Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Lying in their respective bed, Abhi and Nikki were just unable to sleep. They kept tossing and turning as the heat and passion of their kiss was still burning within them.

Even though they were at different places, far away from each other, they were on in thoughts. "The evening went off so beautifully but why is there a feeling of incompleteness," they wondered

Abhi reached for his cell wondering if he should call her.

What should he say? what if she's asleep?’

Dying to hear her voice but apprehensive about calling her so late, made him pull the pillow over his face in frustration.

Nikki, on the other hand, kept staring at her cell phone, hoping he would call. ‘Has he gone to sleep?’ she wondered ‘ Can’t he even call ?’ She scowled at the innocent phone.

Unable to bear the nagging thoughts, Abhi finally sent her a text

Are you asleep? Just remembered, I meant to say thanks for making it to dinner’

Ah! Finally some communication from him! Nikki smiled as she read his message.

‘Was about to sleep. Thanks for the invitation. I had a nice time’ she replied.

‘Yeah, Yeah, Sleeping Beauty!’ Abhi shook his head as he read her message.

"Hope all that chocolate doesn't deprive the beauty of her sleep. Goodnight and Sleep Well!" was his reply to her.

Colour crept into Nikki's cheek as she read it. “Not the chocolate Dr. Modi, its You!” she mumbled to herself.

"Some sins are worth committing. Will try to live with it. Goodnight to you too." she bit her lower lip coyly as she sent her reply.

A wide grin spread on Abhi's face. He always knew there was something different and special about her. Happy and satisfied, they shut their eyes and drifted off to sleep dreamily taking the passion of their kiss along with them.

The next day in Sanjeevani, the very same kiss made them feel awkward and nervous to face each other. So, they avoided meeting each other. However, sometime in the after, Nikki was missing Abhi and during her break time, went in search of him. She hoped for a glimpse of him but was told he had gone out for a meeting.

Clutching her favourite diary close to her heart, she sadly made her way to the canteen. Armaan and the gang were having fun. Lost in thoughts of Abhi, she was did not participate in their jokes. Riddhima noticed her friend's lack of interest and excusing herself from the gang, pulled Nikki outside the canteen.

“What is the matter Nikki? Why are you so sad and lost?” she asked

"Nothing !" replied morose Nikki.

"What's the matter, why are you both here ?” Armaan’s voice from behind startled them and they realized he had followed them. “ Is there some secret ?'

They exchange a worried glance and then look at Armaan.

"Nothing, Nothing at all!" they blurted in unison.

"Look you better tell me or else I know how to get it out from both of you,” warned a suspicious Armaan.

Hands on their hips, they look defiantly at him. "Really ? what could you do ?" they challenged.

Armaan teasingly took his face closer to Riddhima surprising the two girls. Seeing Nikki watching them with faint amusement, he tugged at the diary she was holding catching her unawares. Taken aback, she clung tightly to the diary and hollered, "Armaan, leave this, "

"First tell me what you both are upto and then I'll leave it," Armaan teased

"Leave it Armaan!" Riddhima angrily yelled at Armaan unable to watch them do a tug-of-war with the diary and knowing it was personal and important to Nikki

Armaan abruptly, let go off the diary at Riddhima's angry outburst and with his sudden release, Nikki reeled backwards into a pair of strong arms that held her firmly from behind and preventing her from falling. The arms were so easily recognisable as she dreamed often of burying herself into them and never leaving their have. After he had steadied her, Abhi looked down at Nikki. Happy to see him and mesmerised, she began to drown into his eyes. Abhi cleared his throat as he saw the others staring at them.

"Dr. Nikita, Dr. Armaan, when will you both stop playing around like kids in the hospital corridor" he reprimanded sternly

Dr. Modi its our free time now" Armaan retorts while Nikki and Riddhima, exchange anxious looks.

"Well Dr. Armaan you are given a place to be during your free time,” Abhi told him calmly. “You can do whatever you like there. Do spare the hospital corridors!"

"OK Boss, point taken" says reply with a saccharine smile.

