I've seen a lot of posts and OS bases the entry of the new character 'Amar', and the jealousy track. Well after some hesitation, I've decided that I also wanna put my two cents worth. So here is an OS, written from Ashutosh's point of view, his feelings regarding his feelings for Mallika, his separation from his wife, and now the new entry in Nidhi's life.
I love Ashutosh's character as much as the next person(of course, not nearly as much as Deepa), but right now I feel anger towards him and at his insensitive and egotistical behavior and attitude towards his wife's feelings.
I want to see him regretting, and being jealous, and pining for Nidhi. But most of all I want to see him realize, what it is like to see the picture from the other side. Basically to see and feel what Nidhi must have felt, and still feels, on seeing him with Mallika. I want him to realize what he put her through. And I want to see him realize this on his own, with any outside help. So here goes...
My story starts, some time 8-10 days after Nidhi left him. He is on his way back home from the airport, after a two day trip to Delhi, where he was called in to consult and preform surgery, on a terminal patient, whose only hope for life was a very delicate brain surgery.
Judai ka Dard, Galati ka Ehsaas, Dil ki Jalan
Ashutosh ke Nazariye Se
Ashutosh looked out of the window of the taxi, he had taken when he got off the plane from Delhi. It felt like he'd been away for ages, and yet it had been just two days. He had been called away on an emergency, to preform surgery on a terminal patient, and this procedure had been his only hope for survival. And Ashutosh was one of only a handful of doctors, who was competent enough preform this surgery. He was happy that he had been successful, the patient, a 45 year old male now had a fighting chance. He had met the mans wife and children after the surgery. They had showered him with blessings and good wishes. Seeing the happiness in the family's faces and hearing the relief in their voices, this time, didn't feel good as it once had. The satifaction of a job well done, of saving a life just wasn't there. Somehow, something was missing. And he was afraid he knew what is was.
It had been 10 days since his wife, his Nidhi, had left him. Each day had been torture, and each night had been a nightmare ever since. He had thought, that the trip to Delhi would bring a brief respite from the constant ache, and feeling of emptiness. But, by some cruel twist of fate, he had been booked into the same hotel as last time. Last time, he thought with a smile, then the next second he sighed, it seemed like an eon ago. So much had happened since then, between them. Their, separation, then marriage, then Mallika coming back into their life and her attempt on Nidhi's life, and now this, they were once again apart from each other. The difference being that last time they had been forced apart and this time it was by choice.
God what mess, he thought. But he had not done anything wrong. He still couldn't get why she was being so stubborn. He still couldn't believe she had left him. She was being totally unreasonable and childish. She knew for a fact that there was no other relation between Mallika and him, other than friendship. And any consideration or actions on his part towards her were mostly out of concern, as a friend and doctor. Why couldn't Nidhi understand that Mallika needed him right now, she was all alone and pregnant. And the pregnancy was high risk. How could she expect him to abandon her at a time like this. And then those accusations she had flung at him. They were vile, and disgusting. There was no way he could just forget that.
He loved her more than life itself, but that didn't mean that he would be
a doormat for her either. This time he would not give in. She would have to come to him first. All she had to do was take the first step, and then he would gladly go the rest of the way, and welcome her back with open arms. Oh how he longed to hold her in his arms again, to feel her heart beat along with his. He felt so empty without her, as if when she left his house, she had taken a vital piece of him with her. Does she miss me, he thought, even half as much as I do? Is she finding it as hard as I am, to get through the days without her? And the nights? Does she miss being held in my arms, as much as my arms ache to hold her close again? People say that with time everything gets easier, but as far as he was concerned, in the last 10 days, each day had only gotten harder. He was dying to get a glimpse of her. It had been 2days since the last time he had seen her, so he had decided to go straight to the hospital from the airport. He has called Baba, to tell him that there was some work that required his immediate attention, and that he would be home later.
At the hospital, he deposited his suitcase in his cabin, and on the pretext of talking to Rangnath catch up on hospital business, he went around to the various wards, to see if he could find Nidhi. He had checked the duty charts before he left, so he knew that she was on duty today. When he could not find her anywhere, he went to Rangnath's office in administration.
-"Good morning Dr. Rangnath."
-"Dr. Ashutosh, you're back! Good morning Sir, how was your trip? Was the trip successful?"
-"Yes, thank you. Everything went well. I think we managed to save the patient, or at least managed to prolong his life. So, what's been going on here? Anything important I need to know about? Also, do I have anything scheduled for today?"
-"Yes, Sir, you have a surgery scheduled for the afternoon. I have put the case files on your desk. You will have time to study them before the procedure. And there is bit of news sir. Dr. Nidhi happened to run across a gun shot victim, on her way to work, the day that you left for Delhi. If it hadn't been for her the young man would've died right there. But thanks to her resourcefulness, and quick thinking, she triaged him right there, and managed to keep him alive all the way to the hospital. She also called and gave us a heads up so we were prepared and took him into surgery right away. Dr. Tripathi, who was on duty that day asked her to scrub in and assist him. After wards, he praised her efforts, and said that if she had not stopped the blood flow and rushed him to the hospital, instead of waiting for an ambulance, he would not have made it. He is still in the ICU, but is expected to make a full recovery. Dr. Nidhi's dedication has to be commended Sir, she has spent every available moment, tending to him, and also managed to do her normal hospital duties at the same time. It seems, that she is turning out to be an excellent doctor, in fact Sir, one of the best that I have seen, in my opinion. You should be very proud of her."
It took a moment for Ashutosh to digest all of that. Wow, he thought, his Nidhi was indeed becoming an excellent doctor. But then he had never had any doubts about that. He had always known that she had the making of an excellent physician, he felt so proud of her.
-"So, where is our famous doctor now Dr. Rangnath?.
-"Sir, she must be in the ICU. When she is not on duty she spends all her time there. It seems that the young man has developed a bit of a dependency problem with her. Since, she was there when he got shot, and was the one to save his life, he is holding on to her like an anchor. But thats to be expected, I guess. It's a major life altering incident, and he is all alone in this world, he sees her as his guardian angel I suppose. Although, if I may say so Sir, this young man is something of a mystery, and judging by the way he talks, he does seem to be well educated, but he refuses to tell anyone, including the police, what happened or who shot him. All he says is that he does not know who shot him, and that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Any way, I think that they were talking about shifting him out of the ICU to a semi private ward, today. If you don't find Nidhi in the ICU, you might try there, I know that she was planning to oversee his shift. Sir, it is her tireless dedication and care that pulled this young man out of the jaws of certain death, and helped him in his miraculous recovery. Sir, if there is nothing else, would you please excuse me, there is some I need to see to."
