Joined: 03 October 2006
Joined: 05 June 2012
Joined: 31 March 2012
Joined: 31 March 2012
It was late night, the sky was clear and the moon was shining with its full glory. The man standing in the window had tossed restlessly in the bed, unable to sleep...his hand had kept on straying to the other pillow and finding it unoccupied, had ultimately given up in his conquest of sleep...He had gotten up and stood gazing at the moon, yearning for something, pleading for someone...and his mental solace had been totally unyielding.
Across the city, another woman was also unsuccessfully trying to sleep...Her nurse had asked her whether she wanted anything to read, and when replied in the affirmative, had given her a fashion magazine to gaze through. She generally found such magazines useful to pass on some tips to Anjie...her thoughts flew to her friend, Anjie and her designs...what was she doing now? Nidhi fondly remembered their friendship...growing up together, going to school together, those quintessential fights, the scraped knees, the doll house, finally growing up, college, their love affair, marriage and ultimately life thereafter...Dr Ranganath, the incurable flirt, who transformed into a serious person, but then hadn't Ashutosh metamorphosed into a lover from being Dr Heartstone?
She suddenly realized that even his thoughts were inflicting severe pain on her soul...where had she gone wrong? Tears trickled slowly as she remembered his wish to have a child and that was exactly what was going to happen soon, but for the accident...did he know? Dr Bharati might have told him by now, certainly. For one thing, that was the first thing that she had asked Dr Bharati after coming to..."Dr mera bachha to theek hai na?" Dr Bharati had ignored her first, tried to move away...and on persisting... slowly confessed...and gestured to the resident for some sedation.
Ashutosh had lain awake for quite some time, remembering a lot of things about Nidhi...Yesterday, when he had come home for lunch, on hearing that Nidhi was out of danger, Hiraman kaka had told him that Nidhi had cooked his favourite dish for lunch a day before. She was very happy, beta, both Dr Mathur and I asked her what the reason was, and she said "sham tak sab pata chal jaayega", woh bahut khush thi... He could not face his dinner after hearing that...Nidhi had done all that she could, to make him happy, to make his dream come true...and now he couldn't do anything even to soothe her wounds.
Across the city, Nidhi found that she just couldn't sleep, and sat up in bed, switched on the bedside light. She suddenly felt hungry, and then realized that she had only picked at her dinner a few hours back. Her attending nurse was instantly at her side, asking whether she wanted anything? "Mera iss kamre mein dum ghutata hai...thoda bahar ghum ke aao?" "Zaroor, mein abhi wheelchair le aati hun..."the nurse came back with a wheelchair and helped Nidhi settle into it.
"Kahan jaana hai, madam?" The nurse asked as she pushed the wheelchair. "Please mujhe Nidhi kahiye, aur kahin bhi khule mein le chaliye please" "Chaliye, terrace par chalte hai, aaj achhi chandani nikali hai...woh dekhiye..." the nurse was either a night owl or was genuinely trying to please the boss's wife.
The view from the terrace was magnificent...it was a full moon, not a single stray cloud in the sky, and the whole world was sleeping, bathed in solitude. "Aap ko yahan acchha lagata hai na, aap yahin rahiye, mein aapke liye coffee lekar aati houn..." Nidhi nodded, and the nurse left her.
Nidhi gazed up to the moon and the starry night around her...similar was the night which she had spent on their HM in the jungle...the same night, wherein they had got lost, finally found a machaan to sleep...Nidhi shivered suddenly and a pair of arms threw a shawl around her. Assuming it to be the nurse, Nidhi turned and was bewildered to see...Dr Mallika!!
"Mujhe bhi neend nahi aa rahi thi, phir maine aap logon ki aahat suni, aur yahan aa gayi..." Mallika began as Nidhi listened with an expressionless face. "Tumhare accident ke bare mein suna, uparwale ka shukra hai tumhe zyaada chot nahin aayi...ab kaisi ho tum?" Nidhi wanted to retort a lot of things, but something held her back, as Mallika continued, "Nidhi, that day I had promised you I will never interfere in your life...par meri badkismati to dekho...baar baar mein tumhare dard ka kaaran ban hi jaati houn... " Nidhi felt punched. Why couldn't this woman leave her alone?
The nurse had come, with her coffee, "Arre Dr Mallika, aap yahan? Aap ke liye bhi coffee banake lati hun..." Mallika watched at the retreating nurse's shadow and continued," Nidhi yakeen karo, maine Ashutosh ko nahi bulaya...mujhe pregnancy mein complications ho gayi thi isiliye Dr Bharati ne mujhe admit kar liya...observation ke liye. Woh to Dr Ashutosh rounds par aaye the, Dr Bharati ke saath, mujhe dekha to ruk gaye..." Nidhi felt empty, hollow, as a wave of disgust washed over her as she recollected the moment. "Magar aap yeh sab mujhe kyoun bata rahi hai?" Nidhi ultimately found her voice. "Sirf isliye taki meri wajah se tum dono ke beech koi kaduvahat na aaye...Mallika's voice trailed off.
