COMA.....that is all he could hear. His hearing was playing games. He was tired, those sleepless nights and the travel maybe. He did not want to believe what he had heard. He wished he could scream at the top of his lungs and fling everything lying in front of him. Was it a joke.....because if it was..... it wasn't funny? His Nikki....his love....his life....his breath.
Nikki was in as coma? Accident? He could not believe this was happening to him. The woman he loved more than life was lying in this very hospital in a state he wouldn't wish his worst enemy ever. This could not be happening.....not to him, not to her, not to them.
Looking at the color drain from Abhimanyu's face and pain reflect in his eyes, Dr. Shashank is taken aback. He gets up from his chair and comes around to the other side calling Abhi. "Dr. Modi" he says once but Abhi is too much in shock to register. The older doctor places his hand on Abhimanyu's shoulder and shakes him gently.
"Dr. Modi....are you Ok?" he asks confused, wondering why the head of Sanjeevani had taken this news so hard.
"I....I am sorry" Abhimanyu whispers trying to concentrate on Shashank's voice and words rather that the waves of pain which were making it difficult for him to breathe.
"Dr. Modi.....is everything alright? You seem to be shaken" Dr. Shashank says gently to the younger man, not wanting to give away how concerned he was at his reaction.
"I .....I will be fine.....Nikki?" he tries to recover and bites out her name in pain.
"Unfortunately Dr. Modi.....two days ago in the middle of the afternoon, Dr. Nikita left Sanjeevani and her duties and just vanished.....I think she was driving carelessly and to avoid a lorry she must have swerved and crashed. They found her badge on her and rushed her here but Dr. Modi.....it's not good news....nothing is.....sometimes I feel she intended this" Dr. Shashank delivers the story in a somber tone and Abhimanyu shakes his head in disbelief.
"How bad?" he asks him wanting to know everything.
"She is not responding Dr. Modi......I operated on her and since that time she is not waking up....I am half scared she does not want to wake up.....the head injuries were minor......not much brain damage so I expected her to wake up soon but it has already been two days......I was looking at her brain scans and see a few nerves which have been pressed......I don't think that should be the problem though" Dr. Shashank explains the case to him.
"Swelling?" he asks not trusting himself to speak much but the doctor in him comes to the fore.
"Luckily no......you know Dr. Modi....though her car is totally damaged .....she was very lucky to escape with her face intact" Dr. Shashank tell him and Abhimanyu thanks god for his mercy.
"If the injuries are minor then why is she not waking?" Abhimanyu questions.
"Dr. Modi.....that is what is troubling me too" he passes her CT scan to him and Abhimanyu too pores over it."If this continues.....I am afraid there is a possibility of her being paralyzed" he goes further.
Looking intently at the scan Abhimanyu remarks, "There was no internal bleeding?"
"No" Dr. Shashank shakes his head.
"That's what Dr. Modi......it's weird.,..... she should have been up by now" he shakes his head.
Abhimanyu massages his head trying to think, "Anything else?" he asks finally.
"Dr. Modi.....her legs.....they are injured too but the good news is that with rest and time they will hea......there are a lot of scratches and small injuries but I am not worried about that" Dr. Shashank tells him the full extent of her injuries.
"We need her to wake up.....as soon as possible" Abhimanyu repeats and Dr. Shashank nods.
"She needs to Dr. Modi.....also one more thing....do u see this nerve here......it has me a bit worried too......I don't know how much she will remember once she wakes up" he tells him gently and Abhimanyu gulps hard, urging himself to breathe.
"You mean all memory would be wiped out......is that what you are worried about?" he asks slowly.
"I have no idea Dr. Modi......I am just a bit concerned......it's nothing critical but the way it is going who knows what will happen.....I am going to wait another 12 hours and then go from there.....just hope that she regains consciousness till then" he tells him and Abhimanyu nods his head.
He gets up abruptly from his chair and extends his hand to Dr. Shashank who shakes it and pats him on the back.
"I will go and visit her now" Abhimanyu tells him and Dr. Shashank nods wordlessly.
Once out of Dr. Shashank's cabin, Abhimanyu walks towards the ICU, in numb shock. His feet walking of their own accord in the right direction.
"You will regret this" were her last words to him and was she right. Regret......he understood what it meant......each syllable. He walked in a daze and reached the ICU. The nurse in charge took him to Nikita's bedside and tears sprang in his eyes, looking at the beautiful girl lying in the bed before him hooked into innumerable machines.