Ashutosh found Nidhi, in the semi private room, with her patient. He noticed her complete absorption in noting all the vitals and updating the patient's file. From the monitors and IV's still hooked up to him, it was obvious that, although out of danger, he till had be monitored. Nidhi was talking to him and writing at the same time. He must have said something funny, because Nidhi paused her writing to look at him and give a soft laugh. She still had a smile on her face, when she resumed writing. How,long had it been since he had seen her smile, Ashutosh thought to himself. In fact, if he remembered correctly, he had not seen a real smile on her face since the day he had told her that she could join her internship again. Oh, she had smiled, but it had never reached her eyes. But now, she was smiling, and it did reach her eyes. He missed his wife, and her smile, and he missed her smiling for him. Nowadays, when she did look at him, if at all, her face and her voice, both were devoid of all expression. He could not make out her feelings at all.
Anyway, all he knew at that moment was that he needed to her voice, even if it was aloof, and icy.
-"Good morning Dr. Nidhi, how's your patient this morning?"
Ashu, looked at her and held out his hand for the file. That she even barely glanced up at him, while handing him the file, hurt more than he could say.
-"Good morning, Dr. Ashutosh, Sir. The patient is doing well, we moved him out of the ICU today, but he will still need to be monitored, for a few days. Dr. Tripathi, has put him under my care, that is why I am here right now."
Ashutosh, noted that the last sentence was said defiantly. He acknowledged that he had been pretty rough on her recently, picking out even her tiniest mistake and taking her to task on that. He had behaved unprofessionally, letting his personal feelings of anger and hurt affect his behavior. He would not have done that to any other intern, but rather would have taken the time to patiently explain any issues. So, he supposed that her being defensive, was not out of order.
-"I know that Dr. Nidhi, I talked with Dr. Tripathi, before coming here and he told me. So, young man, how do you feel today?"
-"I am feeling a lot better, Sir, thanks to Dr. Nidhi. She saved my life.
She is my very own guardian angel, right Doc?"
Ashutosh, jerked his head up at those words, 'DOC', had this man just addressed Nidhi as Doc? Ashutosh then glanced at her to see her reaction, she was smiling. She was actually smiling, there was absolutely no reaction from her, nothing. It was though being addressed that way by someone other than him, meant nothing to her.
-"I am sorry Sir, but I need to leave now, I still have other patients I need to see, before I get off duty. Amar, you are in very capable hands now. Dr. Ashutosh, is one of the deans here at KGH, and he is an excellent doctor. I'll take your leave now."
Nidhi turned to leave when Amar reached out to grab her hand.
-"Dr. Nidhi, are you forgetting your promise?"
Nidhi turned back to him and smiled, he closed her hand over his and bent down to caress his forehead gently with the other, and spoke in gentle tones.
-" No Amar, I have not forgotten my promise to you. I will come and see you before I leave. I always keep my word. But now I want you to get some rest, you look really tired. OK?.
-"OK, Doc. I'll wait."
There it was again, Doc. Didn't the guy know her name. This was getting very annoying. And more annoying was the fact that it did not bother her at all, being like this addressed by another man.
Ashutosh was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't even notice that Nidhi had left until, he heard his name being called. He looked up at the patient then , and shook off those thoughts. You are being ridiculous, Ashutosh, he chided himself. Nidhi was a doctor and she was just taking care of her patient. And this man did not know what he was saying. How could he think like this. It was ridiculous.
-"So, Amar, you have indeed been very lucky, not many people would have survived, an injury like yours. Your family must be very happy."
-"No, Sir, I have no family. All, I know is that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and if it had not been for Doc Nidhi, I would be dead. I was lucky that she was on her way home at that time, and got me here in time. Sir, I would just like to say, that your hospital is really lucky to have her. Not very many people would be courageous enough to stop and help a person who had just been shot, and not been worried about whether they were putting their own lives in danger also. And since then she has been with me literally night and day, taking care of me and giving me the courage to live. I have been told that even after surgery, I coded twice and she was the one who brought me back. She did not give up on me. I will be forever in her debt. Its rare to see a woman like her who seems to be as beautiful on the inside, as she is on the outside. She stayed with me hours on end, when she didn't have to. She could have gone home to rest, but she didn't. Indeed she is a rare find."
Ashutosh, was feeling really uncomfortable. So he nodded and smiled, and then signed off on the chart, and left Amar to the care of the nurses.
The rest, of the day passed by pretty quickly, Ashutosh had a lot to catch up on, you'd think he had been away for a month, instead of just two days. He had not even gotten a glimpse of her, since the morning.
He did not even see her in the canteen for lunch. And when he had enquired, from Dr. Rangnath about her whereabouts and as to whether
she had had lunch or not(he knew that Rangnath knew about their fight and separation, so he felt comfortable keeping tabs on Nidhi through him). Rangnath told him that she had not taken a break for lunch, because she was too busy catching up on work, beacuse she had spent so much time taking care of Amar, that her work load had increased and piled up, and she wanted to keep it current and up to date.
-"You need not worry about her work Dr. Ashutosh, Dr. Nidhi is very conscientious, and takes her duties very seriously."
-"It's not the work I am worried about Rangnath, and you know that.
It's her health. Dr. Tripathi, also told me that she has barely gone home to rest over the past three days now. She is spending all her time at the hospital. And now I find out that she is neglecting to eat also."
-"Sir, Dr. Nidhi has a mind of her own. I don't have to tell you how difficult is is to get her to do something when she doesn't want to. I have tried, but she won't listen, she says she is fine. And sir, it does seem that she is tireless, I have never seen anyone with so much energy. She seems to keep on going. And she looks fine to me."
-"She can look fine, but the real question is, how long will she stay that way, at the rate she is going? I think that she needs a mandatory leave from duty tomorrow, to catch up on her rest. Please see to it."
-"Dr. Ashutosh , I am sorry, but if that is the case then respectfully Sir, you need to tell her this yourself. I don't think that she will listen to anyone else."
After a brief hesitation, Ashutosh nodded and left. He tried several times during the day to pin her down to talk to her, but could not as his day was very busy also. Ashutosh finally caught up to her at the end of the day, when she was making her final rounds, in Mallika's room.
Nidhi looked up and acknowledged his presence and went back to her job, of taking Mallika's vitals, and checking her medications, and writing orders in her file.
-"Ashutosh, you're back? You didn't even call me to let me know. I had not idea you were coming back today. How come you didn't tell me last night, when you called me?"
Ashutosh looked up at Nidhi, with a worried look. He was afraid of what her reaction would be to Mallika's announcement, that he had called and spoken to her. But Nidhi kept on writing, there was no reaction, not even a flicker that would indicate her state of emotions.
He was silent, he had no idea how to react to this total lack of response from her. What was going on, just what was she trying to prove by this indifference? He wondered irritably. Just barely more than a week ago, she was having hysterics in regards to his refusal to cutting off relations and care of Mallika, and today she stood there as if it did not matter any more, that she could care less. Well of she didn't care, then he couldn't see why it should bother him either.
