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Authors: Madhur Nevatia

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SIX

 

 

While the
nurse continued to prepare the instruments that would be needed, Sameera went
through the X-rays and other medical reports along with the orthopedic
surgeon’s prescriptions.

She glanced
at Gautam. She was used to seeing patients in much worse condition and though
she would treat them with empathy, she would always retain her composure. The
effect he had on her, on the other hand, was quite unusual. Her heart was
beating rapidly as if she herself was in some sort of agony. Deep in her heart,
she was glad that he had come here and that she could help him, but then,
wasn’t she trained for this? After all, he was no stranger, though their first
meeting was far from pleasant. She could not avert her gaze; her eyes lingered
on him. He was so stern and aloof in Delhi but now, in his khaki shorts and
blue linen shirt, lying on the cot in obvious pain, he looked not only young
and vulnerable but incredibly handsome. The ruffled curly hair, messy stubble
and casual clothes lent him a boyish charm. He looked much more real and she
was captivated by his big, brown, melting eyes.
How come I did not notice
his eyes in Delhi?

Her patient
groaned.

Sameera
found her nurse staring at her with a bewildered look. Though it was impossible
for the nurse to read her thoughts, she was embarrassed. This was truly
exceptional. This rude, arrogant guy who obviously did not hold her in high
esteem and was desperate to get away from her clinic had set her heart aflutter.
She was determined to keep things strictly professional.

As she
regained her composure, she sat down near Gautam, gently touching his knee.
“This will not hurt, just relax and don’t think about anything. I will start
very slowly. Today, I’ll just treat your knee for the pain and the swelling. I
am putting a gel on your knee so that the instrument is lubricated and does not
cause friction.” Gautam nodded. “Now, I will gently move this metal plate on
your knee. This is called short wave diathermy where the temperature will be
greatly increased in your tissues by oscillating electric current of very high
frequency. This will help ease your pain just like a hot water bag, but more
effectively. Please tell me if you feel any discomfort.” Gautam nodded mutely
again.

Sameera
continued the therapy gently for ten minutes. Then she felt his ankles with her
long slender fingers, touching so softly that he could hardly register the
touch except for the flutter it set off in his heart. She repeated the therapy
on his ankles. The effect was soothing; his eyes felt heavy with sleep.

“Done.”
Sameera slid one hand behind his back, the other behind his shoulder and
expertly helped him sit up.

This time,
he was surprised at her strength. She looked too delicate and fragile to be
able to handle a big man like him so comfortably. Meticulously, she untied the
sling which held the cast in his right arm and then deftly retied it,
explaining the exact position in which it should be carried to provide maximum
support.

Gautam
reluctantly admitted to himself that she was not bad at her work; in fact she
seemed to know what she was doing. Her touch was light as a feather and soothed
his skin like a balm. Her movements were gentle and swift. He felt no pain. She
could handle him all alone and spoke softly yet so firmly that it left no room
for dissent. This was her turf and she was in complete control. He could not
believe that she was the same Sameera he had met a couple of weeks ago. How
could one person be so different in two settings? Was it really her?

“Would you
like to come back tomorrow?”

“No, I
definitely would not
like
to come back tomorrow. Why would anyone
like
to come here?” Gautam was taken aback by his own irate tone and caustic
reaction. Just her presence transformed him into some kind of a monster.

“Sorry. That
is not what I meant; of course you would never want to come here if you could.
But, you will need several more therapy sessions before you can get back to
work and normalcy.”

Gautam felt
like an errant child and could not bring himself to meet her eyes. He could
have handled it better if she had snapped back at him.

“Right now,
you are really sore. Please rest and I will try to get you an appointment with
my colleague for tomorrow. My nurse will call and confirm in the morning. In
the meantime, remember to keep your arm absolutely still and restrict movement
as much as possible. Take your painkillers, take care, and try to relax.” She
turned around and walked off.

If it wasn’t
for her lingering fragrance, it could have been just a dream.


 

SEVEN

 

 

It was
evening and Sameera was late for her pilates class with Tanya. The sessions
were held in an ultra-modern studio with air conditioning, concealed lighting,
wooden flooring and gleaming mirrors all along the walls. Since the session had
already started, Sameera slid in discreetly, passed several lycra-clad girls
holding big exercise balls between their ankles, located Tanya, and flopped onto
the mat next to her. Tanya was engrossed in her regimen, doing leg raises with
the ball. Sameera was distracted; her mind replayed the events of the day and
she was impatient for the class to be over.

