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Nidhi literally is doing a jig by the time she reaches the childrens' ward. There is still more than half a day to go and God knows when she will see Ashutosh again and should she tell him or make him find out the hard way? Nah, she won't be able to hide anything for long from him esp something like this. So how to tell, when to tell and what would he say once the news is out? Everything is going round and round in her head and she barely notices the chatter of the kids. Ranganath is back on duty and he comes to her carrying a sheet and a file.
Ranga – Dr Nidhi..Good Morning. How are you feeling today?
Nidhi – never felt better Dr Ranganath. Just finished the gyn appointment for this month.
Ranga – so everything ok health wise?
Nidhi – yeah everything perfectly fine. Barely even have morning sickness. Why so many questions?
Ranga – the next round of duties have been decided on and you are shifted from the paediatric ward to the ICU as of Monday.
Nidhi - ok. not a problem at all. Anything else?
Ranga – actually, since its ICU, you will assigned night duties for this month. One night / week. I thought it better to deal with this now rather than when your pregnancy advances some more.
Nidhi's face falls at the thought of being away from home and Ashu during the night but she recovers quickly. "thank you Dr Ranganath. Yes, you did a huge favour to me. Just let me know when my night shift is this week aur mein haazir hojaungi." Ranga smiles a little at the way she says that and nods his head and gives her the schedule sheet. Nidhi signs the acceptance form and takes the sheet. Today is Saturday and her shift starts on Monday and her night shift is the same day. That means both of them would be leaving for hospital on Monday morning but she would be returning home only Tuesday afternoon. Ok.
Nidhi – Dr Ranganath, how is Anji doing?
Ranga - fine. Call her up when you are free. Now that her exams are also all done, she has no college and she is beginning to get bored sitting at home. I told her to get a job and she said she will think about it and talk to her dad and decide.
Both say bye to each other and go on with their duties. The
kids in the ward hear the convo and start asking her if she is leaving them and
Nidhi reassures them saying she will come everyday to the ward and chat with
them and then only go to her other duties. Everyone is happy to hear that and
clap. Janki bai comes and calls Nidhi over something and she leaves the kids
for a moment and goes. Ashu is out of the theatre and goes in search of Nidhi.
It has become almost a habit for him to get a "Best of Luck" before and "how
did it go" after the OT from Nidhi. His feet carry him straight to the
childrens ward. But there is no Nidhi there.
He saw puja over there...puja,the orphan kid whom ashu loved
a lot ever since the day she came here,the one whom he along with nidhi had
told the raja-titli kahaani..
Ashu - hi puja..
Puja - hello dr.ashutosh..
Ashu - ye aapki nidhi didi kahan hai??
Puja - pata nahi woh toh yahi thi ab tak..
Ashu - ohh tab to woh busy hogi...
Puja nodded. Ashu - so tell me puja whats up??kya chal raha hai?
Puja - kuch khass nahi...but dr.ashutosh nidhi didi jab se wapas aa gayi hai na tab se hum sab bahot khush rehete hai...wo hamare saath khelti hai...hume kahaani sunati hai..aur bilkul nahi daant ti hai...wo bahot acche hai..
Ashu - aacha??toh ek kam kiya jayee...mai bol deta hoon ek extra bed yahan dal denge ..aapki nidhi didi bhi aapke saath hi reh jayenge aaj se??what say?" ashu said laughing..
Puja - aisa thodi na ho sakta hai...wo to doctor hai...
Ashu - arre aapko pata nahi hai??woh toh doc yun hi ban gayi hai...par unka mental age na 10 saal hai abhi bhi...
And the whole children's ward who were busy listening to ashu burst out laughing...ashu too is laughing. Just then nidhi walked into the ward..but she did not notice Ashu.
Nidhi - kya baat hai sablog itna hass kyun rahe hai zara mai bhi toh sunu.
A kid sprang up from his bed and said, "nidhi didi nidhi didi aap toh yu hi doc ban gayi hai" and again there is a roll of laughter. Nidhi - kya? kisne kaha aisa ? Just then her eyes fell on Ashu. "ohh acha to aap hai.."
Ashu - yes doc its me..
Nidhi - aap kyun sar kha rahe hai in baccho ka??ab ye log meri baat thodi mannenge?
Ashu - arre nahi nahi mai to bas in logo ko sach bata raha tha. Ashu said laughing.
Nidhi rised her eyebrows at that. Puja who was laughing till now said, "nidhi didi aap ka mental age abhi bhi 10 saal hai" Nidhi – "accha to bhi aap hi ne bataya hoga" Ashu nodded. Nidhi - yeh sab log mere team mein hai...they are my army. So don't even try to get them against me. kyon bachchon? Everyone screamed "YES!" Ashu - aaccha to ab aap log nidhi didi ke side mein ho...very bad. Puja - hum aap ke team mein aa sakte hai par ek condition hai. Ashu - kaisa condition? Puja - aapko hume picnic par le jana padega...
Ashu - picnic...
The word picnic reminded ashu of last yrs picnic...where he went
on nidhi's request..that yellow t-shirt which she gifted him...which till date
is his most cherished possession...here was a chance to relive those moments..and
he couldn't let that go. Ashu - ok then we are going for a picnic next Sunday.
I will get the necessary permission from the management. Spot is the same as
last yr..done? "DONEEE" screamed all the kids. Ashu - so ab sab log mere team
mein? "YESSS" Ashu – "yeh hui na baat"
he said looking at nidhi who is smiling. She is seeing the effect of the word picnic on him and
her eyes said that
she was going through the same feeling. Puja - toh Dr Ashutosh kya nidhi didi nahi aa rahi hai hamare saath??woh toh hamare team mein nahi hai.
