Joined: 13 February 2012
Friends, thank you all for your love, support and encouragement towards me and my attempts at writing this FF. This fourth thread would not be possible otherwise... THANKS!
Dear Forum members, this is my first attempt at writing something completely alien to me. The characters and back drop of a hospital are inspired from the show KTLK but any and all resemblance ends there. As for the setting, this FF is for the most part set in Chennai with parts of the story going back to Lucknow and Kanpur.
Thanks a lot Sujatha (Suvika) for all your encouragement and your valuable advice. Thank you for being my friend cum editor!
MANN KI LAGAN
List of Main Characters:
Dr. Ashutosh Mathur: Pediatrician and Pediatric surgeon
Dr. Alok Mathur: Father of Ashutosh and an ENT specialist
Sarla Mathur: Mother of Ashutosh, Vocalist and housewife
Anjali (Anji) Mathur: Sister of Ashutosh, MBA
Dr. Nidhi Verma: Gynecologist
Col. Yograj Verma (Retd.): Father of Nidhi, Civil Engineer
Nandini Verma: Mother of Nidhi, retired school teacher
Armaan Verma: Brother of Nidhi, Architect
Dr. Ranganath Kumar: Chief Pathologist and Chief Administrator
Dr. Priya Shastri (nee Mathur): Ex-wife of Ashutosh Mathur
List of Songs:
1. Mera mann bhi kitna paagal hai ---- Saajan
2. Sawar loon ---- Lootera
4. Soona mann ka aangan ---- Parineeta
6. Tum Hi Ho ---- Aashiqui 2
7. Lagan lagi tumse mann ki lagan ---- Paap
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Joined: 13 February 2012
Nidhi woke up to the far away yet distinct sounds of a temple bell and automatically her mouth stretched into a smile! As the sun filtered in through the curtains Nidhi opened her eyes. She was accustomed to these early morning sounds of Chennai but for a split second she felt disoriented before recalling with complete clarity where she was or the night that just passed. "Can one be so happy? Is this what one feels when they make love?" For that is what she did last night, it was more than just physical, last night had touched her heart so deep! Even as she called out his name she had said a silent I love you!" in her heart. She stretched languorously and felt some aches she had never felt in her life from muscles she never knew existed except in her medical books. At that moment she became aware of two things, one her complete state of undress and second the sounds from the adjoining bathroom that had just ceased! "Ashutosh will be coming out! What should I do now? He may have seen me like this in the dark but... No, no, I am not ready for that yet!" Just as the door opened, she pulled her blanket tight around her and closed her eyes once more, lying completely still. The next instant she felt him near her, the scent of his freshly washed body wafted through her senses.
Ashutosh was awake before Nidhi and after a quick trip to the bathroom he was standing near the bed looking at her prone form with a contended smile. He hunched next to the bed and almost against his better judgement his hand went to caress her long tresses when he stopped himself, "Stop! She is still asleep! Poor girl must be wiped out! Let me make some fresh coffee and then wake her up!" On the heels of that came a vision of her as she sweetly gave herself to him last not once but twice. Last night in the throes of passion it was on the tip of his tongue to utter those three magical words to her, words that got lodged in his throat. He wanted to kiss those lips again but with great difficulty he sighed and held back, pulled his shorts and T-shirt on, picked up his gift and went to the kitchen imagining her expression when he would give her his gift.
She waited for two minutes before collecting her clothes and rushing into the bathroom. As she turned she caught herself in the mirror, "Who is this wanton woman? Is it me? I can hardly recognize myself!" She took in her appearance first touching her disheveled hair, slightly swollen lips and flushed cheeks, then slowly going down her neck and shoulders lovingly tracing each bite mark and nick. Her breasts still tingled with his touch and there was that constant dull ache in the pit of her stomach, which was alien till last night but was soon becoming familiar! Anyone looking at her could guess what she was upto and they would be right! She suddenly felt the urge to see him, so she quickly showered and dressed.
