Joined: 09 December 2008
"''''.Pyaar to main aapse pahle bhi karti thi lekin kal raat, kal raat aap mere hero ban gaye'''''..kal raat mujhe pata chala ki mere jaisi ladki ke liye usse pyaar karne waala ka support, uska saath kya maayne rakhta hai. Dr. Ashutosh, you are'.. you are just'''.." and Nidhi could not say anything else, so overwhelmed was she with love that her tears flowed freely.
Ashu was stunned. It seemed that his life, which was barren as desert, was suddenly blossoming in the most beautiful garden. He had actually started living every moment of his life ever since Nidhi had walked into his life. Walked into his life''''.no, bulldozed her way into his life breaking down all barriers he had so painstakingly built. Not that he was complaining. Ever since they had confessed their love at the Dargah, life was like a beautiful dream. Only yesterday, they celebrated Valentine's day. Nidhi had taken him to Shehzadi Saluba's Baradari. The atmosphere there was so serene and filled one's heart with love. When they lighted and hung the Kandeel with their names, it felt like they were sealing their lives together ' like they were taking sacred vows of love that would last through many lifetimes.
And till yesterday, he found the Valentine's day celebrations silly and childish. He often wondered why youngsters went crazy at the very mention of Valentine's day. Yes, he had to admit that yesterday had been the most beautiful day of his life. He had never in his wildest imagined that one day he would celebrate Valentine's day''''but then he had also not known that he would ever fall in love with anyone''..let alone a girl like NIdhi, who was beautiful both on the outside as well as inside and moreover, almost half his age. In fact, the word beautiful could not even begin to describe her.
Ashu felt elated when he remembered how after they reached Nidhi's house last night after the celebrations, how she sent Rohan to get him to her room. He was totally perplexed, wondering why she had called him to her bedroom. Anyways, Rohan left him there and went away, softly closing the door behind him, making him feel all the more awkward. But the very next moment, all his awkwardness vanished as soon as he saw her standing so seductively behind the wall. And on top of that, she said that she wanted him to put the pendent around her neck and that was her Valentine's gift to him ' he immediately understood what she left unsaid'''''that she had given him the right to touch her'''..my my''she was already irresistible and on top of that this''''.. how was he going to resist her''''.he often asked himself, why he refrained from touching her? From even holding her hand? But he was scared, not that he doubted her love'''' no she truly loved him more than anything else, but he was scared of his fate''''.left orphaned at a young age, he looked upto life again when Dr. Mathur, Baba had adopted him. But just when he had felt contented that life was just perfect for him (after all, he was the one of most renowned neurosurgeons of India and his personal revolved around his Baba and his very small but close friends-circle which in fact included only Armaan and Mallika), life dealt another blow on him, not only did his Baba leave him abruptly without giving him any kind of explanations, but also the house, which was his world, was snatched abruptly from him. It had left him completely shattered''''..
Somehow, he also feared that Nidhi too would leave him someday''''.. somehow he could not bring himself believe that she was his. As far as touch was concerned, he had felt shivers when she had touched him earlier to drag him to dance during Priyanka's wedding and even recently when she tried to stop him from leaving the discotheque'''no he could not afford to get used to her touch as yet'''..what would he do if she too left him'''''she was already becoming an addiction for him, his very means of survival.
So, he placed the pendent around her neck, trying his best not to touch her. Then, after they came out from her room, the Mandira incident happened and he had to leave her house abruptly. And, here she was this morning, calling him her hero with tears in her eyes'''''' for what? Just because he stated his opinion before her family that Mandira was an adult and had every right to choose her life partner. That was all it took to make him her hero? He was stunned.