Abhi looked wryly at him and then at Nikki. He turned to leave but after a thought swirled back and said ot Armaan. "whenever you are free, I need to talk to you !"

The other three look at him with surprise

“Well, why don't we do it right away ?" Armaan replied

"Then, let's go to my cabin"

Standing outside Abhi's cabin, Nikki, Riddhima, Muskaan and Atul eavesdrop on their conversation.

"I need to throw a party,” Abhi told Armaan. “and I would like you to organise it"

"Woah ! Woah !” Armaan was taken by surprise. “ Dr. Abhimanyu Modi and asking me to organise a party!"

"Some things should be handled only by experts! Since you are good at this kind of stuff I would like you to handle it" He told him with a wry smile.

Armaan was stunned to receive a compliment from ‘The Dr. Modi’ The peeping interns are stunned too. They look at each other.

“However, if this thing comes in between your duties in Sanjeevani or you are unable to handle it, Please do let me know!" Abhi told them. "I don't want your work to suffer. "

"No problem at all Boss ! when should we have it?"

"Next Friday is a holiday, so we can have it on Thursday night,” replied Abhi. “You can get the guest list from my assistant"

"Ok Boss !" Armaan agreed

"Thank you !" Abhi told him extending his hand towards Armaan. Nikki was happy to see them having a warm handshake.

Nikki had almost finished for the day. All she needed to do was to get Dr. Keerti to sign her patient's file and she would be done fully. A nurse informed her that Dr. Keerti left for the day so she'll have to take Dr. Modi's signature. Nikki knocked on Abhi's cabin door and entered.

Being by themselves, they were reminded of the previous night’s kiss and stare awkwardly at each other. Summoning courage, Nikki told him he needs to sign on the papers. Abhi went through the file and questioned her on why a certain pill was mentioned on it. Nikki went blank for a brief moment. She went around to Abhi’s side and leaning closer to him, pored over the file. Abhi was finding it difficult to take his eyes off her lovely face and kept staring mesmerised at her. Feeling the heat of his gaze on her, Nikki looked shyly at him and they ended up staring at each other for a long time. Abhi finally averted his gaze and looked back into the file.

Straightening up Nikki explains to him that the pill is prescribed as an alternative. Acknowledging it with the shake of his head, he signs the papers and hands over the file to Nikki. Nikki thanks him and turns to leave, when he stands up and softly calls her name. She swirled and looked questioningly at him.

"You know we have to leave for Lonavla tomorrow," he informed.

Nikki first went blank again and then her eyes began to gleam mischievously.

"Oh, I'm sorry but no one asked me,” she said with a straight face.

Abhi's brows furrowed in puzzlement, "You know Uncle mentioned yesterday about we all going to Lonavla"

"Yeah thats because you all are family,” Nikki agrees “However, you haven't asked me as yet ! You know I could be busy too!" he replied and then realised she was teasing him.

"Nikki, I am so sorry. I forget how busy you are" He said with mock pleading and clasping his hand together in front of his chest

Nikki was enjoying the pleading in his tone. It sounded like music to her!
‘Go On Dr. Modi, you can beg a little more!’ she mentally told him.

"I wish you could come with us to the beautiful scenic Lonavla,” Abhi continued to implore

“But if you can't,” he paused long and deliberately,

"It is absolutely okay!" There was a sudden cool nonchalance in his voice making a dumfounded Nikki's eyes pop wide.

"I'll make some excuse to Uncle and Aunty for your not coming," He told her wryly. They stare indignantly at each other

A knock made them turn towards the door and were surprised to see Simi enter.

"Abhi, I was passing by and thought I'll check if you are around,” Simi informed.

She noticed Nikki in the room and the two of them standing close to each other. "Oh so romance in the office ! Can't you both wait for tomorrow. I hear Lonavla is beautiful and romantic in the rains"

Colour seeped into their faces as they looked at each other.

"Nikki you coming, aren't you ?" Simi asked with a smile

“Yes” Nikki hollered in quick desperation ‘Simi and Abhi in romantic Lonavla! No way!’ she shuddered at the thought.