Ashu - yeh aapke nidhi didi jo hai woh shuru se hi mere team mein hai aur hamesha rahegi. woh zaroor aayegi. "YEEE" is the only sound that could be heard in the ward then as the kids hurdled round Ashu and nidhi.
Ashu - ok then ab mai chalta hoon i have patients waiting. Chalo bye kids see u...picnic mein khub enjoy karenge sab log milke..
Nidhi followed Ashu out of the ward. Nidhi – OT kaisa tha? Ashu – went well. Patient might take a long time to recover and start his physio but he is ok. you ok with the picnic plan?
Nidhi – of course. But Ashu observed that Nidhi has that look of suppressed excitement and she is literally closing her mouth tight in her attempt to not tell him whats on her mind. AShu – what happened? Oh hey, I forgot, how did your appt with Dr K go? Everything ok with my daughter?
Nidhi – yeah! Everything is absolutely fine. Nothing to worry.
Ashu – did you tell her about the baby movements? What did she say? Is it really normal to feel them so early?
Nidhi – she said it happens sometimes. Chalo I got to go now. today is my last day in children ward. Kal se ICU. Saying that she literally ran back into the ward as if she didn't trust herself to keep quite. He needs to have a word with Dr Kothari.
Nidhi came back to the ward and within 2 mins got an sms from ashu, "doc u were are and will always be ONLY in my team..so team change karne ki koshish bhi mat karna..warna...u know what"
Nidhi replied..."fir toh karna hi padega" Ashu laughed at her reply sms and went to meet Dr Kothari. She is just about to go on her rounds when Ashu calls out to her.
Ashu – Hello Doctor. Sorry I wasn't there for Nidhi's check up. Got held up in OT.
Dr K – that's ok Dr Ashutosh. nothing to worry about. I did another scan too. Everything is fine with Nidhi. Just make sure her BP is normal and her feet don't get unduly swollen. That's it.
Ashu thanks her and is about to leave when Dr K gives him a file and says "Dr AShutosh, I forgot to give this file to Dr Nidhi when she came to meet. This is her case file and both of you need to fill it up and sign it. There is no hurry. Just ask her to bring it in when she comes for the next check up. Ashu takes the file and shakes her hand and leaves. The rest of the day passes in a blur of patients and case sheets and in the evening both of them leave home with Ashu driving the new car. Nidhi gets a call from Mandira on the way.
Nidhi – Hi Mandira Di.. I was just about to call you and invite you all for dinner tomorrow night at our house.
Mandira – Hi Nidhi. Dinner might not be possible Nidhi. You see, we are leaving tomorrow night by 10.30 flight but I do have a favour to ask you. I plan to go for some shopping tomorrow and get myself some maternity wear and some traditional dresses and saris and I was wondering if you could accompany me..kal toh Sunday bhi hain na toh..
Nidhi – wow fantastic idea di..toh ek kaam karte hain na. you guys check out of the hotel soon after lunch and come down to our place. Wahi se shopping chalet hain and we'll come back, have dinner and AShutosh and me will drop you off at the airport. What say?
Mandira – I don't know Nidhi..khamakha aap logon ko pareshaani hogi na
Nidhi – didi..stop it. Now its decided. we'll meet you at your hotel around 3 and go straight to shopping from there. After that dinner at my place. Buss buss…I am not listening to anything you have to say now. bye bye bye
AShu understands what has been planned and resigns himself for hours of female shopping and mentally rolls his eyes. At least this time he will have Mahindra to keep him some company. Then he turns towards Nidhi to say something and finds that she is again having that secretive smile on her face and that bubble of excitement in her eyes. Kuch toh hain! Both reach home and by the time Ashu freshens up and comes down, he finds Anji there and Anji and Nidhi deep in conversation. He goes to the kitchen and makes AKC for all 3 and gets it.
Nidhi – arre I was just going to go into the kitchen. Thank you so much. Really badly need this one.
Anji – thank you jeejaji.
Ashu – So Anji, what happening? Howz married life?
Anji – boring jeejaji. Ranganath goes to the hospital in the morning and comes only in the evening and I am alone at home. Its just so boring.
Nidhi – why don't you get yourself a job yaar? Ab toh tere exams bhi khatm hogaye hain na
Anji – yeah..but papa says why do you need to work under someone else and if you need money, all you need to do is ask me.
Ashu – what does Ranganath say? Whats his opinion?
Anji – he wanted me to work since the beginning.
Ashu – and you? what do YOU want saali sahiba?
Anji – I want to occupy myself and work of course. But papa..
Ashu – then work na. and find a way to tell that to your papa. and now you are married to Ranganath. His home is your home. Staying at your parents' place to relieve your boredom is not a solution for anything na. and think of how Ranganath would find the whole thing.
Anji – you are right jeejaji. I have to deal with papa myself without involving my husband.
Their conversation gets interrupted by the entrance of Armaan.
Armaan – arre waah, everyone is already home. Aur yeh kya, mere bina chai bhi peeli?
Nidhi – sirf chai nahi Armaanji, aap ke dost ke haathon bana hua adrak wali chai.
Armaan – yaar Ashu this marriage and impending fatherhood has made you all gharelu type ha. (Everyone laugh at that.) and Anji, how are you?
Anji – I am fine Armaanji. Just came to say hi to Nidhi.
Armaan – and are you working now?
Anji – no…why?
Armaan – I am actually looking for someone with your qualifications for my fashion house that I have recently opened in Lucknow. We need a designer badly and I saw Nidhi's wedding dress that you had designed. It was great. A real master piece. Wanted to talk to you since then but something or the other kept coming up and I kept postponing. So what do you say?
Anji was speechless at the sudden job offer and everyone were looking at her with expectation.
Armaan – you need not give me the answer immediately. Think about it and talk it over to your hubby and here is my card. If you are ok, give me a call and we'll meet up and discuss the details.