-"Dr. Nidhi, Dr. Rangnath and Dr. Tripathi have both informed me that you have been here at the hospital, almost continuously for the past three days with hardly any break or taking the time to rest, and are even skipping meals. So, when you leave here today, you are on mandatory leave for the next 36 hours, to rest and catch up on sleep."
-"But Sir, I am fine, and I have a lot of work that needs finishing, and my patients need me."
-"Dr. Nidhi, whilst your dedication is admirable, but your health is important too. I can't have you collapsing in the middle of a surgery or treatment, due to lack of sleep and malnutrition. We are a hospital, not some diet center. We are responsible for the lives of our patients and I will not tolerate any intern who will jeopardize a patient's life, because she was too foolish to take care of herself. So after the end of your shift today I don't want to see you here for the next 36hours. Is that clear Dr. Nidhi?"
Nidhi looked at him, without expression, and in a perfectly steady voice said,"Clear as crystal, Dr. Ashutosh. If that will be all sir, I will leave you Dr. Mallika in your care now, and go and finish up my work, before I leave. Dr. Mallika you are making excellent progress, Ma'am. And I am happy to inform you that your doctor said that if you progress at this rate, you will be allowed to go home soon. Take care, Ma'am. Dr.Ashutosh ."
With that and a nod in his direction she left.
Ashutosh was left staring at her retreating back, speechless. He had been obnoxious, and yet she had not flinched. There was no reaction, no expression of anger or hurt either, in her face, attitude or her voice.
She had spoken quietly, and calmly, and with respect, due to a senior.
She had even been civil to Mallika.
This was not his Nidhi. His Nidhi was emotional, and often lost her temper with him due to his goading. It was as if an alien had taken over her body. This person looked, and sounded like Nidhi, but was not acting like her. This Nidhi seemed immune to him. He had done .everything but shake her silly, to try and get some sort of reaction form her, but she had not budged. Her new found indifference towards him was starting to bother him more than he cares to admit. Well two could play at that game. Let's see who lasted longer. So after looking over Mallika's file and talking to her for a couple of minutes, he left the room.
Around seven that evening, as he was walking towards his car, he noticed that Nidhi's car was still there. That meant that she had not left, she was still inside the hospital. Does she not know how to obey orders. Why did she always find ways to annoy him. Well, he thought, he'd show her who was the boss.
He put his stuff in the car, and walked back inside angrily. He went to the front reception to see if they could locate Nidhi, but was told by the receptionist, that Dr. Nidhi had signed out for the day. Ashutosh was puzzled, how was it that she had signed out and yet her car was still in the parking lot. He was still trying to figure this out when Rangnath called out to him, apparently Rangnath was leaving for the day, because he was carring his brief case and lunch box.
-"Dr. Ashutosh, what are you still doing here? I thought that you had left for the day sir?"
-"Rangnath, do you know where Nidhi is? She had signed out for the day, but her car is still here."
-"Yes, sir. She is officially off duty, but she is still here. She is upstairs with her patient Amar. She told me she had promised him, that she would see him before she left, so after finishing up, she went to see him.
I think that she is still there. Well, I'll also take your leave now, Anji will be waiting for me, you see she waits until I get home, so we can have dinner, and spend sometime together. Good night, Sir."
Ashutosh slowly went back to his cabin and sank down onto his couch. He suddenly did not feel like going home now. He had no one to go back to. No one would be there waiting for him. Of course Baba and HK were there, but both of the, we're used to his haphazard schedule. And mindful, of their advancing years, Ashutosh had asked them both not to wait for him at dinner, but go ahead and have it, and just leave a plate for him in the kitchen. On most days, since Nidhi had left, he would go home and not even bother heating the food up, rather just stood in the kitchen and ate without even noticing what it was he was eating. And some days he had skipped dinner altogether, not even having the energy or will to go to the kitchen.
There was nothing to look forward to in the evenings any more, other than solitude. He had not minded it so much before, but ever since he had gotten married, solitude had become unbearable. And the bedroom, seemed like a tomb without Nidhi's presence. Not to mention the empty cupboard where her cloths used to hang. There was nothing in his life without her, he finally admitted to himself. He was lonely, his heart and soul ached for her. And for that first time in the past 10 days, he asked himself, was Mallika this important, was taking care of her and her unborn child worth the risk of loosing all that he held dear. Was his humanity so important to him that he was willing to sacrifice his soul for it. Then he thought of Nidhi, and her attitude towards him today.
There was total indifference in her attitude towards him. She was not willing to budge an inch. She expected him to beg her to come back to him, she expected him to make the first move and apologize. Why should he say sorry, when he had committed no crime. So he had deliberately hidden things from her, but didn't he tell her eventually?
And he had never lied to her. And the only reason that he had omitted details and hidden the fact that he was visiting Mallika. He knew that she didn't like Mallika and she didn't want him to have any contact with her either. He knew that if he had told her that she would try and stop him. While understood her and why she was like this, why didn't she try and understand him, why couldn't she try and look at things from his point of view. Why couldn't she see that he couldn't leave Mallika alone at a time like this. He wouldn't even leave his worst enemy at a time like this, and Mallika was his friend, she had been his best friend for the last 13years. Why couldn't Nidhi start behaving like a doctor and a mature adult, instead of acting like a spoilt immature brat. He always gave in to her, but this time she had crossed the line. No matter how much it hurt him. Not matter how miserable he was without her, he would not given in to her unreasonableness, he resolved.
So he left his cabin and went to Amar's room to see Nidhi and to give her a piece of his mind.
But what met his eyes, made him stop and stand dead still and all he could was stare, at the scene in front of him.
Nidhi was sitting on a chair, near the bed. She had a book in one hand and was busy reading to Amar, in a quiet voice, so as not tot disturb the other patients in the room, and her other hand was being held by Amar, who was looking at her, and listening to her words with a rapt expression on his face. This scenario disturbed him on a level that he didn't even want to think about. What was she doing her so late. And why was she sacrificing her much needed rest for this man, this patient. What was so special about him. She had never read to him, she ever, or even offere...he stopped right there, when a memory flashed into his mind. It was the night he had run into Mallika, and had the accident injuring his knee, running after her. He remembered that night, Nidhi had wanted him to stay awake and talk to her, but he had told her that he was sleepy. Then she had said that he could sleep and she would read to him, to help him sleep, but he had not been in the mood, he had told her that he was tired and to turn out the lights because they were bothering him, and that if she wanted to read she could go sit out in the hall. He remembered glancing at her face to say good night, and seeing the disappointed expression, before turning off the light, and dismissing it from his mind. He never even remembered when she had left the room. She had never offered to read to him after that, but he remember numerous occasions where she had left the room, to go and read or do something to occupy herself, because she couldn't sleep. Now looking back on that incident, and all the times that she had to sit outside in the hall all by herself, he felt ashamed of himself and his insensitivity, towards her. But she had never once complained, nor showed that it had bothered her in any way, although he was sure it must have. But over the course of time had adjusted her schedule to his. And awoken and slept according to his convenience.