Abhi and Simi’s startled expressions told her, her reply was way too loud than needed.

“Well, Of course I am coming!” possessively, she wrapped her hand around Abhi's arm and smiled sweetly at the other two. "After all I am part of the family now"

Abhi was finding it difficult to suppress his amusemnet. Nikki frowned at him knowing he was enjoying her discomfort.

"Why don't you lovebirds show me around Mumbai,” Simi interrupted. “You both are done right ?" Nikki and Abhi nod their head in confirmation.

"Let's go !" she said.

In the corridor they met Armaan who pulled her aside telling her he needed to speak urgently to her on something important. Nikki glanced helplessly to Abhi.

Armaan saw Abhi and Simi waiting and said. "Its okay Dr. Modi you carry on"

“Armaan......” Nikki interjected but Armaan continued to talk to Abhi.

"I only needed to speak to Nikki, you can carry on !"

Nikki and Abhi exchanged unhappy and dejected looks.

"Then shall we go Nikki?" Simi asked

Nikki was in a dilemma. She wanted to be with Abhi but Armaan may have something important to tell her. Reluctantly she nodded her head and saw the hopeful look in Abhi's eyes turn to dejection.

"Let's go Abhi" Simi said. He darted a cold, angry glance at Nikki and followed Simi. With eyes filled with sadness, Nikki watched him walk away.

"Is this Modi's girlfriend ?" Armaan asked and the question irritated Nikki.

"What is it Armaan?” she snapped in irritation “What did you want to speak to me about ?"

"Oh about the party! You know Modi has asked me to organise it?” he told her happily. “He seems to have changed a lot!"

"Couldn't this wait?" Nikki interjected unhappily, upset that Simi was with Abhi instead of her.

"Woah ! whats the matter with you ?" Armaan asked puzzled at her sudden ill-temper. “Why are you looking so upset ?"

"Nothing !” she murmured “I just have a bad headache ! I want to go home now"

"Oh I am sorry, didn't know that,” Armaan consoled “ You go home, we'll talk some other time"

Disillusioned and disheartened, Nikki went home. That night she didn’t hear anything from Abhi.

Next morning 7 am, she is woken up by the ring of the phone.

"Is the beauty up or should I send her Prince to wake her up?" Adi’s cheerful voice, brought a smile on Nikki’s face.

"Good morning !" she greeted him. “Raring to go!

"Good ! Well we'll pick you up at 8.30. Will you be ready by then ?” Adi asked.

“Yes Sir!” Nikki confirmed .

She quickly tossed a few things into her overnight bag and went to shower.

At 8.30 am, when Abhi drove in, she was waiting on the porch. Alighting from the front seat, Adi took the bag from Nikki and invites her to sit in the front beside Abhi. While Nikki and Sheetal greeted each other, Adi put the bag in the boot and sat beside Sheetal. After exchanging a casual "hi" with her, Abhi started the car and they were soon on the way to Lonavla

Inspite of the strain between Abhi and Nikki, the four enjoyed themselves. Adi entertained them by cracking jokes and they would soon in splits. On and off he would embarrass Abhi and Nikki by teasing them. The drive to Lonavla was breath-stoppingly scenic with beautiful waterfalls gushing down from tiny cliffs along the way. They stopped at a couple of places to get themselves photographed. With the fun and excitement, the strain between Abhi and Nikki eased out.

Finally, they reached the house that they were to stay for the night. The house was huge. After the group freshened up, they set off again in two cars for lunch and sightseeing.

On their way back to the house, the narrow cliff was filled with lots of tourists. The vehicles were moving at a snail pace and then after some time there was a traffic jam, the vehicles completely at a halt.

Frustrated with the non-movement of the vehicles ahead, Abhi got off the car and walked to the front of it his bottoms leaning against the bonnet. Soon Adi joined him, while Sheetal and Nikki chatted inside the car.

Every now and then Abhi would turn and look at Nikki. Sensing him looking at her, she too would look at him and exchange smiles.

"Khullam Khulla !" Adi teased A red faced Abhi dug his elbow into Adi's stomach.