Saying that he passes on his business card to Anji. Anji thanks Armaan and promises to get back to him soon and turns towards AshNi to say bye. Ashu ruffles her hair affectionately and says "looks like your problem is going to be solved. Aur jaane ki itni bhi kya jaldi hai? Stay for dinner na. we'll call Ranganath also here."
Anji – no jeejai. Not today. Me and Ranganath have planned to go to a disco this evening. So am off now. bye. Saying that Anji leaves. Nidhi excuses herself and goes up to their bedroom and Armaan and Ashu sit and chat for some time. Both of them express their pleasure at Baba's interest in JS and its patients. These days he spends more than half a day over there. Armaan is meeting up with some of his staff again so he leaves after a few minutes and Ashu goes into their room in search of Nidhi but doesn't find her there. He searches and finally finds her out in the balcony staring into space.
Ashu – "hey what are you doing out here?"
Nidhi – nothing..buss thinking..
Ashu – okkk…thinking about what?
Nidhi – Ashutosh, Anji is going to a disco. Even I want to go. Mujhe bhi jaana hain.
Ashu – disco? You have got to be kidding..abhi disco kaise jasakthi ho Nidhi? You are pregnant. And I tell you, you should forget about all that stuff now. you are a wife and a would be mom and after a few months, you will be a mom. So just say bye bye to all your disco days doc.
Nidhi – but I love to dance. Kitna mazaa aata hain pata hain aap ko? I want to do that. And that rappo music…wow..you know my feet start moving by themselves. And there will be so many people to make friends and talk to also. It will be fun. Chaliye na chalte hain..nothing will happen.
Ashu – don't be ridiculous Nidhi. You yourself are a doctor. Think for a minute. Would YOU advice someone in the similar stage into going to a disco? Nahin na. ab chalo zidd chodo and lets have a shower..together…save some water, you know
Nidhi – nahin. Mujhe shower nahin karna hain. Anji is also newly married. She is going and Dr Ranganath is taking her na. so why are you refusing? I am also newly married. And you should fulfil all my wishes esp now that I am pregnant.
Ashu – Nidhi, yes, I have to fulfil your wishes but not if they are going to cause you harm. Ab buss bhi karo na
Nidhi – why? Why should I stop? Shaadi ke baad a man's life doesn't change at all. It goes on as before. But hume toh har tareeke se badalna padta hain. We need to change and adapt and adjust in everyway. Why? I want to go..i want to go..
Ashu – Nidhi bachchon jaisi baaten mat karo
Nidhi - mein bachchi nahin hun
Ashu – tum bachchi hi ho aur bachchi hi rahogi..in fact bachchon se zyaada unreasonable ho. Ek baar dimaag mein kuch ghus gaya toh buss ghus gaya. Arre I am trying to tell you something and reason with you aur tum ho ki..
Nidhi – if I am being that unreasonable, why are you still here? Jaayiye na. go and do some very reasonable thing of yours..like reading a book.
Ashu – yeah, I am going. Its better to make myself useful instead of wasting my time having this stupid argument.
Nidhi – yeah, I am an unreasonable kid and my arguments are stupid. Go
Ashu – good that you have finally accepted that truth.
Saying that AShu storms off into the study and Nidhi into the kitchen. Ashu bangs the study door close and throws himself into the chair and fumes. "what gets into Nidhi all of a sudden? I can understand hormonal changes but yeh toh kuch zyaada hi hogaya. Honestly, disco? She wants to go to a DISCO? NOW? jeez.." he becomes restless and starts pacing around in the room. His gaze falls on the framed photograph on his desk. Its of Nidhi taken during their honeymoon. She was sitting on one of the tree branches and laughing and waving at the camera. He remembered that day. She wanted to climb another tree and he refused again and she begged, pleaded and bargained and finally got her wish. She had given him her dupatta to hold and off she went onto the tree like a monkey. Just thinking about it brought a smile to his face. And his thoughts lead him in another direction. "how must she be feeling? 5 months and her whole life has changed. From a carefree bubbly single intern to a responsible house wife, intern and would be mom. She underwent so many things in these 5 months which some people manage to avoid for years. Yet she never regrets anything. Whatever curve life throws at her, she takes it and adjusts her pace accordingly. How does she do that? Is it something all the girls of this generation possess? Or is it her own unique quality? May be I shouldn't have lost my temper so fast. She is not usually so unreasonable. Aur woh yeh sab mere saath share nahin karegi toh aur kisse karegi?"