She chose a peach Georgette saree with a simple two layer patch border of silver brocade ribbon and embroidered flowers with small pearls strewn all over. Her art silk blouse was of the same brocade fabric. Standing in front of the mirror she pinned up her saree and felt it slither on her like a second skin. She closed her eyes and hugged herself wishing he would do the same when he saw her! She acknowledged to herself that this was not the best choice of clothing considering the moving and unpacking she still had to do but for the first time she wanted to be pretty, not practical. For the first time she felt beautiful all over! She touched her Mangalsutra wondering where he was and what he would say!
She didn't have to wait long as he walked in the next moment with a tray of goodies. Shyness kept her rooted to the spot as she spotted him through the mirror but the expression in his eyes told her everything! As soon as he walked in he took in her appearance and it transfixed him. He could read the shyness in her body language but at the same time her slightly parted lips told a different story. He placed the tray on the dresser, picked up the little box and reached her, all this time never taking his eyes off her and he knew she tracked him! He then hugged her from the back breathing in deep to absorb that fragrance that was uniquely hers as hers got shallower. Then slowly moving the slightly damp hair to one side he placed a kiss on her shoulder and softly bit her ear lobe while crooning in her ear,
Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga
Jaise Khilta Gulab; Jaise Shayar Ka Khwab;
Jaise Ujali Kiran.. Jaise hmmm...mmm..."
He rubbed his nose on her cheek while his hands caressed her waist grazing her pert breasts even as she held his arm and stepped back into his embrace. With a click he opened the small jewelry box and she gazed into it, "Ashutosh, what is..?"
Ashutosh: "Sh..." He then produced the ear-ring matching her Manglasutra that elicited a delighted exclamation from her making her turn in his arms.
Nidhi: "Wow it's beautiful, it matches my... I love it!" A natural joy lit her eyes, but got somewhat dull the next instant. "But I don't... don't have..."
Ashutosh: "Nidhi, you have already given me something very precious. It's more valuable than any amount of rock! I lo..." He stopped; instead he gave her a peck on her nose and eyes and she automatically closed them. "I love that you love my little gift so much! Will you wear it then?" When he spoke again she opened her eyes, looked down and nodded. She was almost certain he was going to confess his love but once more he stopped short leaving her slightly disappointed but his next actions made her forget all that! He did not say a lot but she saw that look of joy, triumph and something else in his eyes. "Was that love for me? He turned her back to face the mirror "Let me help you!". And with excruciating slow speed sprinkled with kisses, a whole lot of them, he helped her put them on. Finally the task was accomplished and looking at themselves in the mirror he spoke, "Perfect! Happy New Year Mrs. Ashutosh Mathur! Now come, let's toast for this year over a cup of hot coffee!" The rest of the day sped by with moving her things and unpacking and more loving as they relished every moment together and could not keep their hands off each other!
Ever since the wedding was finalized they both had informed Dr. Ranganath and KGH of the progress and of their date of resuming work, which was right after New Year! He knew they were both expected back but shuddered to think about the kind of reception awaiting them! He wondered if Nidhi would also be feeling nervous, but withheld from saying anything. Still he couldn't stop himself from prying in the car the next day,
Ashutosh: "Nidhi, are you nervous?"
Nidhi: "No... maybe a little excited!"
Ashutosh: "That's good. It's only KGH, not some test we are going to give! And they all know us, so how can it be bad? Right? That's what I thought as well!"
Nidhi felt Ashutosh was unusually talkative. "Is he convincing me or trying to assure himself?" She looked closely for any outward signs but all she saw was a smile plastered on his face, though it did seem controlled.
Even as he smiled he knew there was bound to be some gossip and pondered if he should warn Nidhi. He had been at the receiving end of some very nasty gossip in the past but he had also learnt how to deal with them. Of course once again he kept all this to himself; this would be a horrible moment to reveal his past gossip experiences to Nidhi! As they parked and walked in, who should they encounter but Dr. Ranganath!
Dr. Ranganath: "Well, well! Look who came back?! If it's not the errant couple!"