He was the reason she was here. He had told her to get lost and that he didn't want to see her face again. He gently told the nurse that he wanted to be alone for the time being and the nurse leaves him alone with Nikki.
Very slowly he walks to her side and sits on the stool beside her bed. He takes her hand in his, careful not to disturb any machines. She was such a small person and in the midst of all the machines she looked frail. He kisses her on the forehead and sits back.
"I am sorry Nikki.....please wake up" and finally his tears spill. He had held his pain in check for so long that he almost believed that is how he was bound to live. Tears of guilt, sorrow and regret, all mingled emotions flowed freely.
"I am really very sorry Nikki.....don't punish me like this......please wake up" he implored her. He had landed the chirpy, naughty and beautiful girl in this position. His anger. It had been him who had thrown the cruelest jabs at her and broke her heart and made her angry and careless. If anything happened to his precious Nikki he would never be able to forgive himself.
"Please Nikki......I can't live without you......please......I love you Nikki.....sweetheart wake up" he kept talking to her. He sat on her side for an hour, forgetting all his meetings. Tears stopped but their cleansing power did not heal the pain, the guilt or the sorrow. Looking at her lying on the bed racked him with guilt and the pain came back tenfold. Lost in his misery, Abhimanyu lost track of time.
A gentle touch on his shoulder brought him out of his torturous thoughts. He looked up into Armaan's blue eyes.
"Dr. Modi" his pain filled voice addressed him and Abhimanyu tried to hide his pain from Armaan.
"Dr. Malik" he responded in and expressionless voice. The intense hatred he had for Armaan was refusing to come to the fore to replace his pain.he wanted to hate the man in front of him, for making him fight with Nikki but he knew and understood that it was not Armaan's fault but his own. In that instance he realized that Nikki's helpless situation was because of them. Their stupid egos. He disentangled his hand from Nikki's and got up and faced Armaan.
"Dr. Modi......can I talk with you....please?" Armaan asked him, his eyes pained. Abhimanyu nodded and Armaan shook his head.
"Not here.....lets go someplace else" he requested and immediately Abhimanyu's eyes darted towards Nikki's form lying in the hospital bed. His heart refused to leave her side.
"Maybe later" Abhimanyu countered, his eyes not leaving Nikki's face. She looked asleep. Peacefully asleep. Such peace never reflected on her face when she was awake. He had made sure with his cutting barbs that she didn't achieve it. What had he done? He had shoved his love into the jaws of death and just because she was not able to stand up for him? He was the biggest fool alive.
Abhimanyu closed his eyes in pain and Armaan's gentle touch on his shoulder reminded him of his presence.
"Please...now......I have to tell you something" Armaan implored and Abhimanyu is taken aback at his demeanor.
"Ok" he whispers and follows him out of the ICU, on the way instructing the nurse that if there was any change in Dr. Nikita's condition, he should be the first one to be informed. Armaan leads the way and the two men walk in silence. Armaan and Abhimanyu reach the terrace and refuse to face each other. Both stall for as long as possible and finally Armaan sits on the small wall overlooking the town. Abhimanyu too sits facing him. Both men refuse to look at each other, wondering how to face the other.
"I did this to her" finally Armaan speaks up and Abhimanyu looks at him surprised.
"Yeah.....when she got out of your cabin that day.....I told her that she didn't respect herself and made her mad.......I should have stopped her......I almost killed my best friend" Armaan's eyes fill with tears and he looks away. Abhimanyu grips his hands.
"It wasn't you Armaan.....it was me......I fought with her.....she tried to make everything right but I never listened to her......I told her that she was as good as dead for me" he tells Armaan, each word laced with pain. Armaan listens to him and pats his hand.
"She told me that the both of us were not worth her love.....she was right Dr. Modi......look where our love landed her" Armaan continues, finally able to talk to the one person who he knew would understand his guilt as he was racked with the same emotion.
The former enemies were fighting a losing battle with time and kismet over the woman they loved. Their love for her could never make them friends but the pain of losing her was bringing them closer and putting into light the fact that it was Nikki and her happiness which they should have given importance to not their hatred for each other. Both were sitting and thinking how their stupidity had landed Nikki to the door of death.
Abhimanyu is silent for sometime and Armaan too is lost in his thoughts.