In the kitchen, Nidhi is going through something similar. "oh I am so stupid sometimes. Why did I keep cribbing? Ashutosh was right in saying that I am like a spoilt kid. Here I am jubilant over getting not one but two kids in one shot and instead of thinking of ways and means to give that news to him, all I can think of is a stupid disco. Pata nahin kya hojaata hain mujhe bhi." She finally gives up on the cooking, and goes into the study, gives a slight knock and peeks inside as if judging the temperature. She finds Ashu sitting in his chair with his head back against the chair and eyes closed. She slowly walks inside and sits down near his feet and puts her head in his lap and wraps her arms around his calf. Both are quiet for a few seconds and then Nidhi rises her head from his lap, holds her ears and says "I am sorry. I know I was behaving like a brat. Maaf kardeejiye please!" Ashu takes her hands into his, places a kiss on each of her palm and says, "I am sorry too. I shouldn't have shouted at you like that. I know so many changes in such a less time can be overwhelming for anyone. Now come on, get up from the floor. You shouldn't be sitting down like that." Saying that, he pulls her up into his lap and hugs her. Nidhi gives him a mischievous look and says – "kyon? Aap ke patni ko toh aapke charno ke paas hona chahiye na?" Ashu – "shut up yaar. I accept that I am a bit old fashioned in some ways but not that old fashioned. In fact, I didn't like it when you touched my feet the other day during the Teej either. Woh toh tum ne zidd kiya toh maine maan liya. You are my wife Nidhi. We are partners. Equals. I am elder to you doesn't mean you have to take my blessings. I don't know…somehow I am not comfortable doing that." Nidhi laughs outright at that and gives a smacking kiss on his lips, giggles some more and with a blissful sigh relaxes against him. Ashu – so what do we do now? dinner is ready? Nidhi has a sheepish look on her face. – "actually no. I was so upset about upsetting you, I burnt the dinner. Sabzi poora jal gaya hain. And am too tired to cook it again and HK will only return from his village on Monday." Ashu laughed – "you burnt the sabzi? What were you doing in the kitchen? Doing disco dance with the veggies? Ok so what do we do now? go out for dinner or you feel like eating a pizza?" nidhi makes a face at that. "I would love a pizza but aap ke bachchon ko junk food bilkul pasand nahin. Dono ke dono apne baba par gaye hain. Roti daal samne rakho aur khush!" Ashu throws back his head and laughs "see, she managed to make you do something which even I couldn't do..make you eat daal rot….now wait a minute..dono? what do you mean "dono"?" nidhi mentally slaps herself..this was so not the way she wanted to share the news with him. Oh God! She and her big mouth! Nidhi – "what dono?" Ashu – Nidhi, you just said dono ke dono..what dono? Nidhi – "oohh..woh na..woh actually na.." she finally gives up and takes his hand and puts it on her belly and says, "dono" Ashu's confused gaze follows his hand on her belly and back to her face and back to his hand. "you mean do wale dono? Dono as in two? As in.." Nidhi – "dono as in twins Dr Ashutosh!" as if in response to that statement, AShu's hand feels the kick of the baby inside..once..twice. as if both of them are saying hi to their dad. Ashu is still dumbstruck. He just keeps looking at his hand resting on her belly. His eyes are downcast making it impossible for Nidhi to read his expression. She cups his face in her hands and looks at him. His eyes are still a bit glazed. "Ashutosh? you are not happy?" Ashu tries to speak but the emotions rolling inside him close off his throat completely and stringing a sentence is beyond him at that point. he just wraps her up tight in his arms and hides his face in her neck. Feelings have a choking hold on him and they find their outlet through his eyes. Nidhi feels the wetness on her neck and shoulder and tries to pull his face away but he refuses to relinquish his hold on her and the shudder that wracks his body tells her all that she needs. Her fingers rub the hair at his nape and she pulls his face onto her chest and with her other hand wipes the tears that have made a path on his cheek. And both of them stay like that. Nidhi on AShu's lap with her back on the arm rest and AShu with his arms around her, his head on her chest and his eyes closed. Finally, Ashu rises his head and looks at his wife…his wife who is his everything. His very reason for living. Who gave him so much without him ever uttering a single word. Who accepted him as he is and never once asked him to change in any manner. For a kid who once had to fight with a dog for a bite of food, this kind of unconditional acceptance and a banquet of love, is sometimes hard to even comprehend. And now this! He was happy that he is finally going to have a family of his own but twins!! Trust Nidhi to make up for HIS lost time. He cleared his throat a couple of times, swallowed and took a deep breath and managed to get the words out. "thank you Nidhi" and got a beautiful smile in return. "no Ashutosh..thank YOU"..at that he gives her a tender kiss on the forehead. And in response feels another couple of kicks from his kids. Nidhi rolls her eyes and says, "baahar aaye bhi nahin they are competing for your attention." AShu gives a soft laugh and hugs her again. Looks like his verbal communication has gone from little to nil that evening. He clears his throat and says "Nidhi, did you tell the family?"
Nidhi – "no. I wanted to tell you first. And guess what? Both you and DB are going to get your wishes."
AShu – matlab..a girl and a boy..Nidhi, its still not sinking. Twins??!!
Nidhi – haan..twins..10 mein se 2 one shot mein aajayenge..baaki bache 8!
Ashu throws his head back and laughs until he has tears in his eyes. "you and your 10 kids! Nidhi you are a priceless!
Nidhi – woh toh main hoon aur itna hi nahin I am an item piece too
Ashu couldn't contro his laugh at that. "Item piece? God Nidhi where do you even get these words? Mujhe tumhari dictionary chahiye. Dena please
Nidhi – dictionary se kya hogaji? Mein aap ko private tution dedoongi na…ekdum private..
Ashu's eyes are glazed with desire – ekdum private..doc, I am all for private tutions..i think you should start your class today.
Nidhi – today? You think so?
Ashu – yeah. In fact right now would be the best time for a private tution.
His fingers already begin their own private journey on her taking her dress off along with them. a part of him felt guilty for asking her for it when is she just back after a full day's work and tired and hungry. But its as if he is addicted to her and can't stop himself anymore. Nidhi feels his breath mingling with hers and both their heartbeats pick up the speed in anticipation of the act that takes them and makes them a part of each other leaving the rest of the world behind. She gets up from his lap and pulls him onto the divan in the study where the world that they created for just themselves awaited and beckoned them.
Both of them are too tired after that and drift off to sleep but Ashu wakes up after a while to find himself wrapped in her arms, his arm thrown over her and his head resting on her chest. He closes his eyes and drinks in the feeling once again and slowly extracts himself without waking her up. He goes into their bedroom and fetches a blanket and tucks it around her. she mumbles a bit and scoots and digs herself deeper into the pillow and her arm reaches out as if searching for his presence. Ashu observes this and kisses her palm and tucks it under the blanket and closes the study door so as to not disturb her. poor thing! She really needs her rest. She is putting in so much work, hell bent on completing her internship before the delivery and now this! Twins! Jeez! His head is still reeling at that news. Now what to do about dinner? Well, his kids seem to take after him so rice and daal for tonight. He checks to make sure Nidhi's fav achaar is still there and starts the cooking. He is not an expert but daal being his fav, he learnt how to cook that from HK some time back. Rice is getting cooked in the rice cooker and daal is almost done finally. He tastes a bit from the spoon just to make sure everything is fine and pats himself at the perfect taste. Then as if unable to stop himself, he picks up the phone and calls Armaan.