His reverie was broken by her sniffles as she tried to control her tears and failed to do so. He was about to get up and hug her - yes, he had to hug her today, only a hug would convey what he felt at this moment, when the intercom beeped. Nidhi stopped crying as he picked it up,
"Hello''''. Yes I will be there in a moment" and hung up. "Nidhi, I have to attend to a patient immediately'''.tum 15 min yahan baitho, main aata hoon" Nidhi nods, "Ji aap jaiye, main yahi hoon"
He smiles and leaves. Nidhi is just fiddling with her phone when Mallika walks in, "Dr. Nidhi aap yahan? Ashutosh kahan hain?"
"Ji unhe ek emergency attend karne jaanaa pada, 15 minute me aate hain"
"Thik hai, toh let's chat while waiting for him. Aap bataiye kal aapka Valentine's day kaisa raha? You know Dr. Nidhi, Mujhe itna ajeeb lag raha tha jab Ashutosh valentine's party ke passes ke liye itne logon se request kar rahe the''''' I mean Ashutosh aur parties? But I guess unhe toh ab aapki pasand ke hisaab se hi chalna padega'''chahe vo khud kitne bhi uncomfortable kyun na ho''..'
Nidhi could not hide her smile thinking how off-track Mallika was regarding their valentine's date. She did not want to reveal to Mallika that they had left the party to go to Shehzaadi Saluba's Baradari. So, she said,
"Ji, aap bilkul sahi keh rahi hain Dr. Mallika, lekin mujhe lagta hai unhone bhi bahut enjoy kia kal."
"Well Dr. Nidhi, ye bhi toh ho sakta hai ki vo sir tumhe dikhane ke liye pretend kar rahe ho enjoy karna'''.. jahan tak main Ashutosh ko jaanti'''' Nidhi cut her midway
"Pretend? Unhe kya zaroorat padi hai bhala mere saamne pretend karne ki?"
Mallika opened her mouth to say something when her phone rang'''. "Haan Suhasini''''vo mere bed ke paas wale drawer me pada hai''.mila? okay. Nahi kuch khaas kaam me nahi hoon. Dr. Ashutosh ki cabin me unka wait kar rahi thi aur Dr. Nidhi bhi yahin hain toh unke saath gappe mar rahi thi"
Then, looking at Nidhi, she continued, "waise Suhasini, ek baat batao, platonic love affair ke bare mein tumhara kya khayal hai''." Sue laughs hard at this, says, "platonic love affair! wah didi, aap bilkul sahi jaa rahi hain". Mallu continues, "Haan dekho na, do logon ke beech agar umar ka itna faasla hoga toh physical attraction ki kami toh rahegi hi na''''you know, aajkal ki generation ke liye toh shaadi se pahle hi ye sab kitna normal hai''"
Nidhi feels disgusted at this, jeez''. How low can this woman stoop? She wished she could tell her off'... but no, she could not stoop so low''''she was certainly attracted towards Ashutosh''..the dreams and fantasies that caused her disturbed sleep these days was proof of that, she blushed hard as she thought about those dreams and fantasies''' and yes, she had also seen raw desire for her in Ashutosh's eyes. It was true that he did not touch her, not even held her hand and maintained a decent distance between them, but then, that was because he was a thorough gentleman. Though she wanted him to touch her like any boyfriend would do, she was more comfortable this way ' she had never felt awkward when alone with him. Though sometimes she felt slightly frustrated at the distance between them, she would definitely not change places with her friends who shared how their boyfriends behaved funny the moment they were alone with them, sometimes making them feel uncomfortable.
Mallika was still looking at her with a challenge having hung up Sue's phone. Nidhi simply looked at her with disdain in return. Mallika was disappointed, she had wanted to provoke NIdhi to react strongly and maybe even try to seduce Ashu. But that was not to be. Nidhi seemed to be least bother with her insinuations.
