Joined: 05 June 2012
Joined: 10 April 2011
Joined: 05 June 2012
Mallika crosses them in the corridor while Ashu and Nidhi are on their way out of KGH: Hi Nidhi!
Nidhi waves: Hi!
Mallika grins: going out huh!
Ashu: yeah. why don't you and Jagan also join? We are just going down to Juhu beach.
Mallika gets a disappointed look on her face: I wish Ashutosh! but we have to attend one of Arjun's friend's birthday party in our apt complex. Really sorry. Par tum log jao na. (Ashu nods and both of them leave with a final wave to Mallika)
Its still early evening when Ashu parks the car close to the beach and both of them get down: want to eat something first or walk?
Nidhi: eat. I had to skip lunch and I am super duper hungry.
Ashu frowns: skip lunch? Why?
Nidhi shrugs: I couldn't finish the assignment last night..so I was doing it during the lunch hour.
Ashu stops and holds her arm to make her look at him: your studies are getting affected, aren't they?
Nidhi tries to laugh it off: its ok..i mean its only for a day.
Ashu: no. Nidhi. its not. I remember what you told me the other night while we were talking over the phone. That's the reason you didn't want to get married until after your PG. (he gives an irritable sigh and drops her arm) and that's exactly whats happening. (he looks towards the beach and the waves crashing to the shore) I am sorry Nidhi.
Nidhi: don't take it so seriously Ashutosh. my finals are still 8 months away..almost.
Ashu: phir bhi..
Nidhi once again loops her arm through his (he is beginning to realize that she loves doing that): aap ko pata hain..what my dad does when I have my exams? He sits with me during the nightouts and makes me tea as and when I demand. So for my finals this year, that is YOUR responsibility along with dropping and picking me up after the exam. What say?
Ashu turns to look at her with a smile: are you always like this?
Nidhi: like what? Now come on, aap apna analysis band keejiye and don't ruin our first date. here I am saying that I am hungry aur aap hain ki..
Ashu puts his arm around her shoulders: ok ok. chalo. Lets get you fed first.
Both of them settle down in one of the Pav Bhaji stalls and Nidhi places the order before turning back to Ashu: five star hotel na hone ka ek faayda hain. order badi jaldi mil jaati hain.
Ashu grins: you really are hungry, aren't you? (Nidhi nods and sure enough the boy places their order in front of them right away. Nidhi rubs her hands in obvious excitement and digs in. both start eating) aaraam se Nidhi..aaraam se. (she chokes a bit and starts coughing and he immediately gets up) I told you na..eat slow. Here. Drink some water. (he softly pats her back until she looks up with a grin. She starts eating again at a slower pace and once done, starts taking bites from his plate. After the first startled look, he shakes his head as in a I give up and pushes his plate completely to her side and sits back)
Nidhi talks with the pav stuffed in her mouth: aap bhi khaayiye na. ek aur order keejiye. Sharmayiye mat. Mein bura nahi manoongi. (Ashu starts laughing earning a glare from her) aap huss kyon rahe hain? (he shakes his head as in a no, tries to stop, takes one look at her and starts laughing again before getting up to get another plate for himself again)
Ashu: yeh mein khaloo ya..
Nidhi: nahi nahi..aap khayiye. Mera toh hogaya. I have to leave some place for my dinner too na. warna maa will scold.
Ashu raises his eyebrow: sure?
Nidhi: yeah yeah..sure. (but seeing her looking at his plate, he grins, dips a piece of pav in the curry and brings it close to her mouth. Her eyes light up and her smile turns shy before she opens her mouth to take the bite into her mouth)
After paying the bill, both start walking along the beach hand in hand.
Nidhi: aap ka din kaisa raha?
Ashu: it was good actually. Adha din toh formalities sab complete karte karte nikal gaya and the rest of the day was only OPD. India has changed so much. These days they do so many background checks before hiring people, don't they!
Nidhi: hhmmm..so you think you would be ok working in Mumbai?
Ashu turns to look at her: why do you ask that?
Nidhi shrugs: it IS different from London.
Ashu sighs and tightens his fingers around hers: Nidhi..for me, London was an escape. But Mumbai..Mumbai is home. I can't deny that.