Armaan – Ashu? Hey I am in a meeting. Is it urgent ya baad mein phone karoon?
AShu – depends on what you define as urgent. If you are asking can this news wait? Then the answer is no
Armaan – hang on a sec let me go out of the room…ok now tell whats so urgent. I just left the house an hour ago. Aisa kya hogaya iss ek ghante mein?
Ashu – pehle yeh bol do you want a niece or a nephew?
Armaan – nephew of course yaar. I will turn him into a fashion designer like me. But if it's a niece, then I think I will make sure she becomes a model. She will catwalk on all my shows and exhibit all our creations..dikchika dikchika dik..thadha..!! kya khayal hain?
Ashu rolls his eyes at that. Honestly…kids of 2 doctors..ek bana fashion designer aur ek model..out aloud he says to Armaan "aur agar dono hue toh?
Armaan – toh dono banadoonga usme kya hain? Arre yaar pehle wale ko toh aane do na..already doosra plan kar raheho? Kya yaar Ashu
Ashu – nahin mera matlab what will you do if we have both a boy and a girl at once?
Armaan – yaar you called me out of a meeting to ask these stupid questions? Ek saath kaise honge? Unless they are…wait a minute…wait a minute…you are saying you are going to have both? At once? As in twins?
Ashu – yes both at once as in twins. Nidhi got her scan done today and she just gave me the news. One boy and one girl.
Armaan's shout following that announcement almost deafens Ashu's ear. He hastily pulls the phone away and waits until his friend gets his excitement is a bit under control. Armaan promises to come first thing in the morning as he has to stay over for the night for some last minute preps for his fashion show and both say bye. Ashu puts the phone down and turns and finds BB standing there with another stunned look of delight on his face. That seems to be the general expression of everyone today. BB and Ashu hug each other tightly and BB snatches the phone from Ashu and calls CV to give the news. By the end of the call CV, DB and BB are almost talking over each other and BB is literally doing a small jig. Ashu wouldn't be surprised if Nidhi wakes up due to all this ruckus over the news. Ashu then speaks to DB and assured her again that everything is normal and not to worry. He also tells her the next day's shopping and dinner plan with Mandira and Mahindra. After the conversation, AShu tells BB to have his dinner and that he has cooked today. BB is very happy and praises his son's culinary skills but he is mostly busy planning on what to do and how to play with his pota and poti and how the house would look with 2 kids running around. He can't wait to share this news with his JS friends. In the short period that Nidhi worked there, she became close to everyone and they still remember her with genuine fondness. BB finishes his dinner absentmindedly and wishes goodnight to Ashu and goes to his room. Ashu sets the plate for Nidhi and plans to take it to the study and feed her. let her rest as much as she can. He is still at the dining table and about to go up when BB comes out and is on his way up the staircase.
Ashu – Baba, you need anything?
BB – nahin Ashu its ok. I left my book in the study and am just going to get it.
Ashu nods his head at that while serving the daal on to the plate but suddenly it strikes him that BB is going into the STUDY ROOM. Nidhi! Oh God! He almost drops the daal bowl in haste and rushes up the stairs calling out to Baba.
Ashu – Baba..baba..wait…aap kyon takleef kar rahe hain? Mein hoon na. I will get the book for you.
BB looks at him strangely and says "its ok beta. Ab yahaan tak aagaya hoon na I will get it myself."and he makes a move to open the door.
Ashu literally stands between the door and BB and holds it closed. "Baba..woh…NIdhi is sleeping here..i will get the book for you. you stay here.
BB – oh. Good. She should rest as much as she can. And don't worry Ashu, I will be quiet. I will just take the book and come back. I won't make any noise.
Ashu – Baba..please..woh…Nidhi…I mean…I will get it for you. you wait here na.
BB's light bulb finally is on and he stumbles in his haste to back away and tells Ashu not to bother. He is sleepy anyways and goes down as fast as he can. Ashu closes his eyes. God that was awkward and embarrassing! Jeez!! He goes down again and gets the dinner plate for Nidhi and comes inside the room again. He makes sure the door is closed, sets the plate on a near by table and sits beside her.
Ashu – Nidhi, jaan..you need wake up and eat something. (his fingers are combing her hair affectionately) and Nidhi stirs and stretches herself, and once again burrows into the blanket. Ashu wakes her up again and tells her that he has cooked the dinner himself and its time his kids had a taste of his cooking. Nidhi smiles at that with her eyes closed and scoots closer to Ashu and puts her head in his lap and cuddles up to him. Both stay like that for some time.
Nidhi – itna achcha takya mila hain abhi abhi…abhi utna padega kya?
Ashu – yeh takya toh aap ke paas hi rahega Dr Nidhi but for now come on please eat something.
Nidhi gets up and rubs her eyes and suddenly notices that the blanket has slipped off and she has nothing on. She hastily grabs the blanket and wraps around herself and her cheeks turn pink with her blush.
Ashu – you can still blush? After your private tutions, I am the one who has to blush. Ok ok. now go and freshen up and change into something comfortable and I will feed your dinner.