Nidhi: "No..no Sir. It was not that way. We, uh... our siblings got engaged. Then our parents suggested this and we agreed as well." She ended with a modest smile.
Dr. Ranganath: "Yes... I see! And just in time too!" This line was delivered in a distinct drawl and a knowing smile!
Ashutosh: "She is right Dr. Ranganath but you seem very curious about the details? May I ask why?" Ashutosh knew he was sounding abrupt and the other two were staring at him.
Dr. Ranganath: "Dr. Ashutosh, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Already?" He smirked at his own joke but seeing Ashutosh's glare he raised his hands in supplication, "Alright! Doctors, I was just pulling your leg. We are all very happy for both of you and are looking forward to your return here. Dr. Nidhi, your duty charts have been drawn up and ready for you in your department. Welcome back!"
Nidhi: "Yes, thank you Sir." With flushed cheeks and one last look at Ashutosh she walked away.
Dr. Ranganath: "I am quite a good judge of character Ashutosh. It's why I do what I do and I know something special when I see it. What you have found here falls into that category, so grab it with both your hands." He slapped his shoulder, "Oh and by the way, when is the party? Surely you will give one to celebrate!"
He left but Ashutosh felt as if he had just been rammed by a bull-dozer! As he slowly walked to his cabin he thought, "Why did I not think of this before? A party... here in Chennai, away from all those prying eyes and wagging tongues in Lucknow! Yes, it will be perfect to make up for the simple wedding. He will talk to Nidhi and organize it soon! Nidhi! Is Ranganath right? Is she the one? Can I confess my love to her then?" In the almost three years since he had been here he had found a good friend in Ranganath and was the only one who knew Ashutosh was a divorcee though he had not revealed any particulars. A few years older than him, Ranganath was a shrewd judge of people and excellent at putting down fires and managing the staff with a stern yet friendly hand, and Ashutosh was a burgeoning talent as a pediatric surgeon, and was becoming well known for his ease of handling tough, tricky surgeries with finesse and treating his young patients and their parents with a great level of sensitivity. And to their credit each reciprocated the mutual respect and admiration and discovered that they shared the talent of putting people at ease and also discovered their common naughty streak that often resulted in double edged repartee between them. Ever since Nidhi entered this hospital Ashutosh had on more than one occasion noticed Ranganath's speculative glances and also his concern when she was gone. Ranganath had even tried to talk to him but Ashutosh had stalled his attempts.
A few hours later he saw Nidhi from afar and stopped in his tracks to observe her. Just as she had done on that first day she was commanding the nurses and ward boys to swiftly wheel in a pregnant woman into the delivery room. For the first time he was struck by the change in her! His Nidhi outside of the hospital was drastically different, a quiet, shy, emotional person and here in the hospital she automatically turned into this fierce, independent, no-nonsense doctor for whom her patients were her first priority! Gone was all the shyness! "How strange that in this aspect she is just like me! But wasn't this concern and duty towards her patients that attracted me in the first place because it was so unlike Priya! How many more proofs do I need before I commit my love to her? I know I almost spilled it out a few times and maybe she suspected but let it go. What should I do?"
But he did not give that more thought, not for a few weeks anyway! That evening he discussed the issue of a party with Nidhi which both enthralled and shocked her. Though there was enthusiasm for this idea her natural shyness showed up too! With Dr. Ranganath's help they managed to set one up for three weeks later and invited the staff from both their departments and a few seniors like Dr. Ranganath and Dr. Mani. To their utter amazement it turned out to be a resounding success where it seemed everyone were there to genuinely congratulate them and were not there for the sake of gossip.
A few weeks after that, Ashutosh and Nidhi were sitting in his cabin along with Dr. Naresh Reddy, her HOD waiting for the latest scan report of one of her patients admitted for delivery, a lady from a near-by village who never had proper testing done till now.
Dr. Reddy: "Well I must say two months ago when word got out about your wedding we were all stunned, considering you were both only friends and I must admit I was a tad bit curious as well. And not to forget what a good catch for both of you!" He paused and smiled at them, "But the party cleared my mind. I must say you make a handsome couple. I wish you both have a very long and happy married life! Congratulations!"