Had he ever shown his appreciation or given her her due...?
Ashutosh turned around and left, he would let her visit with her patient for a little while longer, then he would come back and make sure that she went home, till then he would go back to his cabin, he had plenty of work that he do, while he waited.
When, he returned about an hour later, he saw that Nidhi had already left, and Amar was sleeping peacefully. She had left without informing him, she must have seen his car. The least she could have done was look in on him under some pretext. But she couldn't be bothered, he thought. If it had been him he have found some excuse to...
Once again he had had to pause his thoughts. Hadn't he done the same thing, actually it was worse, he had gone to Delhi, and had not even bothered to let her know, even indirectly, that he was leaving for two days. He could have asked Baba to let her know. But he hadn't even thought about that. And yet he had taken the time to come and tell Mallika . Just what did that tell him about himself. Was Mallika more
Important to him than Nidhi? No, absolutely not, nothing meant more to him than Nidhi did. He could never see Mallika as anything other than a friend. More so now, ever since she had tried to poison Nidhi. He didn't even know that he could classify what his feelings towards her now were. He didn't even know if he even classify her as a friend anymore. What he did know was that he could not spend more than 10-15 in her company without feeling uneasy. If that was the case, then why hadn't he informed his wife about his trip? If he could feel this bad about her not letting him know she was leaving the hospital, then how must she have felt, when she found out that he had gone out of town for two days, and did not even think of letting her know. Being separated, did not mean that they had stopped loving each other also.
Once again, he had let his temper overrule his heart. If he couldn't justify to even to himself the reason for informing Mallika and not his wife about his trip, then how the hell could he justify it in front of his wife, should she ever ask him for an explanation. And he knew that she must have been informed, by whom. No wonder he had not gotten a cold shoulder from Nidhi today.
After returning home, and eating a solitary meal, Ashutosh went to his bedroom, their bedroom. He went up to the. It wedding picture that hung on the wall and stared at it. How happy he had been that day. He couldn't wait to take Nidhi home with him. He could hardly believe that she was his at last. They had been so happy, for the first week or two, until Mallika. And then everything had started going down hill. He just could not understand Nidhi's inability to see anything beyond the fact that she did not like Mallika. Why couldn't she try and see past that for a moment, try and see her not as an enemy or a rival for her husbands affections (which really was a non issue as far as he was concerned) but just as a human being. A person who was in need of support and care. His wife had the most generous heart of any human being he knew, yet with Mallika, all of that generosity just disappeared. He knew that she had tolerated a lot, and she was justified, he just wished that she could find it within herself to be the better person, and travel the higher road.
Even with all of that, it didn't change the facts. Nidhi had chosen to doubt him and his integrity as a doctor, human being and a husband. She thought that he was trying to compensate his desire for a child through Mallika's baby. How ridiculous.
He had given her the two years she has asked for hadn't he. He didn't want to and hadn't liked it, but he had. So why was she complaining. He could not even think of being a father to any child but theirs, his and Nidhi's. How could she even think that. And then when he had said some things in anger, instead of understanding that he hadn't meant any of it , she had taken those word to heart and walked out on him, their life and their home. He knew she loved him just as much as he loved her, and that she must be as miserable without him, as he was without her. He also knew, that sooner or later she would come around. That was one of the best things about her, when she calmed down, and realized that she was wrong, she always admitted it, and made up with him. She would this time also. And he would wait. And besides the making up was what made fighting so enjoyable. With that thought in mind, Ashutosh drifted off to sleep.
The next week flew by so quickly, that he hardly had anytime to breath. It seemed that anything and everything that could go wrong, did? What with one crisis after the other, he hardly had time to see Nidhi, let along try and talk to her. For the most part the only time he saw her was either in Mallika's room, or in the hallways, when they passed by each other. He knew that she had been spending a lot of time with her gunshot patient Amar. He had been getting regular updates from Dr. Tripathi, and Rangnath. Apparently the young man was making remarkable progress, due to Nidhi's care and diligence regarding his treatment. And most of the time, they came and left from the hospital at different times. It had been almost three weeks now, without Nidhi, and he was getting tired of these cat and mouse games she was playing with him. Although, to look at her, you couldn't tell that she felt anything towards him, but total indifference. All he knew was that this could not go on much longer. The thing was to figure out how he could get her to realize how wrong she had been, about him and Mallika.
The next morning things finally began to let up, and he breathed his first sigh of relief, after a whole week. That afternoon, he decided to go by Rangnath's office and to talk to him about Nidhi's schedule, to see if he could clear things up a bit so that she could slow down long enough to give him a chance to get her alone to try and talk to her and make her see how wrong she was and how much this childish behavior of hers was hurting the both of them. He had been about to knock on the door, when he heard Anji's voice. He was about to turn away to leave, when something inside forced to stay.
-"I am so sorry, I over slept this morning, Rangu. But I was so tired that even after you woke me up, I fell right back to sleep. I am so sorry that you had to come to work today without any breakfast."
-"Anji sweetheart, I have told you several times, that it is not a big deal. I know that you did not do that on purpose. You're a human being, and it happens. Plus we just got married, and I know that you are not used to housework and getting up early. After all you never had to even lift a finger before marriage. I realize its going to take time. It's a marriage sweetheart, not a dictatorship, where one person is the boss, and the other a slave. We are equal, partners. And we both have to work equally hard to make our marriage successful. Adjustments have to made by both of us, otherwise well end up in trouble, just like... Anyway, don't worry about today, so what if you didn't wake up one day, what about the other times, and dinner, you always have it waiting for me no matter how late I am getting home. Sweetheart, I wouldn't even mind if you did not get up at all in the mornings, I am quite capable of getting myself something and even making my own cup of tea. Although, if you didn't, I'd miss seeing this beautiful face all day, and that I don't think I will be able to take. Seeing your beautiful face first thing in the morning and last thing at night before going to sleep is what keeps me going all day, also makes my day worthwhile."
-"You are such a sweetheart, and I love you very much. And to make up for this morning, I have brought you lunch, I made it myself, that why it took me so long to get here. I hope you haven't had your lunch yet, imthought that we could eat together?"
-"Anji, even though we have only been married for a short while, I know you, and I knew you would be here this afternoon. But I had not counted on you bringing lunch. So I waited. But even if I had eaten, I still would have eaten again with you, after all if my beautiful wife can go to all this trouble to make me lunch, how can I not eat it."
Ashutosh did not stand around to hear more, he had had enough. On his way back to his cabin he looked at the duty chart, to see what Nidhi's schedule was like for the next day or so. He saw that she was on duty tonight, and until tomorrow afternoon. He frowned. That wasn't right. How could she be put on continuous duty for that long, there must be some mistake, he thought. Unless she was covering for someone. That was probably it, he thought, there was no other explanation. Well at least he could peek in on her before he left tonight, it was than not seeing her at all.