And the dinner becomes a joint affair as Nidhi and Ashu take turns in feeding each other and Nidhi literally smacks her lips at the taste of the achaar and daal. They finish their dinner and Ashu wraps up everything in the kitchen after expressly forbidding Nidhi to help him in any way and comes up to find Nidhi still in the study. She is writing down some notes from a book. Ashu – "Nidhi, you don't want to sleep?" Nidhi – "Ashutosh, I slept till now na. I am not feeling sleepy. Thought I would complete my work on the seminars we attended in Kerala." Ashu – "ok. I think it's a good idea. Do you need any help with anything?" Nidhi – "haan. Mujhe na yeh topic samajh mein nahin aaraha hain. I mean I am writing down the points but…" Ashu pulls up another chair and sits. "which one? show me." Nidhi shows him the topic which is cardiac related. Ashu reads everything that Nidhi wrote and says "your attention to detail is good Nidhi. You didn't miss jotting down the crucial aspects. Ok. I will explain. Give me a paper and pen. All these things are better understood if the pictures are shown. That's why we have so many records during our course. A picture worth a thousand words and a good way to remember anatomy." Nidhi – "Oh please don't talk about anatomy. That's my weak link." Ashu – "but it is my strong link. So not to worry. I'll make it easier for you. I have some very nice books of mine. I will take them out tomorrow. We will have a study hour every night. Tumhari entrance prep bhi hojayegi isi bahaane." Nidhi nods her head at that and Ashu starts explaining the cardiac topic. At one pt he gets his tab and shows her the surgery that's posted on the net. During his internship and later his PG, he worked under many surgeons and once in an emergency even assisted a plastic surgeon on a burns case patient. One topic leads to another and by the time Ashu finishes his class, its almost 2 in the morning. Both raid the kitchen and make AKC and some sandwiches to go with it and Nidhi while eating continues to pester Ashu with her questions on anatomy, to which Ashu patiently keeps answering. BB comes out to get a glass of water for himself and finds these 2 deep in conversation. "arre aap dono mia-biwi ab tak soye nahin?" to which Nidhi laughs and replies, "Baba, hum abhi toh mia-biwi ke role mein nahin hain. Come, we will introduce ourselves. He is Dr Ashutosh, my senior and teacher and I am Dr Nidhi, his intern and student." She giggles at the end of it and BB also laughs and tells them to go to bed and that its quite late in the night. Nidhi – "chaliye Guruji!" Ashu – "Guru dakshina kahan hain shishya?" and both laugh out loud and hug.
The next morning AShNi are woken by the excited call and knock of DB. She is literally banging on their bedroom door and screeching at them to come out and that she can't wait to hug them both. Both rush through and freshen up and go out. CV comes towards Nidhi and hugs her and blesses her. Ashu makes a beeline for DB. "DB, I told you na, ladki hogi?" DB – Ashutosh, I told you na, laska hoga?" and both of them laugh and give highfive to each other and Ashu pulls DB into a waltz position and starts dancing with her, with her screeming so more to leave her and do his dancing with his wife. Nidhi and CV are looking on with bemused expressions on their faces. CV – "Nidhi, is this our DB?" Nidhi – "wahi mein bhi dekh rahi hu Baba. Every time I see, I get surprised by the raport she shares with Ashutosh. anyone seeing both of them for the first time would thing they are mother and son." CV nods and smiles at the sight of DB feeding Ashu gajar halwa. DB – "arre khalo Ashutosh, meine khud apne haathon se banaya hain. I wanted to come last night as soon as Yog gave me the news. But he stopped me and refused to bring me here until morning. Both of us are on our way to Bajranbali mandir toh we stopped here first." And after some more pampering to Nidhi and repeated instructions to take care and take it easy and call her everyday, DB and CV leave for the temple. That is the first step of a very busy day. Next Armaan arrives during bfast with almost half the sweet shop along with him and soon after Anji arrives literally dancing (Nidhi sent her and Rohan an sms that morning) and soon is followed by Rohan. After everyone's round of exclamations, hugs and cries of delight, chaos subsides a little and bfast is resumed. Nidhi observes that Rohan wants to talk to her about something and asks him what it is that is keeping him on the edge of the seat, literally. Rohan – "Nidhiji, woh actually na, I need your help." Nidhi – "haan Rohan bolo." Rohan – "woh baat yeh hain ki I asked Aanchal out this evening for dinner and she agreed and…" that's all it took for the room to erupt again. Now noone is interested in knowing what kind of help is it that Rohan actually needs. They start on their suggestions and advice on what to do, what to say, where to go and when to go. Each advice is more bizarre than the one preceeding it and AShu and Rohan are the only ones who are silent through out. Ashu with a given up expression and Rohan with a completely lost expression. Funny thing is, even BB is giving tips to Rohan on what kind of shayari he should say. Ashu finally decides to take the matter into his own hands and gives out a loud whistle to silence the chorus of voices. Once everyone is quiet, he tells Rohan to relax first and finish his bfast. Meanwhile, he gets ready and soon after bfast, he takes Rohan and goes out leaving a disappointed Armaan, Anji, Nidhi and BB behind. Then Anji and Armaan leave to discuss her job options and her role. Both AShu and Rohan sit in the car and Rohan finally gives a sigh of relief. Ashu smiles seeing that, hesitates a bit but plunges ahead. "Rohan, why are you so nervous? I mean, I was also nervous when I went out with Nidhi for the first time but I thought you are not like that. You are so communicative and confident and are comfortable with females too. So…??" Rohan – "actually Dr Ashutosh, I have lots of friends and I have no problem talking with them or going out and hanging out with them. but this is different, you know. I mean.." Ashu – "yeah, I know what you mean. I know you wanted Nidhi to help you out, but may be I can help you instead..what is it that you need?" Rohan – "I don't know Dr Ashutosh, I asked her on an impulse, you know. Today being Sunday and all..i thought we can get to know each other some more. but now what do I do? Where do I take her? I mean I don't know what she likes or what she doesn't like.." Ashu – "you know where me and Nidhi went for the first time, Rohan? Hum log ek chai ke dukaan par gaye the and we had a glass of tea. That's it. That was my first date, if you can even call it that. So where you go doesn't matter, because she has agreed to come with you and trusts you to take care of her for this evening. Now all you have to do is make the evening spl for her and enjoy yourself in the process. I am actually very bad at this kind of a thing but your friend taught me a lot of things about romance and communication. So I will suggest something and if its ok with you, you go ahead according to that. Ok?" Rohan nods his head. AShu – "ok. so first, do you have something to wear other than these jeans and t shirts?" Rohan – "I have these and a couple of thoda formal trousers and some kurtas." Ashu – "then we need to go buy you a nice formal outfit. Surprise her. I am not asking you to wear a full suit and tie but thoda formal. So lets start with that? What do you say?" Rohan gladly agrees. Finally he is going somewhere with this date thing. Ashu and Rohan do the shopping and Ashu selects a nice formal shirt and trousers and a jacket to go along and in between they discuss and decide on where to go for dinner and Ashu makes the reservations for Rohan and Aanchal. Then each head back to their respective homes and AShu reminds him to take some flowers while going to pick her up. Rohan on an impulse hugs Ashu and thanks him. On the way back home, Ashu feels glad that although he lost his friend Mallika forever, fate is giving him ways and means to fill that emptiness. He wished Mallika was like Rohan. Age has got nothing to do with maturity and plain goodness of heart. Age has got nothing to do with falling in love either. Now he has begun to realize age has got nothing to do with forming genuine friendships.
