Joined: 05 June 2012
On 4th February 2012, Shari (oaz30) started this FF - Destiny's Play. In different intervals she posted 19 parts of this story. But due to her busy schedule, she could not continue after that. I used to follow the story and fell in love with it. A few weeks back, finally I took a chance and asked her if I could continue and complete this FF. And she very graciously agreed. So, Shari, thank you so very much for trusting me with your baby.
Divya..what would I do without you buddy?!
And thank you Aarti (aardhan) for trying to teach me ABC in siggy making. And being my friend, my sounding board and my critic. Means a lot. Truly a big big hug!!
And above all, thank you my readers..each and every one of you. For your constant support and encouragement. You have always been and always will be my source of motivation.
Loads of Love,
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A Note to my readers
The original concept and storyline is Shari's and hers alone. This version has been rewritten keeping the essence intact. In the first four chapters there are portions directly taken from the original. There are two major changes though.
1. There is NO familial link between Nidhi and Ashutosh's father. So no baba ka makaan and no nana vs baba conflict.
2. Armaan here is Dr Armaan, Orthopaedic surgeon at KGH and of course, a very close friend of Ashutosh.
3. The age gap between Ashutosh and Nidhi has been reduced to 15 years.
Thank you all in advance for reading it. And hoping that you will like it too.
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Based in the beautiful locales of Lucknow and on the backdrop of a hospital setting, Destiny's Play is a different love story between two very different people with a substantial age gap. The story highlights the nuances of a complicated relationship when people with a huge age difference fall in love. A young, spirited Dr. Nidhi Verma [age 24] and a brooding and handsome Dr. Ashutosh [age 39]. Will Nidhi be able to break in through the fort that Ashutosh has built around himself? Will Ashutosh fight and win over his fears to claim the other half of his soul? Meet they did. And fell in love too. But for reasons best known to them, they parted ways.
"What's meant to be will always find a way." - Anonymous.
Destiny brought them back together once again after two years. Each clinging to the belief that despite the bitterness they felt whatever decision they had taken was for the welfare of the other. Not knowing that if man has decided something, there is always that thing called fate that comes in to change everything when you least expect it.
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Two years later: At KGH:
Slight knock at the door,
"Come in!" uttered a stern voice.
A 20 something slip of a girl shakily opens the door of Dr Ashutosh's office. She kept cursing her fate as to why she of all the people had to be the messenger to Dr Heartstone and as if it could not get worse, the message was from the Lucknow Orphanage, the only place according to rumours, where Dr Heartstone seemed to return to human form.
"Dr Aaashutosh..there is someone from Lucknow Orphanage as ...asking f...for you aaat the re reception desk." She stammered and chanting Hanuman Chalisa in her mind repeatedly. Jai Hanuman gyan gunsagar..jai kapisa tihu lok ujaaagar..Raam duta..duta.. Her chant also came to a stumbling halt as six foot of fury got up to glower down at her.
"The Orphanage? Why was not I paged? Are people in this hospital not aware of that simple thing called a pager?" he stomped out completely ignoring the nurse.
Ashutosh made his way
to the reception, his thoughts wandered to the orphanage, the only place he
could find some peace after that fateful encounter two years ago when he had,
with his own actions, ended what had been a temporary glimpse of heaven his
relationship with Nidhi Verma. She may have left his life but her memories were
buried in him
and these memories were what have been keeping him going till now.
Slowing his pace as he reached the reception desk, he could hear some commotion near it. As usual his first reaction was to look around for the staff ready to blast at them for their inability to cope with such a situation.
"Can't you see that we are dealing with a sick child? Is the paperwork more important? You need to rethink on your priorities lady!" said a very angry female voice.
Ashutosh remained rooted to the spot, his mind having gone to another time..almost two and half years ago, when he had heard that same voice in that same tone, but back then he had been at the receiving end of that anger.
"How can you say that? How can you believe that we are not meant to be together?" Her voice had been flat..almost emotionless.
