Though he wanted to join the hospital back today itself, his doctor had advised him against it. His ankle muscles had rendered a bit weak due to inaction and he needed to get it back in shape before exposing it to the exertion of his hectic schedules of surgeries, roundups, workshops, and offsite visits. Having now at last something to look forward, he felt relieved of apparent anxiousness and was successful in keeping his "Nidhi" thoughts at bay. Today, he had planned his work schedule and fixed all his future appointments and he was pretty pleased and satisfied with himself today. Finally, he wud b able to get back to his normal routine and get some work done. surely this idleness had actually driven him crazy, but now he can b rest assured of keeping his wandering mind under better control.
For all his assuredness, there entered Nidhi! "Hiraman kaka," she called waiting for him at the door. She looked a bit different..observed he. Perhaps, she wasn't in her usual self. Looked a bit pale and a bit serious! .. serious?, he looked again. "Hiraman kaka?" She called out again. Perhaps as he was standing far by the window and partially blocked by the corner wall, she didn't notice him. She quickly went into the kitchen looking for kaka. Ashutosh followed her into the kitchen. As she turned around she was just going to bump into him, but his cautionary "Nidhi" warded her off just in nick of time. "Hiraman kaka went out for some grocery shopping," replied he, but she didn't reply. She turned and pulled out a small plate from the lower cabinet. She unpacked the packet in her hands and spread out the flowers on the plate. The whole kitchen was filled with the pleasing fragrance of flowers. "Wow, they smell good," said he wanting a conversation, but she ignored him... completely. As he watched her closely leaning by the counter near the door, she continued to act as if he didn't exist. She took the plate and put it on the shelf of the temple that hung on the opposite wall. Then, she turned around to go away without even looking at him. When she passed him, he called out her name courteously "Dr. Nidhi," but she kept walking away. He followed her with quick steps a bit limping calling her again "Dr. Nidhi," but she just would not listen and instead quickened her pace. Ashutosh had enuf of it. Covering enough distance quickly, he got by her side and called her again "Dr. Nidhi." Startled, she again moved away from him quickly. Something inside him was rising up... fast. He took a step forward and came around in front of her and called her sternly this time, "Dr. Nidhi Verma." But she still wudn't answer or even look at him and instead again walked away backwards as if she just did want to be anywhere near him, he felt. "Nidhi," he finally called out in more urgent deep tone and looked at her expectantly. She finally looked at him with unsure eyes as he continued to close the distance betn thm. Her instincts warned her of the growing closeness and she tried to run away instinctively. Something inside him finally snapped at that. He just couldn't see her running away like that from him after so many days of waiting and longing for her. He caught hold of her arm and pulled her towards him, but wen Nidhi tried to push him away, his instant reaction was to pull her more close in a tight embrace. Nidhi kept struggling against him, but it jst made him hold on to the tight grip longer! May be Nidhi was invoking those primal male instincts in otherwise gentlemanly Dr. Ashutosh. When she continued to try to push him away, he pressed her closer and closer so much so that he could now smell her fine hair. His eyes were still fixed on her and his heart had started beating so fast and his mind jst wanted one thing... to squeeze her more tightly and securely against him and to never ever let her go away from him like that. So strong was the desire that he had actually started doing it. Nidhi got so startled and frightened at his sudden reaction. He had pressed her so close that she could hear the loud thumping of his heart clearly and the loud bursting in his chest frightened her even more. Her heart by now had started pounding heavily against his chest and she could bear it no longer. Tears began flowing from her eyes wetting his T shirt. Some curved a path along her cheeks and landed softly on his arm. The delicate touch of her warm tears on his skin brought him back to his senses and he quickly released her from his embrace.