Just as he finished, they heard a knock and all conversation except those related to the case, ceased at that point and they started pouring over the latest scans and reports. Within a few minutes Ashutosh spoke up,
Ashutosh: "Dr. Reddy, these scans indicate a Single Ventricle baby. This baby has only one ventricle. We will need to do some ECGs immediately to study more. And for this particular case you will need more than just a regular pediatrician. So I will be there."
Dr. Reddy: "Yes, this is serious, very serious. In fact getting the baby safely delivered will be our first priority. The chances of survival have gone down now. Very good eye you got Dr. Ashutosh!"
Nidhi: "Dr. Reddy, I will inform you when we get ready to wheel the patient into the delivery room."
Ashutosh: "Nidhi... uh... Dr. Nidhi, you will have to do more than that starting with closely monitoring the patient. And along with your senior you will also inform me immediately. And make sure you do not do anything, do not introduce any line of treatment for the mother without my prior consent. Is that understood?" She quietly nodded and a change came over him. "What am I doing ordering her around? Why can't I shut my mouth and let her HOD talk? Will he never learn?" He looked at her closely for signs of anger but found none. Then he heard Dr. Reddy and immediately feared the worst!
Dr. Reddy: "Excellent Dr. Ashutosh! You are a quick study, what speed and analytic prowess you possess. Dr. Nidhi, your husband is not called one of the best pediatric surgeons of the future for nothing! Now I know the mother and baby will be in safe hands!..."
Ashutosh: "Thank you Dr. Reddy! But that's a little too much. Anyway, let's get on with it now. After the baby is secured for now, we will have to do a series of tests and ECGs to determine the extent of the condition. It could mean even surgery within a few days. And I will need more than my expertise here. So while you get ready I will assemble a team of cardiologists and even an open heart specialist, just in case."
Dr. Reddy : "Very good Dr. Ashutosh. Dr. Nidhi, you heard him, so follow his instructions. Now go back and start keeping a close watch. Good luck!"
Nidhi: "Yes Sir." She got up and left after giving Ashutosh a neutral look that made him extremely wary.
Dr. Reddy: "Don't worry for her. I will be there as well. This kind of complicated delivery needs someone with more experience, so I will not let her do it alone. I must also get going. See you then!"
"Oh God! Why did he have to talk? He could have just let Dr. Reddy do the talking and instructing! Big mouth! That's what he has got! And now Dr. Reddy will also be there. Will she think that he sent Dr. Reddy and blame him for interfering and acting the senior? Why did she look at me like that? Was she mad at me? Why did he forget every thing that happened before? Because he is a fool, that's why! And not just a fool, a besotted one at that!"
Even with all the tension surrounding the delivery this nagging thought refused to leave him. A few hours later they baby was delivered safely and Ashutosh immediately took over, ordering an ECG first and following the baby out of there. He did his best not to meet her eyes while she was doing her best to gain his attention. This was one of her biggest deliveries and successful too! Though Dr. Reddy and other senior doctors were there to guide here she did a lot of the work and was especially proud of the fact that she had not buckled under the scrutiny of so many doctors. She had hoped Ashutosh would at least smile his approval but he had not even looked at her. "Why? Why do I feel he was avoiding me on purpose? What did I do or not do? Did I make some mistake? Did I not follow his instructions? Is he so angry that he will not even acknowledge my success with a smile? Not even as a close friend?" She felt tears gather in her eyes at his abrupt departure but refused to give and quickly made her own exit from there. A few hours later Nidhi went home but Ashutosh stayed back till almost mid-night. So she decided to make some Chole and fry up some Pooris. "This is his favorite! Hope he likes it!" When Ashutosh walked in the door he immediately saw her.
Nidhi: "Hi! How did it go later? Is the baby steady now? Because we had a tough day I cooked something nice today. I made Chole and Poori for us."
Ashutosh: "Yes! Er...But why are you still up? Go to sleep!"