He had his back turned away from her and tried not to think about what she was thinking..what was she feeling. "Nidhi, this relationship cannot go on. You are not accepting it but one way or other the differences between us will continue and love cannot conquer everything. You have your life to live! Why do you want to be stuck with someone like me? I am the cursed one. My life is full of examples to show i am not worthy of being loved. I never knew my parents, Baba the man who made me the man that I am left me! Why should I believe that what we have is special and that one day you too would not leave me?" Realizing how insecure and damn needy he sounded, he had hastened to add, "And I wouldn't blame you if that happened. Truly I wouldn't. This society is not going to welcome a relationship such as ours. I just..I just wish I had realized it sooner." But he hadn't. He hadn't stood a chance against that alluring nature and that impish smile of hers. He hardened his heart and uttered the next words.
"So it's best that we part ways before we both get hurt more. Mallika is right. Rohan would make a good match for you. Both of you are of the same age, share the same interests..like..like clubbing. You and I..we are poles apart in everything. I know that day you came to the concert even if you had no clue about classical music. How long will we sacrifice each other's choices?"
"That's enough!" she had shouted. He had been stunned at the fury in her tone and turned to her. She had then stared at him in that intent way of hers and he had hoped he didn't betray his real feelings. His love, longing and pain. Bone crippling pain. He didn't know what she saw on his face but a hard look had entered her eyes. And he knew. She was furious at him. His words had hurt her and no matter how much she was hurting she wanted to inflict the same kind of pain back.
"Dr Ashutosh, that's enough! I have been quiet that does not mean I am going to sit and allow you insult my feelings for you. Who are you to decide about who I should make a good pair with? Rohan has and will always be a friend. At least he knows the value of friendship. Who are you to say that the difference in age will be a problem, I have told you so many times that whatever problem may come our way we will deal with it together. You say those who loved you have left you, but right now, this minute, let me give you some news in case it has escaped that laser sharp mind of yours. YOU are the one who left in our relationship each time! When I needed you..when baba was sick no one could find you, yet I never lost hope." A lone tear trickled down her cheek and she swiped an angry hand over her face. "I trusted that my love would come back. Ultimately I hoped that you would be with me then but it never happened. Did I say anything then? No. You say baba left you. Why is my love to be blamed here as well?" At the point her voice had started to tremble and whirled away from him as if unwilling to let him see her thoughts on her face.
He hadn't known what to say after that. He knew he was doing the right thing, going away from her would grant her a better life. It had hurt him to say that Rohan would make a good match for her but the thoughts of the humiliations she would face if they stayed together had won over his feelings. His mind went back to all those times when they had met with the questioning glances of people seeing them together, the quiet murmurs on his age as well as hers. How long would they brush these aside? No! He had to end it. For her sake, he had to let go. He would go back to his world of loneliness. At least he would have her memories than watch her fade away with him, see her lose her youth just because she could not do things people of her age did. Oh he knew she would never utter any reproach but deep down he felt that their happiness would not be complete.
"Nidhi.." he said but she had never given him a chance to say more than that.
"No!" She had interrupted. "You have said your share. Now you listen Dr Ashutosh! I have tried so many times to show you that my love for you is no infatuation or idealisation. Each time I thought that I had succeeded, each time you proved me wrong. Why is it that my love is the only one being tested? Is it because I am younger? I ignored the taunts of Dr Mallika. I never told you about them as I know how this would hurt you. And whenever you sided and agreed with her without even hearing my side of things..do you know how much that hurt? How much you hurt me? You know what the bottom line is, Dr Ashutosh? Bottom line is you don't trust me. Or our love. And without trust..there is nothing." He had heard her take a deep breath and move her shoulders as if she were bracing herself for a crushing blow. And then he heard her words, "I am leaving you. You will find my resignation on your table first thing tomorrow morning. Goodbye Dr Ashutosh and..good luck."
With these words she had run from his office and he was left alone. He should have been happy his wish had come true. Nidhi would go and make a life for herself but no! All he had felt was a gaping hole in the place where his heart had resided and a vast emptiness as she walked away, taking his life with her.