Just when Mallika was about to start another verbal assault, when Nidhi's phone rang. It was Shyama. She picks it up "Ji Aunty''..hello'..hello''''. Aunty aapki awaaz nahi aa rahi hai'.shayad network prolbem, I mean problem hai. Main aapko call karti hoon" and looking at her phone to check its charging, she goes towards the cabin door, when she bumps into Ashu, who is entering his cabin. She would have fallen, but Ashutosh caught her from her waist with both his hands and her hands automatically found their way to his shoulders. Both lost themselves in each other's eyes and their hands too remained where they were, as if this was their most natural position. They stood like that for what seemed like eternity to them, but in reality were just a few seconds'''. Mallika's heart burnt with rage on the scene before her'''''they seemed so much in love'''''..in-depth love, mutual attraction, everything was clearly visible for anyone to see''.She could not control the anger in her voice when she said, "Arre Ashutosh tum aagaye"
AshNi jolted out of their dreamland and very reluctantly let go of each other. But, instead of answering Mallika's question, Ashu said'.. "Nidhi tum kahin jaa rahi ho?"
"Ji woh Shyama Aunty ka phone tha, yahan network nahi mil raha that toh main bahar jaa rahi thi"
By now, Nidhi had recovered from the incident and realized what Mallika saw''''' so, she said looking at her very meaningfully, "So Dr. Mallika, I hope aapke saare doubts khatam ho gaye honge" Mallika turned red in anger and did not know what to reply.
Ashu was confused, so he asked, "kaise doubts, Nidhi?" Nidhi blushed as she wondered how to tell him, then recovered and said, "ji woh Dr. Mallika ko chinta ho rahi thi ki kal aap mere saath Valentine's day celebrate karte waqt awkward feel kar rahe honge''''..to bas main unka yehi doubt clarify kar rahi thi"
Hearing this, Ashu get a fond smile on his lips as he remembers yesterday. He says after a moment of recollecting those fond memories, "Yes Mallika, Nidhi bilkul sahi keh rahi hai. Humne bahut enjoy kiya", then looking straight in Nidhi's eyes he continues, "Thank you so much Nidhi for giving me the most beautiful evening of my life" Nidhi acknowledges his thanks with a smile while Mallika fumes and says "Main baad me aati hoon." Nidhi stops her "Nahi Dr. Mallika aapko inse kaam tha na'''. waise bhi mujhe call karna hai" so, saying she looks at Ashu as if to say "I will just be back" and leaves.
Nidhi calls Shyama "ji Aunty kahiye, kya baat hai? baba aur db ka jhagda abhi tak chal raha kya?"
Shyama speaks very firmly, "Haan Nidhi. Lekin maine isliye phone nahi kiya"
Shyama very sternly, "Nidhi tu kahan aur kiske saath hai?"
Nidhi is clearly at a loss for words, "woh main''''.Aunty woh main'''.."
"Dekh Nidhi, main tujhe 20 min.
deti hoon. Tu 20 min me mujhse aake mil"
"Aunty kuch bataiye toh sahi, hua kya hai?" Nidhi got very tense'''
"Bas tu mujhse milne aa abhi aur isi waqt. Mujhe tujhse bahut zaroori baat karni hai".
And she abruptly cuts the call before even Nidhi could react. Nidhi got very tense and went to Ashu's cabin to inform him that she was leaving.
Meanwhile in Ashu's cabin, Ashu asks Mallika "Kuch kaam tha tumhe?"
And Mallika started talking about one of her cases on which she wanted his advice. But, after the first sentence or so, Ashu zoomed out on her''..oh he and Nidhi had almost hugged for the first time, touched each other for the first time. His hands on her slender and s**y waist, her hands on his shoulders ' everything had felt so right, so''.so'.. heavenly''''he had felt a calming peace when in her arms (well, almost) that he had never felt before, he had felt this is where he had always belonged ' as if he was searching all his life for her arms'''as if'''as if'''. He had often imagined how it would feel to take her in his arms''. But the reality had far surpassed all his wildest dreams. His nose near her hairline had given him a whiff of her sweet-smelling hair, he was still swayed by that sweet smell.
So lost was he in his thoughts that he never even realized when Mallika had left his cabin fuming angrily and Nidhi had reentered it.