Nidhi leans closer: I am glad.
Ashu: why? You don't want to go live in abroad?
Ashu: why? Can't stay so far away from your parents?
Nidhi: no. its not that. its tough to get maids over there na. sab kaam hume khud karne padte hain and I hate doing dishes I tell you.
Ashu bursts out laughing: let me get this straight. You don't want to live abroad because you hate doing dishes?
Nidhi gives him a mock glare and folds her hands: yes.
Ashu playfully pulls her cheek before removing her folded hands and entwining their fingers again. they start their walk again: how was YOUR day?
Nidhi: it was good. Now the whole college knows I am your..no..that YOU are MY fiance.
Ashu: courtesy Dr Sharma?
Nidhi rolls her eyes and grumbles: God knows why they say that women gossip. Men are worse I tell you. and Dr Sharma is just taking revenge.
Ashu: I am almost afraid to ask..but revenge for what?
Nidhi grins: once I got really pi..sorry..i got really angry at the way he was talking to the MBBS students. So rude and high handed.
Ashu: toh madam ne kya kiya?
Nidhi: I applied some fevicol to his chair.
Ashu: aucun (NO!)
Nidhi: oui (YES!)
Ashu shakes his head: but whats wrong if people come to know that you are engaged?
Nidhi shakes her head: that's not the pt Ashutosh. he wants to tell it BEFORE I tell it so that when I go and tell someone that I am going to get married, they will say, oh but we already know! Its old news!
Ashu's face is a comical mixture of incomprehension and exasperation. He finally gestures her to sit down and both of them settle down on the sand to watch the setting sun and waves amidst the noise of traffic and people behind them. Ashu puts his arms on his knees: Nidhi..
Nidhi looks at him: ji?
Ashu: today, there was a patient..a chronic alcoholic. Seeing him made me feel..i don't know..as if..i had..a kind of a lucky escape in a way. When I had gone to London, in those early days, that was my greatest temptation..you know. To just get drunk and forget everything even if for a brief while. I tried it once. But..i somehow..hated myself the next day. If running away had made me a coward, that made me an even bigger coward. that's it. I didn't drink after that. I mean..i didn't get drunk..you know what I mean..
Nidhi: I know.
Ashu: I initially thought of joining KGH full time. but..but now I..i told them today that I would be coming three days a week for the next 3 months. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Nidhi nods: makes sense. That way you can spend time with Armaan on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday without worrying about surgeries.
Ashu: you think I can manage?
Nidhi: yes. I think you can. It might be tough initially but..yes..i think you can do it.
Ashu looks at her: hard to believe that 10 days back I didn't even know you existed.
Nidhi smiles: same here.
Silence reigns for a few moments. Then..Ashu: kuch baat karo Nidhi.
Nidhi: kya baat karoon?
Ashu: kuch bhi.
Nidhi: hhmmm..you know I cycle?
Nidhi: yup. Not on the road. but..you know..thoda..as a form of exercise..
Ashu: uh huh..and I play tennis.
Nidhi: you know..i love hammocks.
Ashu shudders: can't stand them or even swings. I like having both my feet on the ground.
Nidhi puts a yeeks face: so boring!
Ashu shrugs: ab kya kare..hum toh aise hi hain Dr Nidhi.
Nidhi: aap ko baarish pasand hain?
Ashu: yeah..i guess so.
Nidhi: thank God! at least one thing matches. Warna toh we seem to be poles apart in tastes.
Ashu pushes back her hair that's fallen all over her face due to the evening breeze: kya farak padta hain Nidhi. (both of them get lost in each other's eyes until the darkening skies bring them back into this world. Ashu looks up and around before looking back at her) chale? Its getting late and you have college tomorrow. (Nidhi nods and gets up) want to have one more pav bhaji before we go? It might tide you over until you reach home. (Nidhi growls and mock punches him and with a laugh he puts his arms around her shoulders and both of them make their way back home)
Anji: kya yaar..ek toh you rarely come here these days and now you are with the phone as soon as you walk in?
Nidhi stuffs the phone back into her pocket: arre nahi Anji..i just sent an sms to papa saying I am here and that I would come home in an hour or so.