The next thing he knew was that she was sobbing heavily and uncontrollably. Tears were flowing heavily down her flushed cheeks and her soft lips quivered badly. She was looking at him all right.. but not accusingly at all. She was just plain crying.. heavily and it was hard for him to see her like that. Words jst wudnt come of out of Ashutosh's mouth. He wanted to reach her... console her.. comfort her.. but he cudnt dare. He turned away helplessly and tears sprang up in his eyes. He just could not see her cry. More than guilt it was this pain of making her cry this way that was eating him away. Oh wat did he do? The Ashutosh that he had known was always in control of himself? the calm, composed, self-aware man who exuded the same to his peers and to his surroundings but today he had let himself swept away by some unknown.. unfulfilled desire. There was this longing for her lingering on him for so long that he just snapped. He wouldn't lie that he didn't feel gud and satisfied holding her tight in his arms like that, but this jst wasn't him. Dr. Ashutosh cannot do this. He shud'nt have done this. He shudn't have lost control over himself like that. He ran a hand through his hair in dismay. He closed his eyes with his hands in utter despair. Oh..Wat had he done? He was so engrossed in his own thots that he didn't knew wen Nidhi went away.
The next they met was in the hospital, but neither of them spoke any thing to each other. There was suddenly a quiet stillness betn him and Nidhi. All the agitation.. the anxiety.. the tension that was betn thm had gone. It all seemed to have quieted down. There was much more calm and peace between them that didn't require any words. The only talk they would ever have was more formal and brief one. If they ever encounter each other otherwise, each wud jst walk away silently. Occasionally, he would glance at her briefly in ward while taking the rounds. She hadn't lost her smile, but it was much more controlled now. Many a times, he would find her lost in her own thots. Some times he would see her buried deep in some book. At other times, she would jst lovingly sit embracing the kids of his favorite ward. It seemed as if something in her had changed. She made a stark contrast from her childish carefree self that he was so used to seeing. Even Dr. Rangnath didn't fail to notice the change in her. He himself was feeling more calm and contended than before. More at ease. More efficient. More interested in his work. He was enjoying his work more than ever. One thing that brought something good out of this thing in Nidhi was that she had started performing really well. Her reports were improving greatly. She seemed more focused and was eager to excel. Even Dr. Mallika cudn't put anything against her. Everything was just going perfectly fine, just like he wanted. It was just that there was this lingering silence betn him and Nidhi and neither of them was attempting to break it. So much so that when Dr. Mallika changed her duty to night shifts, she accepted it without any protest and even he had nothing to say abt it. It just meant that they wud see much less of each other now.
Nidhi didn't quite understand wat changed in her after that incident. She had sobbed her heart out that day. At first, she had gotten pretty frightened of him at his sudden reaction, but then she had just felt pretty vulnerable. Though she felt he was as hurt as herself for his actions, but she really just couldn't understand him. He had just turned away from her.. perhaps regretting. The more she thot abt it, the more she became confused and restless. So she had decided to give it a rest. She just didn't want to think about that day or that incident. She began focusing more on her job. She would still feel his presence whenever he was nearby and had even felt his gaze at times, but things had suddenly turned pretty quiet betn thm and it just felt more comfortable this way.
Days passed by quickly, both of them engrossed themselves deeply into the work. She was progressing extremely well. Dr. Nidhi was still doing night shifts and so she had hardly worked under Dr. Ashutosh these days except for 1-2 emergencies, but she knew he felt proud of her. He had even recommended her name for the upcoming All India convention next month.
One night, he was engrossed deeply in a case file when he received a call way past midnight. He picked it up readily but his heart skipped a beat on hearing the voice at the other end. He heard a most terrified "Sir?" Dread ran across his face as he repeatedly cried, "Nidhi?..Nidhi??" back into the phone.
Chapter 13: Saiyaan..
As she came out of his rest room, she noticed something fluttering under the fan near his bed behind the side table. She approached it for a closer look. She was most astonished to find her lost scarf stuck there beneath the mattress of his bed. She tried to recall the events of that day and wondered as to how it got there. Redness crept up on her cheeks as she began to realize the significance of finding it here instead of where she had left. She remembered his awkward fumbling the next morning when she had called up. A lot had chngd betn them since then. She blushed as she remembered the incident tht had happened right here in his house tht brot in tht chng. Did it really meant wat she thot? She picked up the scarf gently, neatly folded it., and placed it back on his pillow with a shy smile. She wud know it soon!
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