"Dr Ashutosh"... "Dr Ashutosh"
His mind veered back to the present as he felt Dr Ranganath's insistent call. "What do we do about the child sir? She is not responding to the first treatment given."
With a final glance at her, he focused once again to what was the sole reason he lived for these days - his patients. The past had no place when the life of a child was at stake.
For Nidhi, seeing him had been a shock. He had not changed much, she had known that bringing the child to Kotnis meant the possibility of seeing him but she had been hoping not to. The past two years she had completed her internship at CCHH and had been doing her PG and now with the results pending, she had started working as a voluntary doctor at the orphanage. That place was the only link she had to him. While she had been doing her PG, one day the desperation to see him, be with him had almost overwhelmed her and after wandering aimlessly through the streets of Lucknow, she had landed up near the orphanage. One of the children there had been playing and fell down from the swing. She had seen that and rushed in. From that day onwards, she had spent every free moment she could spare in the orphanage. The sister there had mentioned that Dr Ashutosh rarely visited and she had relaxed and genuinely enjoyed spending time with those children. It had been a way for her to unwind after a long hard day of classes and hospital duties. She had made sure that their paths never crossed as she had promised him. But it seemed to her that someone out there had decided otherwise.
She knew that seeing her must have shocked him as well but looking at him now no one would guess what he was thinking. It had been the same that day in his cabin too. The day they had broken up. She had seen his eyes. She knew his words were hurting him too. Yet, he still said them. In that same neutral voice that he used whenever he didn't want others to read his thoughts and feelings. She had never wanted to enter medical world and to her, her internship had been TROUBLE with a capital T. Then he had come on her path! The man who had made her want to be not just a doctor but a good one at that. From the moment she had realised her feelings up to that fatal moment in his office she had never doubted her feelings for him and she thought that her love had been strong enough to conquer his insecurities but his words that day had proven her wrong.
The slight screech and roll of the stretcher brought her back to the present and her gaze once again fell on her ex-dean, Dr Ashutosh. The image the world saw was that of the diligent doctor setting out to do what he did best, save a life. She knew that she had to go. If she stayed too long, the staff would recognize her and questions would be asked as to why she was here and why she had left without even a goodbye to any of them. She was grateful that she at least got a glimpse of him and for his sake she had to go. With a final glance towards him she moved towards the exit knowing that this sight of him, bent over the small child listening to her chest with his steth as he instructed the nurse to get the IV ready, would be another of those memories she would cherish.
After a few hours they had managed to stabilise the child and shifted him to the paediatric ward. She would be under observation for a couple of days and later discharged. It was then, only then that he allowed himself to go back to that scene in the reception area. It had been her, her voice. The same determined tone and the same aggravation when things didn't go her way. He had been stunned at first sight but had ruthlessly put all his thoughts aside to concentrate on the child. When he finally allowed his eyes to look for her she was gone. Not that it was any great surprise. He knew that she would do whatever was needed to uphold her promise of staying away. Still he did something he knew he should not have, but he was human after all. He wanted to know if she was okay, how come she had brought that child, what had she been doing there. He quickly took his phone out and placed the call.
The orphanage had been a special place to both of them. Nidhi had known of his origins from the start and never did she look down upon it. The times they spent at the orphanage were the ones where they were themselves. No constraint from society..no insecurities.. He was lost in his thoughts and had not realised that the call had connected..
"Hello, Lucknow Orphanage, Sister Mary speaking."
"Sister, Dr Ashutosh here, I am calling about the child who was sent from the orphanage."
"Yes ...Ashutosh, after how long did you think of us, you no longer come these days," There was no accusation in her voice but Ashutosh felt guilty all the same. After Nidhi's exit from his life he had cut himself off from everything that would remind him of her. The hospital had become his sole reason to survive. Ignoring her query he continued,
"Sister, I'm happy to tell you that the child is better. It was a case of dehydration caused by the abdominal infection. Uh..sister..the lady who was with him.." he could not bring himself to continue
"Ah! You mean Dr Nidhi? But I thought you knew her Ashutosh? She used to accompany you whenever you used to come. You stopped but she continued. Every day after her college she used to come and spend time with kids and now that she is awaiting her results, she is able to spend more time with these children. The children would sure miss her once she clears her exams and joins some corporate hospital." She added not knowing the effect of every word on his listener.