Anji: but you usually come here from the college. Why inform uncle today? (Nidhi gets a sad pensive look on her face) Nidhi..baat kya hain?
Nidhi: you know Anji..ever since I heard about Ashutosh and Richa na..pata nahi yaar..poori tarah se hil gayi hoon mein. There is no other word for it. I am scared. I am getting scared. Pata hain..today I got into the local and got down again and looked for a compartment which was crowded and boarded that one. pata nahi kaun sa haivaan insaan ke bhes mein kaha chupa hoga. You know..
Anji puts a consoling hand on Nidhi's shoulder: tu toh meri sherni hain Nidhi. kuch nahi hoga. Don't worry.
Nidhi: Anji..at the end of the day, I am still a female. I get goosebumps when I think of those..those..animals..no..not animals..those demons..tearing Richa apart like that. and what Ashutosh went through..my God! Anji! (Nidhi closes her eyes and hugs herself)
Anji comes and stands beside her: how is he coping Nidhi? is he ok?
Nidhi sighs: yeah..he seems ok. Anji..i love him. and i..i really couldn't leave him you know..when he returned back the ring and left..i couldn't let him go.(Anji stays silent and lets her speak) but do I have the strength to face all this Anji? can I stand beside him and make sure he stays strong? Can I hide my own tears and show him only my smiles? Kal agar mein kamzor padgayi toh?
Anji: Nidhi..as far as I know you, you always were a go getter. Always the type to know what it is that needs to be done and just get it done. And you will see this through too. mein hoon na tere saath. why the self doubts now Nidhi?
Nidhi shrugs: I don't know Anji. its just that..so many people are counting on me..his parents, his friends, my parents, HE himself. everyone.
Anji: and you won't let anyone down. Don't worry. Everything will be fine. for all his excentricities, Armaan, does seem to be a good doctor, he will pull Ashutosh out of this soon. Now cheer up. Aur bata kya chal raha hain?
Nidhi smiles a little: we went out together today. Abhi wahi se aarahi hoon.
Anji: oye hoye..your first date huh! How was it?
Nidhi nods: it was good. It was great. We went to the beach. Had pav bhaji..held hands..walked..
Anji starts jumping up and down: woohoo..so many firsts..first kiss bhi hogaya kya? Bol bol
Nidhi: chal hat.
Anji: matlab ki yes. Oh my God! how was it? where was it?
Nidhi: ANJI! (though Nidhi is smiling, Anji somehow senses a sadness in that smile)
Anji: Nidhi..is everything ok?
Nidhi bows her head: yeah. I guess..(she runs a hand through her hair) I..i don't want to sound juvenile yaar.
Anji: baat kya hain?
Nidhi goes and stands at the window so that she doesn't have to look at her friend: yeh mera pehla pyaar hain Anji. Ashutosh mera pehla pyaar hain. everything we do is special to me. First time we held hands. First time we walked together. First date..everything. lekin mein..mein Ashutosh ka pehla pyaar nahi hoon na. and I can't help but wish that I was..that I am his first love too. par aisa nahi hain na.
Anji: does it matter so much Nidhi? don't you think he loves you now?
Nidhi swallows and bows her head: yeah. I think..i know he loves me. His every look..every gesture says he loves me. I just wish..i just wish he says the words.
Alok: arre Ashu, tu aagaya beta? bahut der lagaadi?
Ashu: ji..woh..KGH ke baad mein aur Nidhi baahar gaye the. I just dropped her home and came.
Alok's smile widens: wow that's great beta. chalo achcha hain. shaadi se pehle saath saath baahar jaane ka ek alag hi mazaa hain Ashu.
Rukmini: mujhe toh kabhi baahar lekar nahi gaye aur aaj bete ko nasihat derahe hain!
Alok: kaise lejaata Rukmini? Tumhaara baba laati lekar bait jaate the baahar!
Rukmini: DIG hokar laati se darr!
Alok: arre DIG toh retire hone se pehle hua tha shaadi ke time pe toh inspector hi tha na. (all 3 laugh at that)
Rukmini puts an affectionate hand on her son's hair: jaa beta. haath muh dhoke aa. Khaana lagaati hoon.