"Kahan khoye hain aap?" Nidhi asked him seeing him in a kind of dream world.
"Tumhari bahon me" he replied absentmindedly as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
"Ji?" was Nidhi's immediate reaction before she realized what he meant, yes they had almost hugged each other just about 5 minutes ago'''.she could still feel his hands on her waist'''oh his touch had felt so good, she had felt so safe, so protected in his arms. How it would feel to spend her life in those arms, how it would feel to '..to''.She blushed crimson at the wild thoughts she was having.
Meanwhile, Ashu had also jolted to
reality with her "Ji?" and realized what had just escaped his lips''God, this was so embarrassing'... he too
blushed thinking what she might be thinking of him. There was an awkward silence
between them as they both tried to avert their eyes. Finally, Ashu broke the
silence, "so Nidhi aaj ka kya program hai? I mean main agle 2 ghante free hoon,
to kahi chal sakte hain."
Nidhi remembering Shyama's call, said "Main to zaroor chalna chahungi lekin mujhe Shyama Aunty ne urgently ghar bulaya hai"
Ashu could see that she had suddenly become tense and grave. So, he asked her, "Nidhi aise achanak? Sab theek toh haina?"
"Pata nahi" she said in a dismal tone and revealed how since last night her Baba and DB were not talking due to the Mandira issue. How she, Rohan and CS had tried to get them to patch up and failed. Ashu told her to leave immediately and call him when she was free, till then he would be worried for her. Nidhi was completely bowled over by his concern for her. She left immediately for home.
Nidhi was pacing the floor restlessly. The past two days had gone in a blur'''.she had gone straight to meet to meet Shyama Aunty, who had told her that she knew about her and Ashu's affair and asked her to break all ties with him since her Baba and especially her DB would never agree to the match. When she told Shyama Aunty that it was not possible for her to forget him or break ties with him, she had urged Nidhi to tell everything to her Baba, and that if Nidhi did not tell him, she will have to tell him herself. Nidhi asked her for 3 days' time to reveal to her Baba, which Shyama Aunty granted.
Yesterday morning, a very tense Nidhi had met Ashu and explained him the situation. She also explained how important her Baba was to her and how she was also afraid as he was a heart patient. Ashu calmed her down and assured her that he would himself come with her to talk to her Baba. In fact, he would have accompanied her that very moment to talk to her Baba, if she had not stopped him. They mutually decided to wait till the atmosphere at her house was a bit normal. The rest of yesterday was gone in her trying to normalize up the atmosphere in her house with the help of Rohan, Anji and CS. Finally, they all heaved a sigh of relief at dinner, when her DB and Baba were again talking, joking and pulling each other's legs, like they always did.
This morning, as soon as DB had announced during their morning tea that she would be going to temple immediately after breakfast, Nidhi immediately called up Ashu and asked her to come to her house by 9 am. This would ensure that there would be no interference from DB, at least till they talked to her Baba.
DB had left 5 minutes ago. It was already 5 minutes to 9. Ashu would be here any time now. Nidhi was restlessly pacing her room fretting about what would be her Baba's reaction. Would it affect his health? What would she do if her Baba refused'''' what would she do if'' if'''.
"Nidhi yaar relax' Anji said from behind her, "I am sure uncle maan jaayenge"
"ji Nidhiji, woh zaroor maanenge. Aap bilkul chinta mat kijiye, uncle bahut broadminded hain. After all, he is an ex-army man", chipped in Rohan.
