Chai Bisket’s Story Series – Double Ka Meetha (Part – 11)
Recap: Episode-1, Episode-2, Episode-3, Episode – 4, Episode – 5, Episode – 6, Episode – 7, Episode – 8, Episode – 9, Episode – 10
1955 to 2037 Hours:
“Chalo Bhai, aap yahi pe rok do!” (All right! You can stop here!) I asked my charioteer, Yusuf Bhai, who as he did all this day, smoothly brought the cab to a stop, just outside the ‘Entry’ gate of the hospital. I got off the cab, shook his hand and wanted to take his number, for any further need, but then I didn’t. There is a thing about booking cabs that I really like. The randomness. Maybe I’ll meet him, randomly someday when I call in a cab, like some old song in a shuffle playlist, which inadvertently brings about a nostalgic smile to your face. I’d look forward to that day, and of that I was sure, as I walked in.
One vehicle that I always wanted to check out, growing up in an unruly neighbourhood for a couple of years, was an Ambulance. The sense of urgency that came along with it and of being highly exclusive and elusive, made me want to always chase it down and get into one. I walked in through an automatic glass door which slid open as I approached it. And then I was reminded why I always hated hospital. The mashed up dizzying smells of Crocin, Digene,Cough syrups, Dettol Antiseptic Cleaning Spirits, Vials of Medicated Alcohol, Harpic Floor cleaner, Some sort of Varnish somewhere, and million other unrecognizable constituents, which were potent enough to actually make any healthy man fall sick instantaneously, were the culprits here . Am I making you uncomfortable? Hang in there, because I’m sure I saw a really good looking Doctor at the reception. In my defence, I did have a good enough reason to actually go to the reception and maybe strike up a conversation with her. As soon as I approached the help desk at reception, I knew something was absolutely different. Trying to be funny and witty was my way of escaping from dealing with all the seriousness and sadness around me. That was my mask and I felt it, as I walked up to the reception, slowly fading away. I was tired of looking away, tired of stepping back, tired of lying to myself that everything was OK. I then realized that Geetika had not left empty handed. She had taken something that I held precious. Memories of my failures, of destroyed hopes and botched dreams, which I had managed to precariously keep at bay for so long, stormed into my heart voraciously, destroying everything in their path.
“Excuse me! Where is the ICU…” I finally spoke softly, feeling somewhat sad in my heart. The receptionist was still in a very animated conversation about some patient with the good looking doctor and therefore I was left unnoticed for the next few seconds. I decided to ask the same question, this time with a bit more volume and clarity. That attempt thankfully brought them to notice my plight and the pretty doctor told me that ICU was on third floor. Also I was given direction to it, that I could meet Pinni in the next ten minutes. I took the walk upstairs, as all I was left to tick off in my day scheduler was to get to Vikky’s place with Pinni and head back to the flat after dinner. In the dizzying smells and amidst uncontrollable coughs and sneezes, I took a chair in the waiting corridor which led up to the ICU chambers, Labs, General Wards etc. I somehow felt that I would throw up my throat. Therefore, I needed to find something to amuse me, and started scanning the room. There was sickness everywhere, and weaknesses too. Luckily, however a 3 year old kid was being held in arms by her mother in the chair beside me, leaving one between us. The kid, a girl I assumed, although she was wearing a tiny polka dotted t-shirt and a pant underneath, was looking at me curiously with her big black eyes accompanied with the cutest expression on her face.
The mother turned to me, following her baby’s gaze and gave out a smile. I responded in equal measure. Just as I was about to strike up a conversation with her, my mobile phone rang. It was Pinni who called to inform me that she had gone out to bring some medicines and she’d return in further half an hour. A nurse walked towards us. I noticed that she was carrying a syringe in her apron’s front pocket. The mother talked continuously to her baby and gently turned her to look away from the nurse, and carefully pulled up the baby’s shirt sleeve. I knew what was going to happen, but what was making the whole scene even more woeful was that the kid was staring at me and I felt morally obligated to maintain the eye contact, lest she turned to see that she was being given an injection. Though she would know that eventually, all I was doing here was delaying the inevitable. And take off at zero, counting down please,
TEN: The petite nurse fills up the syringe with the medicine from a colourless vial
NINE: The baby looks at me like I’m some kind of a high thinking genetically modified ape from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Movie
EIGHT: The petite nurse takes out a cotton swab and rubs on the baby’s arm. It’s all touch and go now
SEVEN: The baby gives me the “Whatchulooking at” look and challenges me to hold on to the stare. Oh yeah game on!