"If you love her so much why don't you tell her ?" Adi told him.

Abhi blushed. After a deep thought he asked "Should I?"

"Its about time !"

"Ok. Once we get out of this traffic and after dropping you, I'll take Nikki up there?" he smiled as he pointed towards the other cliff. He was now a Man with a mission.

Adi gave a short wolf whistle. "That would be great !"

"But the others ?" Abhi asked

"don't worry about them I'll handle them,” he assured turning and after darting a smile at Nikki, turned back and winked at Abhi. “You handle the one you need to handle"

They exchange mischievous smiles.

The traffic began to clear up and they went back to their seats. Belting himself, Abhi smiled at Nikki who returned him a shy smile.

As they neared the house Abhi looked at Adi through the driving mirror and winked.

"Shall we go up to Lion's point ?" he asked.

"Er, Sheetal seemed tired,” says Adi, taking the cue and sent a signal to Sheetal by pressing her hand. “she needs rest, you both go ahead.”

"Yeah Abhi” Sheetal confirmed having understood her husband's message. “I am feeling drained out"

"Then shouldn't we go later?" Nikki said worriedly.

"No No” Adi replied. “it will get too dark . You'll miss the beautiful view."

"Yeah, yeah go ahead, I am absolutely fine," Sheetal assured her.

When Sheetal and Adi alighted at the house, Adi winked at Abhi bringing a curve on Abhi's lips as he smiled.

Nikki was amazed at the ease which Abhi drove up the hill.

“How do know the place so well?” she asked him.

“My maternal grandmother used to live in Mumbai. Whenever we came down to visit her, we would often drive off to Lonavla and nearby hill stations”

Nikki was amazed by the panoramic view of the valley as they drove up. At some places there were stop points where people would get off and enjoy the waterfalls.

"Oh God, this is heaven!" she exclaimed taking in breathtaking view as they drove higher.

"The best is yet to come!" Abhi told her with a smile. Nikki looked at him with curiousity but he doesn't clear it.

“Wait and watch!” his eyes dance mischievously.

A few minutes into the drive, they passed another stop point where there was a crowd of tourist enjoying the view along with tea and snacks from the local stalls. The whole place was misty and cold. Nikki wrapped the end of her cardigan around her as she began to shiver.

“Thank god she wore her cardigan over her strappy top and jeans.’she thought. She knew it would get cold in Lonavla.

She was surprised to see their car being engulfed in clouds. The road got lonely. There were no cars or people around. There was absolutely no visibility of the road ahead.

"What is this ? Where are we ?" she asked Abhi, anxiety making her shiver even more.

"Now, This is what I call heaven!" Abhi said with a smile

"Why aren't there any cars or people ?" she asked.

"That was the last stop point, Whoever carries on beyond that point does so at their own risk. We are thousands of feet high in the clouds on an unprotected cliff. We don't know the road ahead. One wrong move and we may just fall down in the valley" He spoke so casually as if he was talking of something else and no them being in midst of it. Nikki was amazed at his composure while she had butterflies in her stomach.

"Abhi don't scare me. I'll kill you. You can't do this!"

"Afraid to die with me?" He asked with an impish smile.

Nervous yet thrilled, Nikki put her hand on his arm. Intimidated by the lack of visibility outside, she shut her eyes and put her head on his shoulder.

Abhi stopped the car. He looked down at Nikki who was clinging on to his arm and digging her face into his shoulder blade. Putting his finger under her chin, he gently pushed her face up.

"Are you frightened?"

Nikki was soothed and drawn by his bewitching eyes. "No, Now I am not"

"Inspite of knowing that one slip and we both could fall into the valley?" he teased.

"No I am not scared!” she replied firmly. Abhi grinned.

A cloud passed by. Just before another cloud could engulf them, Nikki noticed they were on the top most point of the hill. Adrenaline punched inot her as she took in the spectacular grandeur of nature.

She was in the clouds, at thousands of feet high, in one of the most beautiful valleys of Western India, with the Man she Loved! What else could she ask for!. ‘ She closed her eyes in bliss and contenment.

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