Back in his cabin, he sank down gratefully on the couch, and sighed, and thought about the conversation he had heard between Rangnath and Anji. Well the saying the eavesdroppers never hear anything good about themselves was true. Once again, he had been made to stand in front of a mirror, although by accident, and once again what he saw, made him ashamed. And once again a memory flashed into his mind. It was of the day or rather the morning after they had come back from their honeymoon. He had woken Nidhi up to make tea and breakfast for everyone, and when she hadn't woken up he had gone to the hospital in a fit of anger without eating or drinking anything, knowing how bad she would feel on waking up. And later, he too, like Rangnath had known that Nidhi would show up at the hospital to try and make it up to him. He remembered how shabbily he had treated her. She had made food and brought it with her, although at the time he had not known that she had made lunch for him by herself, and he had not even given her a chance to tell him, instead of appreciating her efforts to even bring lunch for him to the hospital, he had refused to even touch it, he had been deliberately cruel, and sent her home in tears. Oh later on he had made the effort to patch up, but not before she had spent the rest of the day in her room crying, Arman's mom, Sarojbala Aunty had told him that later. He had felt bad but only for a while, later he forgot about the whole incident. After that day, Nidhi had never been late getting up, and always had his breakfast and tea ready in time. He had always taken it for granted, that it was her job because she was his wife. But in retrospect, now that he thought about it, why couldn't he have understood, why hadn't he seen that it would take time for her to adjust to her new life. Why hadn't he seen how unreasonable he was being. How come Rangnath, being so much younger than him understood something so simple, and dismissed it outright, of having no consequence to their married life, and he older and more matured, had not understood, his wife or the situation. He had just gotten angry and treated her like dirt. And never even bothered think that he might have hurt her, or how bad she had felt. Even making up, he had felt like an indulgent parent, pacifying a child who had been punished for doing something wrong, and was now sulking. My God, how arrogantly he had acted, and yet the moment he tried to make up, she smiled and forgave and forgot. Now, he had to think about how many times she probably had wanted to sleep in, but didn't, for fear of making him angry. And now that he thought about it, he couldn't see why he had made such a big deal out of the whole thing. So what if she had slept in,was that such a big crime, that he had punished her like that, barely a week into their marriage. He had behaved like such a jerk, it was unbelievable.
He worked late into the evening. There was so much confusion and turmoil going on inside of him, the picture of himself that was slowly unfolding inside his head, was showing him a picture of himself that was not very flattering. He looked and his desk and saw the amount of work that he finished. And was surprised. Wow, he'd done almost two weeks worth, in the space of just a few hours. Then he looks at the clock, and groans in dismay, he had lost track of the time. By now she was probably busy making late rounds, and making sure the patients were settled comfortably for the night. There was no way she would give him any time right now, he thought wryly. Ashutosh got up from his chair with a tired sigh, and started to get his things together, so he could go home. He didn't know what made him take a detour towards the room where Amar, was. According to the latest reports, he was due to be discharged soon. Once again, he was stumped at the scene. Nidhi was still there, but this time she was asleep with her head resting on the bed and holding Amar's hand as she slept, and he seemed to be clinging to the said hand, even in sleep.
He saw red literally. She was sleeping, she was on the night shift and she was sleeping! Not to mention the fact she was holding onto a patients hand while she was sleeping. Of all the immature, unprofessional things...Did she not have any sense of professional decorum. If she did not care for his reputation, than at least she should have some concern for his, she was his wife, for Gods sake. Whatever she did reflected on him also. He was furious. He went up to her and put a hand on her should and shook her, that fact that this was the first time in weeks that he had touched her, failed to register with him. He spoke in a soft but firm tone.
-"Dr. Nidhi! Dr. Nidhi, wake up."
Nidhi, awoke with a jerk. And looked up at him in confusion.
-"Dr. Nidhi, indeed to talk to you, would please come out for a few minutes.
She stood up slowly, confusion still clouding her face. Then she glanced at Athat'll make sure that Ashutosh had not disturbed him. She withdrew her hand from his gently, carefully, so as not to wake him up. Then she followed Ashutosh out of the room, and down the hall. She waited for him to stop walking and tell her what he wanted to talk to her about. She called out to him. But, Ashutosh was in no mood to listen to her. He was beside himself with fury.
-"Dr. Ashutosh please stop. I refuse to walk another step till you tell me what the matter is."
He whirled around, Ashutosh, thought that he must have scared her, because seeing the look on his face, her own paled and she stepped back, her eyes were full of fear. Ashutosh caught her hand, before she could retreat any further.
-"Dr. Nidhi have you no shame. Has no one ever taught you proper decorum. Everyone is singing your praises, and calling you an excellent doctor. Yet, I saw you asleep by a patients bedside, with his hand in yours. And all the while you are on the night shift, and supposed to be caring for all the patients on your floor."
-"But, Dr. Ashutosh ..."
-"Not a word Dr. Nidhi, I saw everything with my own eyes. Do care for even a second how it would look it someone saw you like that. It is the most disgusting display do unprofessionalism I have ever seen. Doctors are not supposed to fraternize with their patients. It's against a doctor's code of ethics to develop a personal relationship with a patient who is currently under her/his care. And if you have forgotten the fact that you are a doctor, maybe you could at least remember that you are my wife, anything you do reflects on me also. So, if you are not concerned about your reputation, at least show some consideration for mine!"
Nidhi looked around nervously, even though it was late, there were still plenty of people around, patient's family and hospital staff. Her face filled with angry color, as she looked around feeling humiliated. Ashutosh had finally finished yelling and was staring at her with a fury that he had never felt before.
Nidhi looked down to where he still had a hold of her hand, then she looked up at him. She spoke to him in a voice that he had never heard from her before, full of ice cold fury. She spoke softly, but very distinctively stressing each word.
-"please let go of my hand!"
-"I said, Dr. Ashutosh , I would appreciate it if you could kindly let go of my hand."
Ashutosh was floored by the tone of her request. The voice was perfectly calm, yet filled with a cold fury that chilled him to his bones. He looked at her apprehensively, as he slowly released her hand.
-"I will answer all of your accusations Sir. First, I have plenty of shame WHEN I am, required to have it. But right at this point I have done nothing that i have to be ashamed of. And I'll thank you not to bring my parents or my upbringing into question ever again. Second as to my being on night shift tonight. Well if you had bothered to ask, I would have told you that one of the other interns wanted tomorrow night off for some personal reasons, so she switched nights with me, after it had been cleared with our HOD. So OFFICIALLY, I AM NOT ON DUTY, AND I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYONE TONIGHT.