The rest of the day is a blur of Ashu. Soon after lunch and a bit of relaxation, both leave to meet Mandira and Mahindra and since they were checking out of their hotel and will be going to the airport straight from Ashu's house after dinner, AshNI take the Innova for the boot space and convenience. All 4 of them soon after the hellos and the women's excited squeels at the news of twins, embark on the shopping trip. But after the first 2 shops, both the men call it quits and take themselves off to a nearby coffee shop and tell the women to meet them there once they are done. Ashu and Mahindra are close age wise so after the initial fumbling, find quite a lot of common topics and time passes away. About a couple of hours later, Nidhi sends an sms to Ashu asking him to pick them up from the mall nearby and both men thank God and leave. AShu sees the number of shopping bags and asks them if they have bought dresses or the whole shop, which earns a glare from both the women. After loading everything in, including the women, they make their way home with Nidhi and Mandira sitting behind and Ashu driving with Mahindra on the front seat beside him. AShu switches on the radio but then wonders why he even bothered as he can hardly hear himself think with those 2 non stop chattering women behind. He slides a look at Mahindra to find him laughing behind his hand. "for all these days I thought Mandira is not a talkative person..guess I was wrong, huh!!" Ashu also laughs at that. All 4 reach home. BB was staying with CV and DB that night. He had said he wanted to catch up with his son in law so its just the 4 of them for dinner. Nidhi drops the shopping bags on the bed and freshens up and changes her dress and goes into the kitchen to get the dinner ready. Ashu comes in and asks if she needs help as HK is also not there but she tells him to go and entertain the guests. Before he could say ok to that Mandira comes into the kitchen and declares that she is going to cook something too and no arguments and that's that. So Ashu leaves both the women in the kitchen and comes into the hall and he and Mahindra continue the conversation that they left off before. Mahindra makes frequent trips to London and both of them debate on the respective favourite site seeing spots and the best colleges there and how times have changed from before. Nidhi peeps from the kitchen and says "jeejaji, maine suna hain aap bahut achcha gaate hain. Hamere liye kuch suna deejiyena please!" ashu gets a bit startled as soon as he hears "jeejaji"…he really had got used to Anji calling him that and every time it brings a smile on his face. Mahindra initially refuses says its not true and he doesn't sing that well and all but Ashu also joins in and asks him to sing. Mahindra – "ok. on one condition. Each one of you also should sing after that." Nidhi – "mujhe toh gaana gaana aata hi nahin aata. Ha, Ashutosh can play violin so his singing voice must be ok too." Mahindra – "aisa nahin chalega Nidhi. You have to sing atleast a couple of lines. Or I won't sing either." That agreed upon, the venue shifts to the dining area. Both men sit at the dining chairs while women continue with their cooking and Mahindra starts his song. Mahindra – "toh bataiye what would you like to listen?" Nidhi – "kuch bhi! Its drizzling outside na. kuch usi par sunadeejiye." He thinks for a while and starts. Mahindra really does have a divine voice which enthrals the audience.