Nidhi was about to reply, when the doorbell rang. She hurried to open the door, and saw Ashu mopping his forehead with his hanky. Just one look at her face told him that she was much more nervous than he was. This would simply not do. So, he put on a calm demeanor, took a deep breath and said, "hey doc, nervous kyun ho? Abhi se nervous? Abhi toh shaadi ki baat bhi nahi hui aur tumhara ye haal hai? Shaadi ke baad kya hoga?" His words had the desired effect and she first smiled, then blushed a little and said, "Chaliye andar chaliye" She led him straight to the drawing where her Baba was reading the newspaper. He asked without looking up from his paper. "Kaun hai Beta?" Nidhi said with a slight trembling in her voice, "woh Baba, Dr. Ashutosh aaye hain aapse milne"
Col. Verma immediately put down his newspaper and rose from his seat to welcome Ashu, "Dr. Ashutosh, aap itni subah subah, what a pleasant surprise. Waise acha hua aap aaye. Mujhe aapse maafu bhi mangni thi parson ke liye, Bua ne Mandira ka gussa aap par nikal diya aur aapko aise jaana pada humare ghar se. Main sach me bahut sharminda'''.. "
"Col. Verma, sharminda toh aap mujhe kar rahe hain mujhse maafi maang kar'''..Nidhi, I mean Dr. Nidhi ki DB ne jo kuch bhi kaha woh unke vichaar hain'''..unhone mujhe insult karne ke liye toh kuch nahi kaha na, aur phir woh hamari buzurz hain. Unki baat ka bura kya maanna?"
"Kamaal hai, bua ne aapse itna kuch kaha aur aap''.."
"Pl. sir, ab is topic ko yahin khatam kijiye"
"Okay. Waise aap khade kyon hain? Baithiye na"
"Ji" Ashu sits at one corner of the 3-seater sofa. Nidhi too sits at the other corner of the same sofa. Col. Verma takes his seat opposite them.
"CS" CV calls. CS comes running and sees Ashu, "Namaste Doctor Saheb"
"Namaste CS, kaise hain?"
"Ji Doctor Saheb hum bahut ache hain."
Col Verma asked "Dr. Ashutosh, aap chai lenge na?"
"ji koi formality mat kijiye please"
"Formality kaisi? Hamara bhi time hi hai chai pine ka" And he nods to CS as if signaling him to bring tea for everyone.
"So, Dr. Ashutosh, how is your hospital going?"
"Ji, it is going good" Ashu wondered how to start the topic for which he was here.
"Col Verma," he tried, but failed to muster the courage, so he dilly-dallied saying, "Ab aapki tabiyat kaisi hai?"
"Much better, thank you so much"
"Waise mujhe'''.mujhe aapse ek bahut important baat karni thi"
Nidhi too butted in and said rather hesitantly, "Baba actually hum dono ko aapse baat karni thi"
CV was confused, "Aisi kya baat hai Nidhi jo tu itna hesitate kar rahi rahi hai?"
Nidhi was completely at a loss of words. Ashu looked at her and told her in nainon ki bhasha to keep quiet and let him handle. She swallowed and then sighed as Ashu continued, "Ji main batata hoon. Sir, jaisa ki aap jaante hain, main aur Nidhi (he deliberately does not change it to Dr. Nidhi, like he usually did, when taking her name before CV) ek saath kaam karte the". As CV nods, he continues, "Haan main manta hoon ki maine hi unhe hospital se dismiss kiya tha, aur uske liye main khudko kabhi maaf nahi kar paaunga", Nidhi shook her head as if to say no need to mention it, while CV looked on confused, when Ashu continued, "khair' lekin phir bhi hum milte rahe, kyunki''.. kyunki we had fallen in love, aur aaj main '''.main aapse yahan Nidhi ka haath maangne aaya hoon. Hum dono shaadi karna chahte hain aur aapka aashirwaad chahte hain"
CV was stunned. Within the space of a few seconds, varied emotions like shock, disgust and grief clouded CV's face. But, he gets a grip on his emotions and says calmly, "Aur agar main apna aashirwaad na doon toh?
"Toh ye shaadi nahi hogi" Ashu said firmly without a moment's hesitation. The only indication of his breaking heart was in his eyes, which did not escape CV's notice. Nidhi, who was already on the verge of tears, could no longer hold them and they flowed down freely through her cheeks.