She took a few steps in his direction. "He did not even acknowledge his favorite dish!" "What's wrong Ashutosh? Is something the matter? Is there another complication?" She saw him moving his head to indicate no! "Okay, then come eat. You like Chole and Poori isn't it?" Then shyly, "I asked Anji. She told me. Shall I get a plate for you?"
Ashutosh: "No... no Nidhi! Let it be! Everything is fine but I am just not hungry. I will have some milk later. You go and sleep!" "But..." "Nidhi, we are having the first surgery in three days and I have a lot to study. Go and sleep now." He walked into the bedroom and locked himself in the bathroom. He passed her on the way but did not even glance at her. He did not taste her dish that day!
"Ashutosh, you did not even kiss me today! Forget that, you did not even look into my face or smile! I know something is wrong and it's related to this case. But if it's not about the baby or treatment then what is it?"
As he turned on the geyser, he saw Nidhi's face in his mind, those eyes were tearful and full of hurt. He turned on the shower and then banged his fist on the wall a few times! "What was he doing? Why was he creating a mess here? Why can't he simply talk to her instead? And why could he not eat the food she had made so lovingly? Does that itself not show that she is not mad? Why could he not even think of something so logical when he was standing in the hall?" He cranked the heat up so it stung on his skin, as if to punish himself for his callousness! He came out and saw her lying on the bed facing away from him. She seemed stiff and he knew she was faking her sleep. "And now it was worse!"
He let her be or was it she who did not pester him anymore! Over the next few days she kept quiet and bit her lip every time he averted his eyes or disregarded her attempts at conversation. She knew the surgery was crucial and he was working very hard for it. Other than that first time he started eating every thing she left for him though they hardly spoke a word! Finally three days later the surgery was done and it was a success! She heard his praises every where that left her flattered and choking with emotion.
The next day, a Saturday, after another quiet lunch Nidhi spoke up! Ashutosh had gone to the terrace to catch some air and unknowing to her contemplate on his course of action to remedy the situation that he had created. He had just run out of all excuses now! As he paced around he felt her small hand on his back...
Nidhi: "What is the matter Ashutosh? Why are you so... uh.. so distant? Don't you like me anymore?"
That brought him up short. He whipped around in her direction, "Oh God! Is that what she thinks? How can she be so..." But he saw the genuine confusion in her eyes, "No... No Nidhi. It's not that. Please do not feel like that!"
Nidhi: "Then what should I feel? What should I think? You don't talk to me anymore. You don't even look at me properly. What else should I think? I just don't know..." She spread her hands in a helpless gesture even as tears flowed down her face. She quickly wiped them and went on, "I felt so proud that day. You were so good, your diagnosis and actions saved a little life. I felt like I was watching a master at work. Every one sung your praises and I wanted to keep standing and keep listening and wanted to tell everyone I was Mrs. Ashutosh Mathur. He's my husband! But then... you... you.."
Ashutosh was stumped! She felt so much and he? In one swift movement he caught her and held her close to his heart to stop that desperate tirade. Placing his own head on hers he closed his eyes for a moment to stop his own tears, "Thank God! I was wrong! And my heart was right!" "Nidhi, is that true? You really felt that? Actually I was worried I had over-stepped that day in my office. When you looked at me I thought you were angry at me for giving you instructions and all... and then I also thought you would assume I sent Dr. Reddy in the OT, I interfered with your career chances... I did not know what to say. What if you were mad at me or you felt put down to be ordered by your husband in front of your senior?
She lifted her head from his protective embrace, placed her palms on his cheeks "For such an intelligent doctor you really are silly sometimes! Why would I be angry? You are my senior; you have seen more situations than me, so you advised and cautioned me. So what?"
That was music to his ears even as he heard another voice, one that was fast dwindling say, "Just don't interfere in my affairs! It's none of your business Ashutosh! I know how to deal with my patients. Just because you are two years senior and maybe the most promising young doctor it does not make you an authority on patient psychology? Please spare me the sermon!"
"And how can you interfere when you were just imparting your hard learned knowledge so I don't commit a mistake? I was thrilled to be your student then, you really are a good teacher."