Third, I am not in any way INVOLVED with any patient. Amar is suffering from PTSD, and has nightmares about his shooting. The only thing that seems to calm down his fears and allows him to sleep, is my holding his hand and talking to him. Apparently, subconsciously he is associating my presence as a safe zone, where he will be safe, maybe because I was there when he got shot, and helped in saving his life. So, acting on the advise of my HOD, and his psychiatrist, as a part of his treatment I was helping my patient calm down and sleep. Also over the course of these past weeks Amar has begun to count on me, and my support. And we have become friends.
Lastly, I WILL THANK YOU TO REMEMBER THAT HERE IN THE HOSPITAL WE ARE TWO DOCTORS WORKING TOGETHER, NOT HUSBAND AND WIFE. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THE YOU ARE ALSO MY SENIOR. SO IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO ME, IT SHOULD BE AS ONE DOCTOR TO TALKING TO ANOTHER DOCTOR. NOT AS A HUSBAND TALKING TO HIS WIFE. That's a lesson you yourself taught me, not so very long ago, isn't it. And I thank you for that. I have found that it comes in very handy.
So, Dr. Ashutosh, however I behave,or whatever my actions are, they have nothing to do with you. My reputation , good or bad, is my own, it has no connection to you. Now, SIR, is there anything else you need to talk to me about, are there any more questions I can answer for you, or are you done with me for now."
Ashutosh was rendered speechless. And he looked on helplessly as he saw her walk up to Dr. Rangnath, who also, apparently was on the night shift.
-"Dr. Rangnath , I am leaving for the night. But please call me if Amar wakes up and needs me again, I will come right away."
-"Certainly, Dr. Nidhi. You don't worry, go ahead and get some rest. Good night."
Ashutosh had no idea of his surroundings, as he walked with heavy footsteps towards his car. When he got home, he went straight to his room and went and sat on the sofa in the corner, and closed his eyes, not even bothering to change or switch on the lights. He could care less who had heard what, and what they were going to say tomorrow. All he cared about was Nidhi's words, and the way she said them, and the expression on her face when she had said them. He had finally gotten the reaction he was looking for, although not the one one he was wanting. There had been no love in her eyes today, just anger, and an endless sea on pain. She had really lit into him today. And he acknowledged that he had more than deserved it. All along he had been hurling words like,"immature, irresponsible, childish", at her, using them like a sword to pierce her time and again. And yet today he had behaved like a total imbecile. He had accused her of all the horrible things, she had accused her of, only she had done it behind closed doors, and he had done so in public. He could only try and imagine her humiliation and embarrassment. He owed her an apology, there was no doubt about that, but the million dollar question was, was she ready to hear it.
When he, in his arrogance had tossed the words about behaving like two doctors in the hospital and leaving the personal, husband wife issues for the home, he had never dreamt that they would come to haunt him one day, and that too like this. It didn't feel so good, when the shoe was on the other foot. But at that time he had been so full of himself and filled his own sense morality, and , that he had carelessly flung those words at her. Her reaction, afterwards had been totally justified. Ashutosh, refused to consider any other reason for his unjustifiable temper today, other than the fact that had not known that she wasn't on duty tonight.
The next morning, ashu got up early and rushed to the hospital, in the hopes of catching Nidhi before she went on duty. He wanted to apologize to her. He hoped that she would forgive him. He had behaved abominably towards her, and that too in public. He asked the receptionist if Nidhi had arrived, and she told him that Dr. Nidhi had to be called in, in the middle of the night, as her patient was in the throes of a really bad nightmare, and had needed her. And that she was still with him in his room. She also told him that for the sake of the other patients, he had been shifted to a private room. And she told him which room he was in. Ashutosh hurried upstairs towards Amar's room and almost groaned out loud. Not again, some up there was surely, having a nice laugh at his expense. It seemed that he was was jinxed. Everytime he came to Amar's room, he was left with a bad fast in his mouth. Nidhi was sitting on his bed and they were playing chess, and it seemed that they were having a blast. Amar was telling jokes, and Nidhi was laughing, whole heartedly, enjoying herself. In between she was also making her moves on the board. On one of the moves she caught him cheating, and took him to task over it. She sounded just like she used to before their marriage.
-"Achcha, ab khel ka time khatam hua, aur araam ka time shuru.
Chalo, let's pack up, you need your rest."
-"nahin Doc, I won't sleep. I don't want to have those nightmares again. After all you can't be with me the whole time can you. And I can't handle them on my own. But, I understand that you have other patients that you need to see to, you should go."
-"Don't be silly, I know that I have to see my other patients, but I am not on duty for another couple of hours. That's why I wrapped up the game, so that I could stay here and help you to go back to sleep"
-"Doc, I really don't like being like this, of having to depend on you so much, I feel like a burden."
-"Amar, stop talking like that, of course you are not a burden, you are my patient and it's my duty to care for you."
-"Bas, Doc, is that all I am too you, just one of your patients. I had thought that we had become friends as well."
-"of course we are friends also. So as a friend, again it's my duty to care for you. After all that's what friends do, na, take care of each other? Now I want you to stop talking and try and get some sleep."
-"theek, hai agar main aapka friend hoon , toh friend hone ke Nate main apne friend se Kuch mang sakta hoon?"
Ashutosh stiffened up, on hearing this. Just what was this guy up to, he thought. He definitely did not look sick, yet he acted as if he was in pain. But his wounds were all healed, Ashutosh thought, he had seen his file. He should have been released a few days ago, but every time he was due to be released, he had another nightmare, another relapse. And so he discharge kept on being delayed. There was a definite pattern here. But his attention was diverted, when he heard Nidhi speak up.
-"Of course, mang sakte ho. Akhir hum dono dost hain, mere se nahin mangoge, toh aur kisse. Achcha batao, tumhe kya chahiye."
-"Actually Doc, 2 cheezein hain. Pehli, ke mere iss hospital se discharge, hone ke baad bhi, hamari dosti bani rahegi. Aap mujhe bhulengi nahin, aur jab bhi mujhe zaroorat padegi, aap mera saath dengi.
Aur doosri baat yeh, ki jab tak main yahan iss hospital mein hoon, sabse pehle aap mere paas aayengi, thaki main aapko hi dekh kar ke hi mera sin shuru hoye. Aur raat mo jaane se pehle mujhe mil kar, mujhe sula kar jaayengi, taake jab main soun sab se akhir mein aaphi ko dekh kar ke hi soun.
Boliye, vada karti hain?"
Ashutosh, nearly lost it again, but controlled himself in the nick of time.
He wanted to see what Nidhi's response would be to this request.
He saw that she had stiffened up at his last few lines and her face had lost its friendly relaxed mood. It was replaced by annoyance and unease.
-"Amar, I will gladly to agree to your first request. But I am afraid that you second request is not possible. First of all it is not practical, because my schedule is very hectic, and I will not always be here when you wake up or sleep. Second, I made a similar promise to someone else not too long ago, and was not able to fulfill it. And I am afraid I can never make this promise, to anyone else ever. So I am sorry but that's the way it is..