"I told her I didn't love her" Abhimanyu finally confesses. Armaan looks at him surprised. "You told her that......I never believed it when Riddhima told me that you both loved each other.....can you ever forgive me for coming between the two of you?" their shared pain over the girl they loved finally making the two realize how stupid they both had been.
Abhimanyu smiled a wary smile. "If she wakes up.....I can forgive anyone anything Armaan.......all I want is her to come back to me" he looks at Armaan who nods his agreement.
"I am sorry Dr. Modi....I want her back too.....I want my best friend back too" he turns away trying to hide his pain. Silence prevails again between the two.
"Dr. Malik.....I am sorry too" Abhimanyu apologizes and finally the two men who had not let Nikki have a moment of peace, flinging each other's name at her, forgive each other.
"I need to go back to her" Abhimanyu states and Armaan nods. They both enter the ICU and sit on either side of Nikki who still refused to wake up. After sometime a heavy hearted Armaan resumes his duties and so does Abhimanyu but both the men take turns visiting Nikita and keeping each other updated on her condition.
Abhimanyu's eyes refuse to leave the clock, praying with fervor for Nikki to wake within the stipulated 12 hours. He is unable to concentrate on his work and is pacing in his cabin when Armaan enters with her latest scans and reports.
"Armaan any news?" he asks her hoping he would shake his head a yes. "Not as yet Dr. Modi......here are her scans...... there is no swelling or blood in her brain.....I just can't understand why she is not waking up" he shows him the scan and questions frustrated.
Abhimanyu pores over it and messages his head. "This girl is going to kill me......let's go Armaan.....I can't wait here anymore" he leads the way to the ICU and Armaan follows.
"What can we do?" Armaan asks.
"I don't know.....but I can't concentrate on anything......I am going to sit here" Abhimanyu tells him and both start their vigil at her bedside.
"Nikki......get up sweetheart.....please" Abhimanyu paces in her room.
"Fight with us Nikki" Armaan talks to her.
The other interns too walk in and start praying for their friend to get up. Looking at Abhimanyu so bothered, Muskaan asks Armaan what he was so concerned about. Armaan leads them outside leaving Abhimanyu beside Nikki and tells them the truth about Abhi and Nikki.
"Oh my god.....you two idiots.....beasts" Muskaan starts hitting Armaan as soon as he finishes with his story.
"What?" Armaan asks confused.
"You two landed her in this position?" Anjie says shocked.
"Look I didn't know that she loved him.....she didn't say anything" Armaan tells them but they shake their head.
"You and Modi should be whipped and then those wounds should be covered with salt and I would personally like to sprinkle mirchi powder on it" Muskaan says hitting Armaan again.
"I hope she wakes up soon" Atul and Riddhima chime in.
"This was low Armaan" Rahul shakes his head.
"I know" Armaan looks at them serious, "You can't say anything I haven't said to myself......but guys I hope she wakes up soon.....it's just an hour more to the time Dr. Shashank gave her" he looks worried and Riddhima goes close to him.
"Let's just pray guys" she leads them to the idol near the reception and all her friends, with tears in their eyes pray for her to wake up.
In her room, Abhimanyu closes his eyes and folds his hand in prayer. "Please wake up Nikki.....I love you.....I love you a lot" he tells her again and again knowing that the doctors had done their part and now it was all a matter of time.
12 hours pass and Dr. Shashank visits Nikki and all the interns and Abhimanyu wait with bated breath. Abhi's heart hammers wildly and he waits with bated breath to hear what Dr. Shashank had to say about her condition.
As soon as he takes her wrist, Nikki stirs and very slowly in front of everyone who loved her immensely Nikki opens her eyes. A collective sigh of relief escapes the people standing around her and all eyes tear up with happiness.
Armaan and Abhimanyu rush to her side. "Hi Nikki" Armaan smiles and she returns his smile.
"Hey Nikki" Abhi's soft voice makes her look towards his side and she gives a blank look at him. He touches her face gently but she shies from his touch and grips Armaan's hand.
"A.....Armaan.....who is he?" she asks confused and looks at Abhi as if seeing him for the first time.
"Nikki......it's Abhimanyu......your Abhi" Armaan tells the girl who is looking at him with question in her eyes.
"My Abhi?" she asks and Armaan nods.
"Then why can't I remember him? A....Armaan.....I .....I can't remember him" she says teary eyed and Abhi's eyes and heart fill with pain. His love had forgotten him.