Ashu grins: ji. Aur next month se aap groceries zyaada laayiye maa. Aap ki bahu kitna khaati hain pata hain aap ko?
Rukmini slaps him: chi. Aisa nahi kehte. Aur tu nazar mat laga meri bahu ko. Teek se pet bhar ke khaane waali ladkiyan kahan milti hain aaj kal! Jisse dekho dieting aur woh kya kehta hain..haan..zero size..(Ashu and Alok laugh and Ashu walks up to his room to shower and change. Rukmini turns to Alok with a bright hopeful look) Ashu sach mein teek hojaayega ji. I really feel that. Nidhi is really good for him.
Alok nods: even I have observed that whenever he talks about Nidhi or is with her, he is like our old Ashu. She was the only one who could reach him yesterday. She is the only one who can give our Ashu back to us.
Rukmini sighs: but Nandini is still worried if Nidhi would be able to cope or not. I guess that's what any mother would think about and worry. Alok..are we expecting too much from Nidhi?
Alok: Yograj said Ashu had returned the ring but Nidhi was the one who came back. She wants to stay with him Rukmini. Uss ladki mein himmat hain. woh jaldi tootne waalon mein se nahi hain. all in all, I was feeling very guilty about the whole thing and Yograj said he knows all the details of the case. he himself is a criminal lawyer. At least now everything is out in the open. You know..the way Yograj and Nandini spoke to us..reassuring us that the marriage would take place..that we would handle all this like a family..it made me feel very good. Bahut achcha laga. Haan. Nandiniji ki chinta bhi jaayaz hain. but somehow, I have a lot of confidence in this relationship between Ashutosh and Nidhi. Ooper waale par vishwaas rakho Rukmini.
Next day morning: Armaan's apt:
Armaan: want to have some coffee?
Ashu: no. had a light bfast before coming here.
Armaan: slept last night?
Ashu smiles a little: yeah. after dinner, Nidhi called. And talked. And talked. And talked. And talked. I was exhausted just listening. (Armaan grins. Ashu leans back in the chair and closes his eyes) you know Armaan..you know why Nidhi was doing that? I told her I would be coming to you today for my session. She knows I won't be able to sleep. how does she know so much about me Armaan?
Armaan: I don't think we have a logical explanation for everything Ashu. (a slight pause) Ashu..are you sure you want me to deal with this? I mean..would be prefer someone else as your psychiatrist?
Ashu doesn't open his eyes: forget it Armaan. its you or no one.
Armaan nods and moves his shoulders as if bracing himself: ok. do you know what the process is? have you undergone therapy before?
Ashu nods: for a few days in London. But..i was not..i didn't feel comfortable with the doctor. So I quit.
Armaan: its not easy to once start and then quit in the middle. How did you manage?
Ashu: tennis. I played tennis until I dropped.
Armaan nods and continues: and you do know that I am not going to allow you to quit now, don't you?
Ashu: yes. I know.
Armaan: Ashutosh, the initial sessions are the toughest. There is no way around it. you HAVE to pull it through.
Ashu: no meds Armaan. I don't want meds.
Armaan: not unless the attack is too sudden and too severe. Otherwise, we can use any other relaxing technique that you are comfortable with. Ok?
Armaan: now. lets begin. You signalled your friends that you are taking the diversion and you and Richa went the other way in your bike. Then..
Ashu: ENOUGH ARMAAN! I CAN'T DO THIS ANY MORE! ENOUGH! PLEASE!
Armaan: ok. ok. relax. Relax. Ashu. Open your eyes. Ashutosh open your eyes and look at me. Ashutosh..come on buddy. Open your eyes.
Ashu is on his knees on the floor..both his hands are gripping his hair..literally pulling it apart. Every time he tells the story is like ripping his insides apart with bare hands. Every narration making it even more difficult to relax. Its like he there..in that place..that night..all the time..since morning..with no breaks in between. After the first time, when Armaan taught him the breathing exercise through yoga, it felt like a huge relief. Like a drop of pure clean water on parched tongue. After about 20 mins, Armaan had begun the whole process again. and the second time, the relaxing had become a little more tough. As if..as if his mind knew what was waiting beyond that. but still he managed it. then again the 3rd time. by now, his voice is hoarse from all the screaming. Armaan forcefully shakes Ashu's shoulders: ASHUTOSH! you need to relax buddy. Its over now. its done. Its over for today. I won't do it any more. Enough. Please. Now sit back. Breathe.