SIX: The petite nurse, holds the syringe in position on the baby’s arm with only the tip hovering about the vein
FIVE: The baby’s at me like “What’s wrong with you, Dawg! I’ve seen worse shit, All right!”
FOUR: The petite nurse prepares for impact. The metallic pinpoint touches the skin smoothly. The Eagle has landed.
THREE: The first change of expression recorded. The baby goes from “I don’t give a damn!” to “What the fish is going on and who is this Katherine Heigl trying to act cute here?” In under five milliseconds
TWO: The petite nurse now has the window of opportunity here. Her job is to find the baby’s vein before the baby finds hers. And she does.
And then it all started. The baby screamed first, then gave a screeching sound, and then cried like all hell just broke loose. And that reminded me why I hated kids. But for what it was worth, the baby did bring me back to my nonsensical senses. Enough to come up with a weird theory, of how humans should develop a time warp technology wherein people can give birth to people, not babies. I mean, I do realise that they are cute and all, and make for some insanely high grossing funny YouTube videos, but literally they don’t exactly serve any purpose. So my point is that they should be, after they are born, be exposed to some sort of gamma rays, which accelerates their aging process, and makes them a teenager in a matter of few seconds. Then they’ll start to matter and stop crying. And maybe I could then brainwash them into becoming my personal Bio hazardous army and rule the world. Hehehahaha!!!
So anyways, I still had an unapologetically crying baby to deal with. At this point of time, I got “inspired” from a Vodafone advertisement that I saw before leaving my place. The guy in the ad shows some funny cartoon video to the crying baby and the baby stops crying. Now it definitely seemed worth a shot. So without further ado, I took out my mobile, activated the data connection (in roaming mind you! See I’m the good guy) and searched for playful cats videos. I took the seat beside the baby’s and held the phone up with full volume. The baby instinctively looked at the mobile, crying all the while. The video also piqued the interest of her mom, just like in the ad. Now what was definitely not just like in the ad, was the baby trying to reach out and grab my phone. Though, it wasn’t an iPhone, it still had a good life and had served me well from time to time. And the fair skinned baby wasn’t going to torture it. Not now. Not today. My job of retracting my mobile and trying to switch it off, met with disastrous consequences, as every time I tried doing that, the screeching volume of the baby’s crying went all Dolby digital. What was even worse, was that the mom started giving me “the look”, which was subtly using the F word and silently ordering at me to give the effing mobile to her kid. So much for being a decent lad, I thought to myself, as I inched the mobile closer to the baby. The baby thankfully stopped crying and showed the first signs of smiling, as she watched the video. And then it happened. The video stopped for buffering and the baby went mad. She grabbed the mobile from my hand, and threw it. Yup, she threw it. She threw my 10 grand mobile on to the solid marble floor. I was still in awe of the sheer audacity the baby had on display here, when I heard a thud, followed by a crack, followed by the breaking of the mobile, as it’s components spilled all over. I looked at the mom trying to find some sort of sorryful expression or some kinda remorse on her face, but all I was met with was solemn detachment , that kinda said, “you got what you deserved, moron!”
After my faith in world annihilation was reinstated I fell to my knees on to the floor and started picking up what was left of the valiant warrior. The armour was breached, bones were broken, and the blood spilt and yet the hope to survive still persisted. I carefully tended to it’s wounds, replacing the components to where they belonged. The moment I had physically bought it to it’s original form, a nervous chill went down my spine, as I long pressed the power button. The mobile vibrated for a second but nothing appeared on the screen. The screen was gone. Not a piece shattered on it, not even a scratch on it, and yet it showed no signs of life. My mobile had just gone blind. Adding to the ominous effect was the walking away of the mother and kid as if nothing was wrong. I swear to God that I saw a little smirk on the kid’s face. I picked up my phone and tried everything I could to bring back the screen to life, but what was gone was gone. I sat there, the total nervous wreck that I was, as the pretty doctor that I saw a few moments back, walked past me, into the ICU ward. Something told me that the pretty Doctor had a role to play here. My pondering was disturbed by the early arrival of Pinni, carrying two plastic bags of Oranges, Bananas etc. See I never knew the logic behind that. Why would someone who is battling with life want to confront the fact that, all he could eat now was Bananas. I’d die rather if it were me.
“ So how was your trip ?” she asked me handing me a cover and ushering me towards to room 107.
“ Yeah My trip isn’t yet over,, this is just the halt” I said as I saw a reflection a few feet away from me. Of a woman, that I knew I could be myself with. Geetika had chosen to return.
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