CV continued, "Aur aap dono ka rishta"
"woh toh rahega, umra bhar. Use todna mere bas ki baat nahi hai." Then, looking at CV's shocked expression, he continued, "aap mujhe pl. galat mat samajhiye. Agar yehi aapka faisla hai toh aap itminaan rakhiye, ke ye meri aur nidhi ki aakhri mulaqat hogi. Iske baad hum na kabhi milne ki koi koshish karenge aur nahi baat karne ki" This was the last straw for Nidhi, who rushed to her room, shut the door from inside (before Anji or Rohan, who were listening to the whole conversation from the drawing room door, could stop her) and broke down completely.
CV sighed with a little relief now that Nidhi was out of the room, he could now talk v. frankly with Ashu.
"Dr. Ashutosh, yakin maaniye, main aapki bahut izzat karta hoon ' sirf isliye nahi ke you are a renowned neurosurgeon of not only Lucknow but India too, balki isliye bhi ke main aapse jitni bhi baar mila hoon, I can see that you come across as a very genuine and good human being. Aur abhi abhi jo aapne kaha usse meri nazron mein aapki izzat aur bhi bad gayi hai. Aap jaise insaan se koi bhi rishta rakhna mere liye saubhagya ki baat hogi. Lekin, phir bhi, I am the father of a girl, after all. I am sorry but I cannot accept you as my son-in-law."
"Ji aapka har faisla mere sar aakhhon par. Lekin, phir bhi, with all due respect to you, may I know the reason behind your decision?"
"Two reasons. Kya aap ne kabhi socha hai Dr. Ashutosh, ki aapki aur nidhi ki umar me kitna'."
"Aapki baat kaatne ke liye maafi chahta hoon, lekin haan hamari beech 18 saal ka age gap hai. Aur believe me, we have both thought about it and even had in-depth discussions. And the second reason?"
"I don't think what Nidhi feels for you can be termed as true love. Maybe she idolizes you, maybe it's a crush, an infatuation?"
"That is precisely what I felt at the beginning. I too felt it was just a crush from her side. And in order to discourage her feelings towards me, I dismissed her from the hospital. Lekin taqdeer se main kaise ladta? The distance only increased the feelings between us. Lekin, phir bhi aap uske pita hain, maybe you know her better than me."
There was an awkward silence between them. CS walks in with the tea. "Lijiye Doctor sahab, chai"
"Thank you CS. Lekin mujhe lagta hai ki mujhe ab chalna chahiye," and promptly gets up. CV says, "pl. zara rukiye Dr. Ashutosh" and nods to CS to put the tea-tray on the table and leave. "Aur Nidhi bibiji ki chai?" CS asks. "Woh unke kamre me (remembering what state Nidhi will be in)'''''.actually yahin rehne do" "Ji thik hai" and puts the tray on the table and leaves. CV turns to Ashu.
"Dr. Ashutosh, main manta hoon ke mujhe koi haq toh nahi hai aapse kuch kehne ka, lekin phir bhi agar chai peeke jaayenge to mujhe acha lagega".
This was too much for Ashu. He was on the verge of breaking down. But, then he thought, agar meri ye haalat hai toh Nidhi kaise sambhalegi khudko. No, he had to do something about it. Seeing the tea, an idea struck him.
"Col. Verma, do you trust me enough to let me meet NIdhi alone one last time? Please, I will consider it a big favour, if you give me the permission to have tea with Nidhi in her room."
Col. Verma, though a bit alarmed, said slowly'."okay Dr. Ashutosh. But you have just 15 mins. Then Bua will be back, and matters won't be in my hands"
Ashu says, "I understand. Thank you sir" and calmly gets up, puts 2 tsp. sugar in one cup and tsp sugar in another, picks up both cups and goes towards Nidhi's room. It comes as a mild surprise to CV that Ashu knows Nidhi takes 2 tsp sugar in tea.
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