"I know very well you want to show off. You are the poster child as to how a junior... oops sorry, soon to be senior doctor should behave! You are getting raises and promotions, so you think you are Mr. Know-it-All!"
"And later Dr. Reddy said all those things. You know how honored I felt to be your wife..." She saw him visibly gulp a few times and shyly placed her lips on his, of her own accord, for the very first time.
She felt his hold tighten in response as he slowly took over and started kissing her hard. His hand moved to her hair and he gripped it almost making her scream even as he thrust his tongue seeking entry which she gladly gave. It was not just love; it was gratitude for the words she just uttered. They were a solace, a balm to his raging heart. Each and every word drew out his hurt and then soothed it. He kicked open the door to their bedroom without breaking the kiss and dragged her inside. Today, for the first time he wanted to show her that he belonged only to her! As they came up for air he rapidly removed his clothes standing proudly naked in front of her. Then he took her hands and placed it on his almost telling her he was hers and never doubt that.
She had never done this before where she was clothed and he naked! So she started exploring, at first tentatively moving her fingers over his chest, his broad shoulders, his flat abs. Then she kissed him everywhere and licked him letting her tongue explore him. With utmost care she took off his glasses and taking his hand placed it on her waist. She rained kisses all over and as her tongue circled his nipples with a guttural groan he finally let go. He removed her long shirt in one go even tearing off some of the buttons and then everything else followed in a hurry. Soon his hands were everywhere and he wound his way to her breast caressing them and licking them even as he felt her writhe in his arms and arch towards him. He then lifted her and carried her to the bed where he made slow, tender love to her, paying homage to her body and soul as they peaked and climaxed together. And for the first time she had let him see her and make love to her in broad daylight! Later as she cuddled close to him he cradled her, "Thank you Nidhi, you saved me today, more than you will ever know!" He heard her sigh and knew sleep was fast claiming her. He drew her close, covered them with the duvet and placed her head on his shoulder. Her even breathing suggested she was already asleep. Gently running his fingers over her hair, sleep eluded him as he lay there thinking of his life for the last month. "Two months! It's been two months since we got married and I have never felt happier! Every thing is different so far! Is it the way Nidhi gives herself to me, so sweet and trusting! And me, I have never felt this satisfied before, not with Priya, not even in those first few months! Why is that? Is it because I love Nidhi a lot more and every time it's an act of love for me unlike with... when all Priya wanted was a quick tumble in the bed leaving a bad after taste of dis-satisfaction, there was never a soft caress! Or is it Nidhi's amazing shy manner that brings out the gentleness in me wanting to make each time special for both of us? I don't even feel ashamed anymore after I have such incredible s** with Nidhi! Did Priya leave me jaded? I used to feel suffocated after each time but now I feel liberated! But how can Nidhi be like this without love? Does this mean Nidhi loves and cares for me and is expressing that through her actions, her caresses... just like me! Each time makes me crave for more and not cringe at the thought of exposing myself. I took a huge risk today because I could not see Nidhi's tears and wanted to reassure her and she did not abuse it! Hope our actions are indeed speaking louder than words. Life with Priya got nauseating after 4-5 months, it should not happen this time. Today Nidhi over-shadowed some of Priya's insults. But this latest incident has shown me that Priya can still affect my life and it can transfer to Nidhi. Please God don't let me hurt Nidhi anymore! She is innocent! She is my love!"
With a deep sigh, he said the words out aloud to a sleeping Nidhi, words that were fighting to be released from his throat since they married, "I love you Nidhi!" Her soft moan was the only response he got! As he closed his eyes letting sleep claim him, he could not hear Priya's insulting allegations anymore, but only Nidhi's sweet, tender assurances... He was starting to feel whole again!
TO BE CONTINUED...
Friends, thank you very much for your continued support. Without you making the journey this far would not be possible. Hope you all read and like this chapter. Please continue to grace this thread with your comments and 'LIKE'. Thank you all once more.
Joined: 02 November 2010
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