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Joined: 31 March 2012
Ashutosh was fully shattered on hearing this...how could he stay away from his Nidhi? And for how long? In his heart, he knew fully that all Nidhi wanted at this point of time was him...his love...his touch...a solid reassurance that he was only hers. But how was he going to convey that to her if she was going to react like this to his presence? He felt his eyes brim over with the unshed tears, he had never felt so helpless in his life...not even after his accident, when Nidhi watched him from the window of the ICU and waved a goodbye...and later broke up in Kerala...
That triggered something in him...if he could not go near her, atleast he could watch her from far? Opening the door, he bumped into Dr Ranganath, who was carrying some consent forms for his signature. He signed and mentally registered that Nidhi was being taken for a CAT scan right now, and so he should not be seen in the corridor. Dr Ranganath assured him that he would be the first to know about the CAT scan results and further asked him whether something could be ordered for him? Some coffee? Ashutosh shook his head and as an afterthought, asked to speak to Anjie.
DB came in, followed by Anjie, holding some flowers and a small bowl of fruits..."beta, maine Bajrang Bali Ji se mannat mangi thi...meri bacchii ki raksha karne ke liye...usika prashaad lo...and handed over the bowl to Ashutosh. "Aur beta, uparwale par vishwas rakho..sab theek ho jaayega...suna hai Nidhi ab khatare se baahar hai?" Anjie quipped in, "ha jeejaji, ab itna tension mat lijiye...Nidhi ab kafi theek hai...Dr Bharati bata rahi thi.." "Kya aap login ne Nidhi se baat ki? Actually mujhe uske paas jaana mana hai, woh to meri aahat paate hi agitate ho jaati hai, kya mujhe uski khabar dogi..."Ashutosh pleaded: "please Anji, can you do this for me?"
His phone rang; it was the resident doctor attending to Nidhi. "Dr Ashutosh, Nidhi's CAT scan is normal, except for the head injury, and there is no skull fracture, thank God!!! Anjie and DB were relieved to see a small smile of relief cross Ashutosh's face. He quickly brought both of them up to date with Nidhi's medical progress that Nidhi was safe and unhurt after the accident, and that wound on her head would heal soon. That brought him to another question: what about the wound on her psyche? How would he apply a soothing balm to that?
He snapped to reality with Anjie's query: "Jeejaji, so I will go and see Nidhi, talk to her and update you about her, by the way, kuchh special kehna hai kya?" Ashutosh smiled sadly, if and only if... otherwise why would he need an emissary to convey his love to Nidhi? His Nidhi...his love...now was truly so upset with him, that she couldn't tolerate him in the same room even?
Anjie knocked softly on the door of Nidhi's room...there was no reply. Probably Nidhi was fast asleep? Anjie thought as she nudged the door silently open, Nidhi was staring in space with vacant eyes. Luckily the oxygen mask was not needed anymore. Anjie went to her and called gently, "Nidhi...kaisi hai tu? Nidhi's eyes turned to her and overflowed as she threw herself over Anjie, her best childhood friend. Both friends hugged each other, tightly, as if there was no yesterday and no tomorrow...Anjie extricated herself from the hug, cupped Nidhi's face, looked in her eyes and said, "Ab bas...rona bas...tere reports sab normal hai..kahin koi chot nahin hai, sirf yeh sir par..." Nidhi stopped her speaking by a finger on her lips, "Anjie tu nahin jaanti...I have also lost a baby...Dr Ashutosh aur Mallika ki dosti mein meri kokh jhulas gayi...Us zakhm ka kya, Anjie... mera vishwas jal gaya...mera pyaar jal gaya...ek hi pal mein mer sab kuchh kho gaya..." and broke down further, sobs racking her frail body frame. Anjie also could not control herself, "Nidhi, tu bahut naraaz hai na Jeejaji se? Saari rat tere sirhane baithe rahe, tere hosh mein aate hi tujhse baat karne aaye the, par tu unhe dekh kar badhawaas si ho gayi, isiliye Dr Bharati ne unhe tumhe milne se rok diya...par woh ab bhi tere liye bechain hai, unko kya batao?"
"Unko sirf itna bata de, ki mein unke saath bitaya hua har pal bhool jaana chahti houn...pyaar namke is shabd ko mein apni zindagi ke shabdkosh se hata dena chahati houn, apne aap ko bhool jana chahati houn...us accident mein wo Nidhi mar gayi jo unka pyaar tha...yeh to ek zinda laash hai jiska dahan abhi baki hai..."Nidhi was sobbing her heart out. Anjie rushed out, unable to take it anymore, and bumped into Dr Bharati, who was about to enter Nidhi's room.
Anjie ran, tears streaming down her cheeks, hair dishevelled, oblivious to passing stares, half staggering, to Dr Ranganath's room, banged the door shut and leaned against it, and let go...Ranganath was near her in a jiffy, "Anjie kya hua? Tum Nidhi se milne gayi thi na? Aise ro kyou rahi ho? Anjie flung herself at her husband, "Mujhse Nidhi ki halat dekhi nahin jaati..she has lost all hope to live...meri friend ko yeh kya ho gaya, woh kahin kho gayi Dr Ranganath..." Shhh, chup ho jao Anjie, Nidhi is in deep depression, uska ilaaz ho sakta hai, abhi kamjori bahut hai, ek baar woh theek ho gayi to sab theek ho jayega...so don't cry..."Ranganath calmed his wife. He made a mental note of putting all this across to Dr Ashutosh sometime later, at an opportune moment.