"Aur ek baat batao Nidhi, us waqt us kamre mein Dr Bharati bhi thi, tumane shayad sirf Dr Ashutosh ko hi dekha...kafi general idhar-udhar ki baatein bhi ho rahi thi. Dr Bharati apne pregnancy ke experiences share kar rahi thi...aur Ashutosh khamosh they...shayad tumhari hi kalpana kar rahe honge, ki iss stage mein tum kaisi lagogi...kitani khoobsurat...glowing with the pride of motherhood... aur unhone phat se pooch liya mujhe ki kya saari mothers to be ko aisa hota hai?" Mallika sipped her coffee which the nurse had got for her. "Nidhi tum bahut lucky ho, jo Ashutosh jaisa pati mila...unke har sawaal mein mujhe sirf tumhari yaad dikhayi di, tumhari aisi halat ki kalpana matr se unke chehre par ek raunaq si chhaa gayi thi...mein unko itne saalon se jaanti houn magar unhe aise kabhi nahi dekha...mein jaanti houn tum mera yakeen nahi karogi..."
Nidhi felt numbed and aghast at this revelation...so this was the truth after all? Her eyes once again brimmed over and freely flowed down her cheeks. She suddenly felt tired and drained and realized that Mallika had grasped her hand reassuringly "Don't worry, Nidhi...Abhi bahut weakness hai na...sab theek ho jaayega...sab pehle jaisa ho jaayega..."
The nurse had taken her back to her room, given her medicines and reinstated her in bed. "Abhi acchhi neend aayegi...ab to aapke man ka bojh halka ho gaya na? The nurse smiled knowingly. Unknowingly to her, the nurse had given her a sedative and Nidhi lapsed into deep sleep without even realizing it.
"And how is my patient today?" Dr Bharati's cheerful voice asked. Nidhi opened her eyes from a drugged sleep and managed a smile..."Now that's like a good girl...slept well in the night? Dekho bahar, kitna suhana din hai? Dr Bharati omitted to mention that Dr Ashutosh had come in and spent quite some time at the bedside, gazing fondly at her in her sleep.
Dr Bharati had asked for her blood tests to be done today to gauge for her medical status. Nidhi was feeling very weak, had practically no appetite and the wound on her head was yet to heal. Looking at all this, Dr Bharati had asked for extending her hospital stay for another week or so. Ashutosh had readily agreed as Nidhi would be better cared for at the hospital than at home, much to the chagrin of DB.
Throughout her hospital stay, Ashutosh made a conscious effort to stay away from Nidhi when she was awake, on strict instructions of Dr Bharati. She had in the meanwhile tried to judge the exact feelings of Nidhi towards her husband, by casually mentioning his name...a lot of things flickered in Nidhi's eyes at that...was it fear? Apprehension? Dr Bharati wasn't sure. She had also asked Ashutosh a lot of questions about their personal life and learnt about their tumultuous relationship. Dr Bhatia had quit the scene, now that there were no major internal injuries, and left the medical scene to Dr Bharati.
The day passed on with its usual happenings with Ashutosh in his cabin and Nidhi in her bed, drifting in and out of drowsiness. Dr Bharati had decided that the only medicine Nidhi needed was rest, augmented by sedatives, and good food. DB had jumped at the latter option and fussed as Nidhi absent mindedly picked on the food brought in by her.
"Kya baat hai, meri Bachchi? Pasand nahi aaya?" DB had asked, and Col Verma had also felt concerned, "Nahin DB, mujhe bhook nahi hai...kuchh bhi khane ko man nahin karta..." Nidhi had weakly protested. "Aise kaise chalega meri bachchi, kuchh khayegi nahin to theek kaise hogi, badan mein taaqat kaise aayegi? Achha chal, tuzhe kya pasand hai, mein wohi banake lati houn... DB offered. Nidhi smiled sadly, "Ab theek hoke kya karungi, meri zindagi mein ab kya bacha hai jeene ko? Unhone bhi gusse mein aaker mujhe apni zindagi se nikal diya, good bye keh diya..." and tears flowed unabashedly, without hesitation...
DB hugged her tightly, "Aisa nahin kehte meri Bachchi, sab theek ho jayega, pehle jaisa ho jayega...pati-patni mein kaha-suni to ho hi jati hai...ab chup... Bajrang Bali per bharosa rakh..."Nidhi wiped her eyes..."Achha to hum chalate hai". At this point the hospital bell had trilled, signalling that the visiting hours were over.
Ashutosh heard the bell while pacing in his cabin, anxiously expecting DB and Col Verma in his cabin for an update on Nidhi. He had seen her walking into Nidhi's room earlier and was relieved to see that DB was carrying a food bag in her hand, which meant that Nidhi was being taken care of very well. He wondered ..."How was Nidhi? Eating well? She had slept well, he knew, because of the sedatives, but was she sad? What was she thinking? Had she forgiven him? He had not had a chance even to apologise to her...
There was a soft knock on the door and his reverie was broken, "come in" he said hopefully expecting DB and Col Verma, but it was Mallika!! "Mallika, what are you doing here? You should be in the ward, on your bed!!!" Ashutosh started, not sure how to react to her presence in his cabin. "Nahin Ashutosh, meri baat please sun lo, waise bhi aaj mujhe Dr Bharati ne discharge de diya hai"... Mallika had implored..."aur mein Delhi ja rahi houn, Mujhe AIIMS se offer aaya hai..." "Congratulations, Dr Mallika, Mubarak ho!!! Ab raji khushi apni zindagi jiyo...apna aur apni baby ka khayal rakho..." Ashutosh was mightily relieved and grateful, "Ha Ashutosh, ab yehi sahi...take care of Nidhi...she needs you..."
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