-"That's ok Doc, I understand, that there are certain things one can do and certain things one cannot, and making a commitment is one of them. It's better to refuse outright than to make a promise and not carry it through. I respect your decision Doc. I am glad that I will get at least one out of my two requests."
Nidhi, looked and him and smiled once again.
-"But Doc, ek request aur hai?"
-"woh kya hai, Amar?"
-"well, you see, I had one of the nurses bring me a mirror, yesterday. And I barely recognized myself. I look terrible. I know that the male nurses will help me with my bathing needs, but I was wondering if you could help me clean my face, that is if you would help me shave. I would do it but I still tire really easily,and I am afraid that if I get tired before I I finish, I will have half my face clean and half my face with my beard. And I don't want the nurse to do it for me, I am afraid that they will cut my face. And I know that you will not let me suffer any pain, and will do it nicely, so what say Doc, will you, please."
Nidhi laughed,"Of course, I'll do that for you, but afterwards you. Must promise me that you will sleep."
-"I give you my word Doc, if you help me look human again, instead of an ape, and hold my hand, I will go to sleep, without saying a single word."
Ashutosh saw nidhi go into the bathroom and come out with all the necessities. She helped him to sit up. Ashu noticed that he the was holding her unnecessarily close, and lingered a bit too long in her arms before he settled down. Then nidhi applied the shaving cream and started shaving his face. At one point when a few strands of hair came across her eyes, he saw Amar lift hand and tenderly tucked it back behind her ear. He saw that there was no protest about this act on her part. Nidhi continued shaving as if it was the most normal thing in the world to have a man other your husband preform such a personal task. And that Amar guy, why couldn't Nidhi see through his game, he was doing all of this deliberately to get close to her, and she was letting him. Anyway, he could not watch this nonsense any more, Ashutosh
thought, I need some fresh air. This again reminded him of another all too familiar scene. When he had combed Mallikas hair. He knew that Nidhi had been watching and her expression tole him clearly that she was not liking what he was doing, but he had still gone ahead and combed Mallikas hair for her. Had she felt as digust as he did today when saw a Nidhi , preform a similar act for another man. Fate was puishing one by one, showing him in how many different ways and times he had hurt Nidhi. And he turned around and left as silently as he had come.
He went to talk to Dr. Tripathi, regarding Amar's progress. Dr. T told him that the reasons for the relapses were puzzling him also. He could not see any physical reason for this. Unless psychologically the patient didn't want to leave the hospital, and his subconscious was using it like a safe house, to save himself from getting hurt again.
Anyway, there were no physical reasons to keep him on premises any more. And the management had made a decision to discharge him the next morning. They had also agreed to provide him with home care, should he require it. Ashutosh, told him that he would inform the patient and Dr. Nidhi of this decision.
Ashutosh breathed a sigh of relief. Then went to find nidhi to inform her, that her Patient was going to be discharged the next morning and to go ahead and start getting the necessary paper work done. As he had predicted, he found her in His room. She was holding his hand and thing to make him sleep as one would a baby. All this clingyness was annoying the hell out of him. There was nothing he could, other than look on helplessly. He didn't think that he could say anything to her right now. He wasn't feeling to rational at this time. So once again he turned and left her alone.
The rest of the day passed with relative ease, his schedule had been a heavy one, almost back to back surgeries for most of the day. After he had finished the last one and taken care of the post op work, he went to change out of his scrubs, so that he could finally head home. But before that, he knew that no matter what he saw again, he had to take a look at Nidhi. He was behaving like an obsessed stalker, he laughed to himself. Going around all day "peeking, and sneaking around, trying to get glimpses of her. Well he reasoned, he was obsessed with her, he loved her and she was his wife, but was not stalking her, well to really.
This time for once, he did not find her in his room. But the He wasn't in their either. After asking a nurse on duty, he was told that Dr. Nidhi and patient Amar, we're sitting on the terrace having coffee.
What is this a cafe, or a meeting place. And why couldn't the guy just stay away from his wife. Jab dekho chipakta hi reheta hai Nidhi se. Aur yeh Nidhi ko kya gaya, usse bhi koi problem nahin ho rahi hai.
So he walked towards the terrence and saw them both sitting on one of the benches that were there. They had their back towards him.
-"Doc, I just wanted to thank you for all you have done for me, I don't know how I'll ever be able to repay you for all that you have done for me."
-"Amar, don't be ridiculous, you don't have to repay me. Yeh toh mera farz tha. After all, Maine woh hi kiya Jo koi bhi doctor karta. And now we are friends also. Aur friends ke beech me there is no need for a thank you. I am just glad that I was there at the right time and I could help you. That's all. And I am also very happy that you are well enough to go home. And please don't hesitate to call me if you ever need anything."
Amar stood up and walked slowly and stood near the railing and stared out, and then Nidhi also put her cup on a near by table and went to him. She put a hand on his shoulder.
-"Achcha Amar,ab bahut der ho gayi hai, and I have to make rounds also. Chalo main tumhe tumhara room tak chod deti hoon."
As soon as she started to turn, Amar threw his arms around her and hugged her tight, and pretended to start crying. Nidhi looked stunned, by this action of his.
-"Dr. Nidhi main Aapke.bina kya karoonga. Meri dekh bhal kaun karega. I am all alone I have no one..."
Before, he could say any more, Nidhi gave a a hard push against his chest and pulled herself away. She looked furious.
-"just what do you think you are doing Amar?"
-"Dr. Nidhi, main toh bas aise hi...I just wanted to give you a hug and tell you how much I was going to miss you that's all."
-"Amar, I don't know know what you are thinking, but I think that you have mistaken my acts of kindness and humanity towards you, as something else. To me you are just my patient, who became a friend. But I am afraid, based on your last action that you are taking it in the wrong way. First of all, I never gave you permission to hug me. And the only reason that I even let you hold my hand was because I felt sorry for you, and felt bad that you had no one by your side, in your time of need. What I did for you I would have done for anybody. I have not done any special favors for you. And although I felt extremely uneasy I have even let you cling to me at times, but that was because I believed that you had PTSD. I think that you have mistaken me for a fool, did you think that I would not notice how everytime there was talks of discharging you from the hospital, you had a relapse. But I kept letting you get away with your act, thinking that you did not want to leave because you were scared to. But today you have gone too far. I am a married woman, Amar. And unless you are blind, I am sure that you have seen the sindoor on my forehead and the mangalsutra around my neck. I don't just wear them for show you know. They mean something. They mean that I belong to someone else. I love my husband Amar, very much. And even the thought of someone else touching me, let alone hugging me, is abhorrent to me. You have taken advantage of the fact that I felt sorry for you to tried and get close to me, and you did it all in the name of friendship. Well I am afraid that you don't know what friendship is let alone what it means. Anyway, I want to wish you the best of luck for your future."