"Arre Nidhi yeh kya, tum aise gumsum baithi ho, dekho bahar kitni suhani sham hai, chalo bahar thoda ghoom lete hai, tumhe acchha lagega..." Dr Bharati, on entering the room had coaxed her. Nidhi stood up hesitantly and the room spun around her...she would have fallen had Dr Bharati not caught her arm. "Aaram se...mein ek wheelchair mangwa deti houn..mein hi bhool gayi thi ki tum abhi bahut kamjor ho"...and soon a wardboy got a wheelchair and helped Nidhi into it. "Kahan jaana chahogi?" Dr Bharati propelled the wheelchair, "Tumhe bachho se bahut lagaav hai na, chalo, children's ward mein chalte hai..."
Dekho bachho koun aaya hai? Dr Bharati called. Dr Nidhi!!! Squealed the excited duo of Pooja and Priya. They both bounded to her, and climbed in her lap, chattering excitedly, "Dr Nidhi, Dr Nidhi, dekhiye na, hume koi kahani nahi sunata, aur picnic par bhi nahin le jaata...Dr Ashutosh to hume bhool hi gaye hai..., aap hi hume kahani suna do na..." "Theek hai, meri shikayat bhi shuru ho gayi? The deep timbre voice of Dr Ashutosh resonated from the doorway" He had just thought about checking on the kids in the ward and overheard his name. He anxiously looked at Nidhi, who had pulled up her legs, put her hands around them and curled into a foetal position in the wheelchair, "Bachho, Aapki Dr Nidhi beemar hai ..kya main hi aapko kahani suna dun?" The kids replied in unison, "Ha Dr Ashutosh, wohi Raja-titli wali...pleeease..."
To suno bachho, Ashutosh began, with his eyes rooted on Nidhi, "ek Raja tha...usne aapne aap ko ek kile mein bandh kar rakha tha...woh akela dukhi rehta tha...kissi ko bhi aapne paas nahin aane deta tha...kissi se bhi baat nahin karta tha...Magar ek din kya hua, zoron ki baarish hui...aise jaise aasman phat pada ho...ek titli baarish mein buri tarah bheeg gayi aur Galati se Raja ke kile mein aa gayi...Ek titli bheegi bhaagi si...Raja ne use dekha...pata nahin kyoun use woh titli bahut acchi lagi...Woh titli apne pankhon par indradhanush ke rang bhi layi thi na, usne raja ki berang zindagi mein rang bharane shuru kar diye...Raja bahut khush hua...usne titli ko apne dil mein basa liya...
Nidhi's head jerked up at this and shakily, she began, "phir pata hai kya hua? Raja ki ek purani Dost Cheel thi. Woh zakhmi halat mein Raja se panaah mangne aayi...Raja ne use apne ghar mein aasra diya. Use cheel ke zakhm bahut purane the...barah saal purane...un zakhmon par ek hi marham kaam kar sakta tha, use banana ke liye indradhanush ke rango ki zaroorat thi...un rango ko pane ke liye, raja ne titli ke pankh kaat diye...titli mar gayi...usne Raja ki dost ko bachane ke liye, apni jaan de di...woh Raja se bahut pyaar karti thi na..."
All the kids were crying by this time...one small kid went to Ashutosh and slapped him hard. Ashutosh's head snapped backward, "Raja ne titli ke saath aisa kyoun kiya, Dr Ashutosh?" Another slap. "titli to kitni acchi thi...use kyoun mara, Dr Ashutosh?" Another slap and the child buried his face in Ashutosh's shoulder, punched him on the chest and started crying "...kyoun mara...kyoun mara...kyoun mara.."
Ashutosh hugged the child, tears streaming on his face and gently said, "Aage ki kahani nahin sunoge? Titli mari nahi, sirf zakhmi thi...Raja ko jab apni Galati ka ehsaas hua tab usne titli ko zakhmi halat me paya...woh use wapas kile mein le aaya...magar tab tak titli usse poori tarah rooth gayi thi...Raja aaj bhi uska illaaj karna chahata hai par titli usse baat bhi nahi kar rahi...kya karun? Tumhi batao bachcho, mein kya karun?
"Use titli ko sorry bolne ka kuchh to tareeqa hoga na?" Pooja commented. "Ha, hai to sahi, waise kya hain na, titli ko extra cheese, mayonnaise wala burger bahut pasand hai, uske ird-gird thode French fries bhi daal denge...Ashutosh smiled sadly...Aur titli maan jaayegi!!!" "Aur Raja ko apne kaan bhi pakadne chahiye...kuchh iss tarah..."and the kid twisted Ashutosh's ear pretty mercilessly.
Throughout this Nidhi was silent, except for her small addition to the Raja-titli story. Dr Bharati had been observing her carefully and the significance of the story and its characters was not missed by her. Dr Bharati also observed that whenever the kids slapped Ashutosh, or punched him, or twisted his ear, Nidhi winced inwardly. That was a good sign...she had also noticed that Ashutosh had his eyes only and only for Nidhi throughout the story telling session...it was just a matter of time for the ice to break now, she mused to herself.
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