“You won’t
believe what happened today,” she whispered to Tanya who continued with her leg
raises.

“Shhhh. Just
wait for the class to be over,” Tanya whispered fiercely.

Sameera
barely went through the motions and sprang into action only when the session
came to an end. Tanya walked over to her. “What happened? Why are you late
again?” They rolled their mats and put the balls back in place. “On second
thoughts, you don’t even need this exercise. You are already strong, tall and
lean; this is meant for weak, short and plump creatures like me.”

Sameera
pulled her friend’s rosy cheeks. “
Arre paagal
, you are perfect.
Kamaal
lagti ho
. Let’s grab coffee at Barista first, and then I’ll tell you what
happened.”

They found a
corner table in Barista and settled down comfortably.

“Guess who
came into my clinic today?”

“Some star?”

“Not from
Bollywood.”

“Hollywood?”

“No silly,
no star. Guess again.”

“No guesses,
spill
yaar
.”

“Gautam.
Remember Gautam? Sanjay’s friend? He met up with an accident; the poor guy was
knocked up quite badly.”

“Oh my God.
Of course I remember Gautam,” exclaimed Tanya.

“Usually, I
never discuss my patients but Sanjay may like to know about this. They seemed
really thick.”

“He’s
Sanjay’s best friend but I don’t think he knows anything about this. Spoke to
him a couple of hours ago; he would have mentioned it had he known. What
happened?”

“Fracture in
his right hand, horrible ligament injuries in his knee and ankle, plus lots of
other minor aches and pains. Can’t walk right now and has to keep his hand
completely still. So in a nutshell, he is completely out of action for the time
being.”

“How did he
land in your clinic? Did he look out for you?”

Sameera felt
her stomach churn. Would she have liked him to look out for her? Did she want
his approval? She was successful and did not need anyone’s ratification. She
was unwilling to admit that this strange man was affecting her.

She
protested—more loudly than she usually would—as if to prove something to
herself more than to Tanya. “You’ve got to be kidding. ‘Look me up’ my foot. At
the drop of a hat he looks
down
on me. Prejudiced, chauvinist, irate,
the man’s just too much.”

She put down
her glass with such gusto that water spilled over. “
Pata nahi apne aap ko
kya samajhta hai.
He behaves quite delusionary at times. Thinks he’s God’s
gift to mankind. Today when he first saw me, he reacted as if he had seen a
ghost. Perhaps he would have preferred a ghost to me.”

“What exactly
happened between the two of you in Delhi? I remember Sanjay saying something
about you irking Gautam. How did both of you have so many issues when you
barely met?”

“How do I
know? We barely spoke to each other. It was as if he already had some preconceived
notion about me and wanted to bite my head off. He seems to have a Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde personality. Wish I could get Dr. Sharma to prescribe some
psycho-therapy along with physiotherapy.”

“That’s
mean, Sameera.”

Usually
Sameera was careful with her words but with Tanya around, she could throw
caution and diplomacy to the winds.

“His friends
swear by him and they all say how calm, suave and charming he is, like Aamir
Khan in the first part of Ghajni but all I get to see is the Aamir Khan in the
second half. Now do you get it?”

“A little,”
sighed Tanya. “But I am so disappointed. The moment I saw Gautam, I thought of
you. I had this vision, must tell you about it. You are wearing a flowing peach
color dress, standing at the beach, walking all alone when the wind starts to
blow and a speck of sand gets into your eyes. Suddenly this Adonis appears and
he gently blows into your eyes. You look into his dark, brown, molten-chocolate
eyes smoldering with passion and you melt. He picks you up and walks away into
the sunset.”


Bakwas.
What kind of a friend are you, blowing sand in my eyes and letting a stranger
carry me away? The peach dress is the only good thing in this whole vision.”

“Oh come on
Sam, don’t tell me he is not hot.”

“Yes he is,
hot-
tempered
.” Sameera retorted. “Honestly, he’s anything but
spectacular. Really average I must confess. Predictable hair, normal clothes.”

