Hospitality

For all those who didn’t know, I was operated on Friday. A small surgery to remove a small bothering part from my neck; the entire thing took just one day. But being my first “admission” in a hospital and first surgery, everything was new to me, and thus, new experiences. Below are a few funny incidences, situations, and some that made me feel like a nutcase!
1.       A week before the surgery I was given a dosage of a supposedly strong medicine Augmentin. Explaining the gravity to me, my dad said, “Augmentin pata hain kya karta hain?” And I very nonchalantly said, “Wand se paani laata hain!” (Ref: Harry Potter series, the spell for water is “Aguamenti!”)
2.       Obviously I told my friends in college that I would be away for a while. So one smart alec asked me, obviously referring to the hospital, (after I had mentioned a dozen times) “So, where will you be operated?” I pointed to my neck and said, “Here!”
3.       The hospital itself was not less-funny. When I was being “wheeled in” to the Operation Theatre (weird! Since I could obviously walk), everyone from the adjoining beds peeped from their curtains. Some even unabashedly stared as the nurse pushed my chair. But the best were obviously a pair of aunties – one waved at me with a huge smile as though I was on a ride in a fair, while the other said “All the best!” Umm…what was that?
4.       The operation theatre was a rather weird place. I was waiting outside the OT for a good 45 minutes till being actually taken into the room. In that period every doctor/nurse/anaesthetist, stared at me with a sympathetic expression. I smiled back till one nurse wiped her nose on the hem of her gown. Wait, weren’t those supposed to be sterilised?!
5.       Along came the doctor and his junior I gathered.
Doc (turning my head to the extreme right): See that? Over there? We need to make a cut there.
Assistant (turning my head to the left): Yes. Yes. I see it.
Doc (turning my head to the extreme right again): I think I see one more.
Assistant (turning my head to the left again): Yes I think I see one more too.
Doc (turning my head to the extreme right again): I can even feel it here.
Assistant (turning my head to the left again): Yes yes. I think even I can feel it.
Doc (turning my head to the extreme right again!): Do you have a marker? We’ll mark the incision spot.
Assistant moves out, doc continues to move head again and again. Assistant comes in, doc marks; both leave without speaking to me. Not even a word!
6.       Along came a middle aged nurse/doctor who asked me if I could walk, I said I could and gladly got of the bed. She then dragged me, no literally pulled me; two corridors into the OT. Post this she couldn’t lower the OT bed to my level, so she asked, “Can you jump?” Well, yes, I jumped onto the bed on which I was to be operated on; reminding me of the way I sit on the railings on bus stops.
7.       Nevertheless, I thought this is it! Now the surgery will start and I will be unconscious. When she asked me what my age was. I said “20!”. She looked at me like I had suddenly transformed into daisy duck and asked, “Sure?” What to say? She then proceeded to check my medical file for my age, and then said “Just checking, you see?” Yes. Right.
8.       The operation was done and I came into consciousness in the “post recovery room.” One room in the hospital where people scream at the top of the voices, since all the inhabitants are obviously under the effect of anaesthesia. I raised my hand to attract the attention of the nurse on duty. She came, lifted my oxygen mask, and proceeded to push me out of the room back to my ward. Obviously, my stay was done.
9.       Back to my ward, I suddenly thought of a discussion my mom and sister were having about someone’s dead pet dog the previous night when I was already half asleep. Don’t really know how it came to my head, so I asked my parents, “Kiska kutta mar gaya?” Thinking I was still under the anaesthetic effect they both said together, “Mary miss ka!”
That was my hospital stay, though a lot of other things happened, these were some things that irked me and yes are memorable.  J Happy Navratri!
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The Chinese Dentist

When you learn to read, you start reading everything!
 
When in primary school, I would read pamphlets, bill boards, hoardings, ingredients off the back of some random bottle in the store etc. And that’s how my language developed! Ditto when I learnt the Devnagiri script! On the way back from school, I’d go “Yethe matching blouse milel”, “Sakhar 10 rupaiye, Halad 5 rupaiye,” etc.
 
When it turned into a compulsive habit, I really don’t know! Before I knew it, on every route I had a fixed set of boards that I would read when in the bus, as though assuring myself that I was in a familiar place.

One of those boards was “Chinese Dentist: Tseyun Li”. It’s in K Villa, just a further ahead after Holy Cross School.
 
You’ve seen whom the Indians claim to be Chinese, are usually North East Indians or Nepalese. So, since an early age I thought it to be a sham, just like the Chinese fast food stall guy round the corner or the Chinese looking kids on signals!
 
Out of curiosity I once asked my dad, what was so special about a Chinese dentist? And I think he said they don’t use anaesthesia, their treatment is fast, it doesn’t pain, it isn’t very hygienic for the dentist since he uses bare hand and last, it’s expensive.
 
But frankly, never did I see that dentist. The door to his clinic was always shut. When I passed by school bus, by car, by autos and now by TMT, there would be nothing there. Just the small clinic by the corner of a small lane which leads to the main road. It was those small shops that remain somewhere at the back of your mind!
 
This morning, it changed. I was in the bus, passing by. And then, there was an old shrivelled Aunty or Uncle sitting there.
 
First thing I noticed, the person was sitting on a plastic chair with outstretched hands towards the rain. Then, the room was sparsely furnished, just a normal long seat for the patients. And then, as the bus paused for a moment, I saw the eyes. Mongolian eyes. The ones like the Chinese have. And, they looked sad (or was that me looking at them sad).
 
Big surprise you might say, Chinese doctor in a Chinese dentist’s clinic. But frankly, for almost 13 years now, I never believed there would be a REAL Chinese family in my neighbourhood! And there it was.
 
All day, I wondered about him (in retrospect it might have been a man Ok?) Did he have enough patients? Was he happy in India? Did he have a family here? If yes, then which school did the kids go to, since Chinese children in a school would be a topic of conversation! Were those eyes really sad like I thought? Or was he just sleepy?  Would I ever see him again? It took me a decade to know he existed. Was he an Indian citizen after all, migrated generations back? Do the Chinese come to India a lot? Do Indians go to China? Will I be friends with them? Ever? 
 
In short, I thought a lot! Silly me, probably. But it gave me this sense of being a novice, however old or well versed with the area I might be, I would never know all of it! Never know what surprises are lurking just around the corner, for me to discover in the unlikeliest of times.
 
That Chinese dentist bought me back to my senses. I am tiny, and I don’t know everything. One of these days I hope to pluck the courage to walk up to his clinic and speak to him and know him more. One of these days maybe…
 
Silhouettes of the things unknown…just were waiting to be discovered, in the form of a Chinese dentist!
Update 07/01/2014: I met the dentist and his family! At a poetry meet! And he’s so cool! Though I’m not sure it was him I saw. I was a little awkward, but hey! What are the chances?!