-"but Dr. Nidhi, I didn't mean to, I mean I was trying to..."
But Nidhi kept on walking without a back ward glance. She only stopped when she saw Ashu standing at the entrance to the terrace. And then too, she only hesitated for a moment and with barely a glance at him or even an acknowledgement at his presence, she hurried away.
Once again she left him speechless, out of all that she could have done, he never expected this, the way she had handled that crook, had been magnificent. Ashutosh hurried after her to try and speak to her, but he could not find her anywhere, just then he spotted Dr. Priyanka coming from the ladies room.
-"excuse me Dr. Priyanka, have you seen Nidhi anywhere?"
-"Yes, Sir, I saw her in the ladies room just a minute ago, she seemed upset about something, when I tried asking her what the matter was, she said that she was fine, and just needed to alone for a few minutes."
-"ummm, Priyanka, could you ask her to come out please, I need to talk to her about something."
So Priyanka, pushed the door to the ladies restroom open and told Nidhi that Dr. Ashutosh was waiting for her outside and that he needed to talk to her. Ashutosh heard Nidhi reply to tell him to go away and that she had nothing to say to him. Her voice sounded very matter of fact to him, she did not not sound upset at all. But he decided to wait for her, after all she had to come out sometime, he thought with a smile.
And he was right, the door to the washroom opened and Nidhi stepped out. When she saw her she stopped and stared at him. Before Ashutosh could even say anything she said.
-"please Dr. Ashutosh , I have nothing to say to you, and there is nothing that you have to say that I want to hear. So please move out of my way, I need to start my rounds, I am already very late. And I know plenty of people here that are just waiting for a chance to crucify me for the slightest mistake."
Once again with out even a backward glance she hurried away.
She was in no way ready to listen to anything he had to say
There was nothing he could do so he went home. And even there he could not sleep, his mind kept going back to the scene on the terrace.
The way his Nidhi had handled the whole thing, was amazing. Not even a woman twice her age could have dealt with a situation like that with so much finesse. For a moment his heart had literally jumped to his throat. When he had seen her frozen he thought that that was just a brief hesitation before she hugged him back, but she had pushed him away. And her statement to him thereafter... Well he would remember and cherish that till his dying day. She said that she belonged to him and that she loved him. That was all that he needed to hear. He knew that it would not easy this time to win her back, she was very angry with him and very hurt by his attitude towards her. Ashutosh conceded to himself that he had been wrong. He had been wrong to dismiss Nidhi and her feelings and her reactions towards Mallika. Everytime he had seen that Bug hold Nidhi's hand, he had been reminded of all the times that Mallika had done that, and Nidhi had to stand and watch and also tolerate it. But, today when that Cockroach had hugged Nidhi, he had wanted to throttle him. And it had been only once, and only for a few seconds before Nidhi had flung him away from her. And what he done, just the opposite. Mallika had clung to him numerous times and right in front of his wife, and he had let her. And he didn't even want to think of the countless nights that he had spent in Mallika's room. With Nidhi right next door. What she must have gone through. He had only had to tolerate it for a few days but his poor Nidhi had put up with his stupid nonsensical, insensitive behaviour for weeks. And she had done it with a smile, for him. But the smile didn't mean that the hurt and the feeling of jealousy weren't there. It just meant that she got good at hiding them or that they were there for him to see, and he had chosen consciously or subconsciously to ignore them. He knew now exactly what she went through, and how much it could hurt to see the person you love pay more attention to or give more priority to someone else. It hurt, and these feelings of jealousy cut deep all the way down, into all the recesses of you being.he didn't know what he would have done if she too, had behaved the way he had. He had made her suffer so much.
Ashutosh did not know if he could ever do anything that would make amends poor his treatment of her. He would be surprised if she even let him get close enough to apologize. Oh and then this time he had done the same thing again. In his zeal to protect Mallika and her unborn child, he had once again trampled on her feelings and her heart.
His refusal to see things from her perspective, his arrogance, his ego, were the reasons that she had left him. And now he knew that he had left her with no other choice. After all how long could anyone tolerate they self respect and pride being trampled on. In his arrogance he had even forgotten that Mallika had tried to kill Nidhi. He had always been stupid where Mallika was concerned, and none more so than this time. Nidhi had not left of her own free will, he had forced her out, literally.
Ashu didn't know if any amount of remorse or repenting could ever undo the damage he had done to their relationship. Even if Nidhi did forgive him and came back home, things would never be the same. At some level she would always distrust him. And he had been the one to sow that particular seed. He had only himself to blame. He could have handled things so much differently, now that he thought about things in retrospect. He had let his feeling of guilt ,mixed with his blind misguided friendship guide his thinking. And he had turned a blind eye to his wife's plight. What she had asked of him had not been unreasonable. What would he have done if the situation had been reversed , the same thing, he would have asked Nidhi to cut that friend out of their lives forever. Instead he had done the opposite, he had cut his wife out of his life. He had been wrong, and it was all his fault that there so many distances between them, not just physical, but mental and emotional also. Well since it was his fault, he had to be the one to take the first step. He had to be the one who had to apologize and beg her to come back. He knew that she had a kind heart, and a generous and forgiving nature. He just hoped that that generosity and kindness and forgiveness would extend to him as well. He would start the tomorrow morning, he would go to her and fall at her feet in front world and beg her for her forgiveness, if he had too. He would do anything to have her back home, back in his life again.
The next morning he got up and with heart brimming full of love and hope, he started his car and drove to the hospital. He got out and locked the car. He was very nervous, even more than they day he had first confessed his love for her. He turned to face the hospital the and started to walk towards the entrance, when he saw Nidhi come out. Time stood still as she looked at him, and then she smiled. And it was as if another sun had come out. Nidhi started walking towards him and then she started to run and all the while her face never lost its radiance, or it's smile. His heart lifted with joy, it had always been that easy with her. She always forgave him everything, and had never even needed him to apologize, she loved him so much. He looked at her and smiled also, a smile filled with his love and opened his arms to her just waiting for her to fly into them, he could not wait to hold her close once again, and this time he swore, he would never let her go.
Ashutosh stood her with waiting arms and bated breath for her, and when she was near enough, he moved a step forward in readiness of catching her and holding her close, but she flew by him, not even. Noticing him or his out stretched arms. He turned back to see who it was that had her so excited and happy, and all he heard was her cry of delight,"ROHAN". Before she shrieked loudly and threw her herself into Rohan's waiting arms.
Ashutosh looked at his still empty arms and then looked up to where Nidhi was looking up at Rohan with happiness and excitement shining out of her eyes. And once again he looked at his empty hands and felt the joy leave his heart and saw the darkness surround him once again. "Maybe it won't be that easy this time"
Edited by Libra - 14 October 2012 at 10:00pm