Joined: 13 February 2012
Dr. Ashutosh Mathur, the Dean and Chief surgeon at KGH, the most famous and much sought after neuro-surgeon was sitting alone in his office. It was only a few moments ago that his wife Nidhi, who was his junior and ex-intern and 18 years younger than him had left for home after sharing lunch with him. This was their daily routine since he re-joined work after his accident and subsequent departure of Mallika. While it gave him great satisfaction everyday to share a home cooked meal, specially made and brought for him by Nidhi, today it made him restless. And it had nothing to do with the meal itself but something to do with two events that occurred prior to that. These two things had jerked him out of his complacency and had got him thinking about his duties, duty as a Dean and senior, duty as a husband and lover and finally duty as a friend, philosopher and guide to his wife. His conscience was now well and truly pricked. And once he started thinking he wondered, no, berated himself for his negligence and maybe even his selfishness. How could he have been so blind? He had to do something now...
Earlier, when Ashu had been in surgery Nidhi had arrived with his lunch. And instead of waiting for him in his cabin as she usually did she had decided to take a stroll around the hospital that was her former work-place, in an attempt to catch up with her friends and ex-batch mates. That was when Ashu had first got a glimpse of her that day. He was on his way back to his cabin when he had spotted her in the children's ward which used to be her most favorite place in the whole hospital. He had witnessed her administering an injection to a young patient who it seemed had been particularly moody and difficult to handle. While he was watching un-noticed he heard the nurse Janki Bai comment that this child had been refusing his injections and medications all morning and expressed her surprise and gratitude that Nidhi was able to accomplish both with relative ease. She had further stated that even after all these months of being out of the hospital Nidhi had not lost her golden touch with the kids. Suspecting that he would be noticed Ashu had quickly departed from there, but that comment had stirred a thought in him. As he walked towards his cabin lost in this thought he was intercepted by Dr. Ranganath who wanted to discuss a few issues and get some signatures. By the time he wrapped it up Nidhi had reached his cabin. He was thinking about the days since their wedding and the conversation he had had with Nidhi after Mallika had departed.
On the last day of his medical leave Ashu and Nidhi had gone for a long drive after a wonderful family get-together. During this party DB had suggested that they should plan for a child soon as Ashu was in his forties already. And even though he was shy at first this idea slowly appealed to him. So during their drive he had broached this topic with Nidhi and maybe his words projected a certain amount of eagerness for a baby. But her reaction was completely unexpected. She had rallied against DBs antiquated thoughts and was firm with her view that they as a couple needed some time and they were still young enough to wait a bit before they had kids. And since this was the first time they had discussed children what ensued was an awkward silence. Finally Ashu managed to break it by suggesting he wanted to join back to work the next day. As fate would have it on the very first day back he happened to pass by the maternity ward and seeing all the new-born babies increased his desire. He had then decided to talk to Nidhi once more but when she was more receptive to discuss about it. Since that day he was waiting for an opportunity, the right moment to discuss this once more with Nidhi. But now, after hearing the nurse and witnessing Nidhi doctor that child just a few minutes ago he started having self-doubts if a baby was indeed the right step, right now.
Meanwhile Nidhi had finished cooking earlier than usual. So she decided to surprise her husband with an early visit and planned to spend the extra time chatting to her friends in the common room. Ever since he went back to work, she missed having him at home. Right after they had returned from their HM, Ashu had had an accident. While the following month was a torture on many counts, mostly due to Dr. Mallika, the one thing she really loved was having Ashu around all day. When she arrived at KGH the first person she saw was nurse Laxmi Bai who after a courtesy greeting excused herself stating she had some important files to deliver. A few yards later she ran into Jyotika, her batch mate and fellow intern who had just finished the internship and was a full-fledged doctor in KGH itself. But barely a few words into the conversation Jyotika had rushed off to assist in a surgery with a promise to catch up later. Sometimes coming early it seemed had its advantages and after witnessing the spate of activity at KGH Nidhi slowly walked towards Ashu's cabin but she was lost in thought. When crossing the children's ward she heard a nurse frantically pleading with a young patient and that drew her in. She was successful in administering the injection and nurse Janki Bai was quick to thank her and praise her and even complimented on her skills as a doctor. Now Nidhi's thoughts were disturbed. As she entered Ashu's cabin she wondered if she was indeed wasting away and letting her skills rust. As a person who was quick to make decisions, she decided then and there that she would not let that happen and the only way for her was to complete her internship and become a doctor. She planned to talk to Ashu right away. And just then, the object of her thoughts, Ashu himself walked into his cabin.
Ashu was lost in his thoughts and did not register Nidhi's presence initially. But once they spotted each other they were delighted to be close once more yet each was determined to talk to the other. As soon as she saw him Nidhi quickly pulled up a chair to talk to him with all the eagerness of a child. And even he had decided to talk to her about the baby though he himself was having second thought. But before he could utter a single word Nidhi had blurted out that she wanted to rejoin the hospital once more and this time she wanted to go all the way and become a full-fledged doctor. She further stated that she was now determined to do something more useful with her life and not waste her education as well. Moreover becoming a doctor was her mother's, Baba's and Nana's collective dream and this time she had to complete it. She truly felt the time had come for her to accomplish this. At first Ashu was shocked by her confession but slowly her enthusiasm won over and he promised to help her.
These two events, first the nurse and then Nidhi herself had finally helped him stabilize his thoughts. The internal war that he had been waging since he heard that nurse was now over. He felt these two successive events were a sign for him, an indication to act quickly. He decided at that moment that now was time to be a Dean and senior and being a father had to be pushed to the back burner. In fact once he came to this conclusion he felt more peace within, and even cursed himself for being so blind to Nidhi's needs. He cursed himself for not forcing Nidhi to join back even when they were dating, for failing to make her realize her true potential. Afterall wasn't that one of the first things he had noticed about her, her potential to become a great doctor given the right training? Then how could he have forgotten all that for all these months? How could he, the Dean and chief surgeon be so lax about the life, future and career of the person who was the most important person in his life. As Nidhi left his office he sat contemplating these things and started formulating a plan to make Nidhi's wishes come true. And wasn't this morally the right thing to do as well? His thoughts that followed were not pleasant but he now knew he had to rectify his past mistakes...
"Ah! Mistakes... When it came to Nidhi they were many." It was painful for him to recollect them but he did. He also knew that if they had to move forward and grow closer he will have to discuss this painful subject with Nidhi. But not yet, the time for that would definitely come...
TO BE CONTINUED...
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