Tanya held
her friend’s hand, “You must learn to give guys a chance, Sam. Not all of them
are jerks.”

Sameera
ignored Tanya’s advice. “On a serious note, I’m faced with a huge moral dilemma
as a physiotherapist. My senior colleague is away on leave for the week, two
other colleagues are fully booked and Gautam really needs attention
immediately. It will be unethical to leave him unattended right now. Also, how
juvenile will I appear if I tell Dr. Yogesh Sharma that I can’t accept Gautam
as a patient because he was rude to me? What a mess.”

“If he’s
Sanjay’s best buddy, he can’t be too bad. Just sleep over it and decide what
needs to done in the morning. I should go and meet him. Do you have his
address?” asked Tanya.

Sameera
rolled her eyes. “Yes, I memorize the address of all my patients.”

“Fine. I’ll
take it from Sanjay. Wish he wasn’t travelling to Singapore for work. I’m sure
he would have come down to Mumbai to meet him.”


 

EIGHT

 

 

Travelling
on Mumbai’s monsoon-damaged roads took its toll on Gautam; each pothole brought
excruciating pain. By the time he reached home he was exhausted. Every muscle,
bone, ligament in his body seemed to hurt. Even the mere act of breathing was a
challenge. He hobbled into his room, wet with perspiration, and fell into a
fitful sleep.

The heat
from the diathermy radiated across Gautam’s knee, relaxing much more than his
assaulted ligaments. Sameera’s face was a picture of concentration, an
exquisite picture. Her gaze was lowered while working on his limbs. She wore no
makeup except for a thin line of
kajal
. Her face glowed. The rhythmic
movements of her slender hands, the gentle heaving of her chest as she breathed
and her fragrance cast a spell on Gautam and he felt the tension and pain leave
his body. He looked up to see her lips, glistening with a hint of lip-gloss,
parted ever so slightly. He felt an irresistible urge to touch her, feel her skin.
Throwing all caution to the winds, he slowly ran his fingers along her arm;
gently tracing the outlines of her sharp chin, caressing her soft smooth
cheeks, his fingers stopped on her lips. His body seemed to be on fire. He was
sure the whole clinic could hear his heartbeats.

He opened
his eyes and felt disoriented. He was alone in his room, but his heart was
beating wildly. Could it be possible that it was all just a dream? He was
embarrassed and angry. She was playing games with his mind, making him weak.
The thought that he was captivated by her, even in his dreams, was repulsive.
Why
was he thinking about her?
Though she seemed to be a good physiotherapist,
he quite disliked her; she brought out the worst in him, made him irritable and
caustic, shattering the calm and peace he treasured—disrupting his thoughts,
offending his senses. He had fainted in her presence and made a fool of himself
in her eyes and now by being attracted to her, he had made a fool of himself in
his own eyes;
this
was even less pardonable.

He cursed
out aloud. A week ago, he was a strapping young man working hard to achieve his
ambitions. A freak accident was bad enough, but fate with its weird sense of
humor had another googly waiting. In the entire city of Mumbai, teeming with people,
nurturing an army of doctors and technicians, he had to land up at her clinic.
He popped another pill and shut his eyes.

The day
passed listlessly for Gautam, not that there was much he could do in his
current state. His boss had been genuinely concerned for him and Gautam was
pleasantly surprised to discover the more humane side of one of the most
ruthless men he knew. There were strict instructions to the whole team against
calling Gautam, so the team was surprised when they received a call from the
suffering man himself.

“Why are you
calling? We would rather drift rudderless for a few days than be orphaned
forever.”

“Stop being
theatrical Jai, and listen,” laughed Gautam. “Note down whatever I say and ask
the team to get cracking.” His body was beaten but his mind was razor sharp,
his photographic memory had an immense capacity to remember figures, numbers,
and complex calculations without even having to refer to the spreadsheets in
his laptop.

 

***

 

Next
morning, he got up feeling weary and fatigued. The pain was unbearable. Who
would be his new physiotherapist? How would he travel to the clinic?

He sniffed.
The fragrance was unmistakable, but in his room? He sniffed again.

It must
be her. But how could she be in his room?
He slowly opened his eyes.
Standing before him, once again completely unannounced, was Dr. Sameera Mathur.


BOOK: Yours Accidentally
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ads

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