Ashu pushes him away: NO! LEAVE ME! GO! GO! NIDHI..NIDHI..
Armaan gets startled. Nidhi? what the hell! he cups Ashu's cheeks: Ashu..you want Nidhi? you want to talk to Nidhi? will that help?
Ashu just pushes away Armaan again but continues to shout: NIDHI..NIDHI..
Armaan picks up Ashu's phone quickly and calls Nidhi.
Nidhi's college: Lunch hour: Canteen:
Rihaana: Nidhi where is my burkha yaar? Kaam aaya ki nahi?
Nidhi who is busy stuffing a parata in her mouth, bends and extends her bagpack to Rihaana: hhmmm..it worked very well actually. Par Ashutosh ne badi jaldi meri chori pakadlee. But still..i had loads of fun. Thanks buddy.
Another girl leans in to know what it was Nidhi did the previous day and Rihaana starts explaining the story in animated fashion while Nidhi listens in with a proud look on her face. In all the cacophony of noise, the ringing of her phone is not heard initially. It stops and starts ringing almost immediately and this time Nidhi manages to pull it out of her bag. She looks at the caller id and frowns. "Ashutosh? why is he calling now? he is supposed to be with Armaan today na!" she gets up and moves a little further away before clicking the answer button: hello?
Armaan puts the phone closer to his ear in order to hear better in all that canteen noise: hello Nidhi?
Nidhi: haan. Kaun? Armaan? ek minute. Hang on a sec Armaan. (she signals her friends and literally runs onto the terrace where its silent) yes Armaan. everything ok?
Armaan: Nidhi..you need to talk to Ashutosh. ok? talk to him and calm him down.
Realisation dawns and her eyes close in pain: ji. Aap..aap phone Ashutosh ko deejiye.
Armaan: Good Luck Nidhi. (then he goes to where Ashu is on the floor and gets down on his hunches in front of him) Ashutosh..Ashu..see..Nidhi..Nidhi is on the phone AShu. (saying that Ashu is trembling too much to hold the phone, he puts the phone on speaker and holds it himself) Nidhi..talk.
Nidhi: hello? AShutosh? mon amour? (my love?)
Ashu collapses on the floor at that voice. His voice comes out as a whisper: Nidhi..
Nidhi: yes Ashutosh. I am here.
Ashu closes his eyes: je n'en peux plus,je deviens fou Nidhi. (I can not stand it. I am going crazy Nidhi)
Nidhi: shshhh..relax. don't think. Don't think about any thing. Just listen. Just listen to my voice. Ok? just listen.
Mere Humsafar, Mere Humsafar Mere Paas Aa, Mere Paas Aa
Humein Saath Chalna Hai Umr Bhar Mere Paas Aa, Mere Paas Aa
(Ashu's breath sighs out in relief and he closes his eyes. sweat starts rolling down his back wetting his shirt. Armaan, although is holding the phone, turns his head away as if realising how intensely private this moment has become for Ashu and Nidhi..and still ends up feeling like a voyageur..chalo..dosti ke khatir yeh bhi sahi!)
Hai Safar Humara Naya Naya Isi Pal Andhera Jo Ho Gaya
Kayein Kho Na Jayein Ye Reh Guzar Mere Paas Aa, Mere Paas Aa
Humein Saath Chalna Hai Umr Bhar Mere Paas Aa, Mere Paas Aa
Mere Paas Aa
Zara Thaher Jaa Mere Hum Navan Yahan Agle Mod Pe Hoga Kya
Kise Hai Pataa Kise Hai Khabar Mere Paas Aa, Mere Paas Aa
Humein Saath Chalna Hai Umr Bhar Mere Paas Aa, Mere Paas Aa
Mere Paas Aa
Armaan: Nidhi..Ashu is asleep. Thanks buddy.
Nidhi: see you Armaan.
Joined: 18 February 2012
Joined: 01 July 2012
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Joined: 26 May 2012
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