Rhim jhim gire saawan sulag sulag jaaye mann
Bheege aaj iss mausam mein lagi kaisi yeh aggan…
He completes the full song to a captive audience and all 3 clap and Mandira comes and hugs her hubby, turns towards Ashu and says "ab aap" Ashu's voice is not a singer's voice but has a unique melody of its own when he sings:
Yeh raat bheegi bheegi yeh mast fizayen
Utha dheere dheere voh chaand pyaara
Kyon aag si lagaake gumsum hain chandini
Sone bhi nahi deta mausam ka yeh ishaara
Then he gestures Mandira and asks her to take over. After another round of clapping, Mandira starts her:
Rhim jhim rhim jhim rum jhum rum jhum
Bheegi bheegi rut mein tum hum hum tum
Chalte hain…chalte hain
Nidhi gets everything on the table in the mean time and starts serving. Ashu stops her "ab tumhari baari.." Nidhi – "meri baari? For what?" Ashu looks at her in a mock threatening way and Mandira scowls. Nidhi laughs at her expression and starts her song:
Lagi aaj saawan ki phir woh jhadi hain
Wahi aag seene mein phir chal padi hain
Everyone smiles at the end, clap and start their dinner. Mandira and Mahindra get ready to leave soon after that and Nidhi packs some snacks for the midnight flight in case Mandira gets hungry. AshNi go to the airport to drop them and Nidhi and Mandira bid a tearful farewell with promises to email, call and keep in touch. On the way back nidhi pushes her seat into a recline and relaxes and smiles a little thinking of the day spent. Another sweet memory added to the long list. She turns towards Ashu intending to say the samething and observes that he is lost in thoughts and his smile is nowhere in sight. Nidhi – "Ashutosh..everything ok? what are you thinking?" Ashu is silent for some time and Nidhi lets him be. Then finally out of blue he pops a question. "nidhi, why did you fall in love with me?" Nidhi – "what? What kind of a question is that? And why now all of a sudden? Kuch hua kya?" AShu doesn't answer. Nidhi – "Ashutosh, I am here with you, will always be at your side no matter what and you can share anything that you want and tell anything that you want." Ashu gathers his thoughts some more and finally replies "Nidhi, yesterday Dr Kothari gave me your case fill form to fill out and sign. I brought it home and forgot about it. But I saw it when I was getting changed and glanced through it. It's the general patient info file. Now since you are going to deliver, they need our family history. Both yours and mine. Where do I get mine from Nidhi? I don't even know who my parents are! Everything is so hazy and a blur. And all I remember before Baba took me in is the hunger for food. That's the only thing I remember. Its like a part of me is lost to me and no matter how hard I search, I can't seem to find it. I want to know who I am, where I come from, what kind of a legacy I am passing on to my kids. are they better without.." nidhi reaches out and stops his flow of words. "chup hojayiye please. Don't ever say that. Our kids are two of the luckiest ones to have a father like you. all they need is you and your love. Your past and your legacy doesn't matter to me and it won't matter to my kids either. They would be proud to call you their Baba. Don't ever doubt that. No matter where you have come from, our kids will come into this world surrounded by our love and that of our family. What more would they want? What more could anyone want? Aur mere bachchon ke baba ke baare mein kabhi bhi aisi baat mat keejiye. Understand?" Ashu smiles a little and nods his head. Every time something threatened to drown him in despair, his Nidhi manages to pull him up. He entwines his fingers along with hers and puts her hand on the gear shift and continues driving, this time with a smile in his heart as well as on his lips. Suddenly Nidhi says "stop stop stop" and he stops the car. "kya hua?" Nidhi – woh dekhiye..hamari chai ki dukaan. And its open too. Chaliye na. we didn't come here after getting married." Ashu parks his car and both of them get down and go to the chai dukaan. The owner welcomes them with a warm smile and on seeing Nidhi, congratulates them and before they could utter a word, "pata hain saabji. 2 chai adrak wali. Baitiye. Laata hoon." He sets about getting the tea ready and AshNi sit down. Nidhi – "and what did you ask? Why did you fall in love with you? woh toh mujhe pata nahin. But you know something, Anji was the first one to tell me that I was in love with you. I denied it immediately but she could see the truth behind my denial. And she was against it initially. Later on, I guess she couldn't resist your charm either.." and she laughs. Ashu smiles and says, "you remember your first love letter to me?" Nidhi – "I wrote you a love letter? When?" Ashu – "when I hurt my leg and was bedridden. You used to come everyday morning to visit me and one day I was in a bad mood and refused to meet anyone. You sent a rose and a letter through HK. I still have that letter and you don't even remember writing it." Nidhi giggles "woh love letter thodi nah ain.." AShu – "that was a love letter for me." Both look at each other with a shared rememberence of that day. Chai arrives and they drink, thank the guy again, pay him and leave.
Rohan's date goes better than he anticipated. He mentally thanks Ashu for getting him the formal wear. Aanchal's smile and her eyes show her delight in seeing this Rohan. She is also wearing a sari with minimum jewellery. Elegantly simple. He gives her flowers, a bunch of pink and white roses, as soon as he arrives to pick her up and her fingers tremble a little when she takes them. both leave for the restaurant and arrive on time. After the initial hesitation of what to say and where to look, they get a little comfortable when the waiter arrives with the menu cards. That prompts Rohan in asking her about her tastes in food and sharing his favourites. Both of them find a lot of common likes in food but varied tastes in desserts and drinks. Time flies by as they start chatting about anything and everything, their childhood and teenage years, their favourite movies and actors..what not! By the time they finish their dinner and drive towards Aanchal's apt, its past 11 but both are reluctant for the night to end. He gets down and opens the door for her and both say goodnight, wave, say goodnight again and wave again. Rohan leans against the car and watches her walking in. half way through she turns back, shly blows him a kiss and runs inside. Rohan's smile lights up the street and his heart dances well into the night.
The next day is Monday and Ashu is as usual up and busy getting ready to go to the hospital on time. Nidhi is also getting ready but she is a bit dull and quiet. She was fine..in fact great last night. What happened today? He pulls her hand and stops her when she is about to leave the room. "Nidhi, what happened? Aaj itni khoyi si kyon? Kuch hua kya?" Nidhi – "nahin. Par woh…darasal baat yeh hain ki aaj meri maa ki barsi hain." Ashu hugs her tightly. "why didn't you tell me? Is that why Baba went to your place last night? Hey, you should have told me. Now, take an off today and I will drop you off at your baba's place. Go and spend some time with him. I am sure he will feel better with you beside him." Nidhi – "I know. I want to go too. But my ICU shift starts from today." Ashu – "that's ok. I will tell Ranganath to manage until after lunch at least. Today your priority is baba and the memories of your mom. Everything comes after that." Nidhi - nidhi tum aise ma-us mat raho ..mere liye nahi bol raha hoon...zara socho agar ma hoti to tumhe aise ma-us dekhkar kitna dukh hoti unhe...infact wo to abhi bhi tumhe dekh rahi hai ...ansunon se nahi nidhi remember her with a smile...just think how happy she must be when she sees u so happy in ur life...settling down ur career and now our kids...hai na.." Nidhi nods her head and smiles a little and hugs her husband.
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