Ashutosh abruptly hung up trying to absorb the words that the sister had just said. Nidhi went to college? That means she not only completed her internship but did her PG too? What branch? Paediatrics? Yes. She would've done that. She loves children, right? Even as he wondered at the twist of fate that once again brought her face to face with him, a surge of pride brightened his eyes. He had always known Nidhi was highly intelligent. This proved her capabilities beyond a shadow of doubt. She picked herself. She didn't let her heartbreak pull her down for long. He slowly opened a drawer and pulled out something. A picture... after two years he was looking at it again. It was a picture of the two of them at baba's house, at a time when they hoped to be together. Yet it was not meant to be.
She still had the same temper, he thought with a smile. And no one could mess with her when it concerned a sick child. He should know. When they had met for the first time.. He soft laugh caught him unawares. Met? The fact was, she burst into his life with all the subtlety of a lit string of firecrackers. The only difference? Firecrackers would have been less dangerous. To his heart. He had been a don't mess with me senior doctor and she, a brand new intern, who from the moment she stepped in his hospital had rubbed him the wrong way. But her dedication to the children and she sure had a way with the most wayward ones was something that equalled his. The massive showdown that they had about Shehenshah was what started their relationship. He had started to note everything about her, her crazy ideas on how to sick child throwing a temper tantrum to her willingness to above and beyond the call of duty in order to bring a smile on the faces of those children. But to him it seemed that the incident with Shehenshah had given her an entry in his world. Her ability to read him was something he ignored at first but she quickly wormed her way in his world and his heart. She still was his heart and that was something he could never acknowledge to her, for her own sake. Nidhi had completed her PG and is moving on in her life. It was just a matter of time before she married someone..someone closer to her age.. He ignored the stab of pain in the region of his heart. Yes. It was for the best.
Little did he know that there were two people out there, who were planning to give destiny a helping hand. Dr Ranganath was the only one who knew the reason why Dr Ashutosh had once again during these past two years returned in Dr Heartstone mode. Back then he had noted the attraction Ashutosh and Nidhi had shared. And from Anji, he knew that something had happened and clearly both of them were not happy irrespective of their contrary assertions. During the two years that had elapsed, Anji and Ranganath had married after Anji had accepted the fact that behind the facade of the flirt was a sensitive man who genuinely cared for her.That night, during their dinner, Ranganath told Anji about what happened in the hospital. "You know, that time when Dr Ashutosh realised that it was Nidhi standing in front of him.." he gestured his fork in emphasis as he continued, "This was the first time in these past two years that I saw a flicker of real emotion on his face. He was not the same man who scares the living daylights out of the staff and interns. After we managed to stabilise the patient his first look was for her." Ranganath shook his head and sighed. "And it was painful to see him when he realised that she was not there." He looked at his wife who refused to comment. According to her, Ashutosh was the man who had broken her best friend's heart and stomped on it just to make sure. "At times I wonder why does it seem that two people are so meant to be together are apart. Ab..hum dono ko hi dekhlo. We managed to get over our doubts, didn't we Anji?"
Anji got up from the table and started clearing the plates and bowls. "Humaari baat alag thi Ranganath. And I don't want to talk about him anymore. Jab bhi Nidhi ka udaas chehra dekhti hoon.." She left the rest of the sentence unsaid and went off into the kitchen.
Ranganath looked at his wife's departing back. He knew that his Anji would not agree but at times love was not the only thing that was needed. It had worked in their case but that did not mean it would for everyone. These two had suffered enough and it was time they realised that. He needed to think on a proper plan though.
So..that was the first chapter. Hope you all like it. Comments / criticisms welcome.
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